Tweet from @InsideFerrari: The sun is finally shining at the Circuit de Catalunya: today is the last day for @Felipe1Massa before Australia!
Tweet from @WilliamsF1Team: Some further upgrades from the factory have arrived this morning so we'll be delayed getting out while we finish getting them on the car
8am, that's go go go!
|1||M Webber||Red Bull|
|6||P Maldonado / V Bottas||Sauber|
|7||S Gutiérrez||Force India|
|9||A Sutil||Toro Rosso|
|10||G van der Garde||Caterham|
According to Autosport's most excellent live commentary: "Kimi Räikkönen is ill and will be replaced by Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi this morning. Romain Grosjean, who finished his pre-season programme yesterday, has been told to turn around and come back to the track. He is due at Barcelona this afternoon."
Jules Bianchi gets strapped in for his first day as an official Marussia driver, via @Marussia_F1Team.
The BBC also have live text coverage of the test. Their Murray Walker go, go, go puts mine to shame! www.bbc.co.uk/spo…formula1/21636430
Vergne was the first to venture out of the garage today, but installation laps are the plan at the moment for all.
Thankfully for the team schedules, the sun is out at the moment and the track is dry.
The first time on the board is set by Sergio Pérez in the McLaren, with a 1:26.459 - immediately beaten by Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes, almost exactly three seconds faster.
Tweet from @clubforce: All the crew is in full race-trim. It makes for an impressive sight, and it reminds us of how soon we will be in Melbourne...
A few more times on the board now, but Hamilton still leads the way with a 1:23.326.
Tweet from @MyCaterhamF1: Front ride-height and front wing flap adjustments for Giedo before his next run.
Pérez is in the car today for McLaren but it was Jenson Button yesterday, and he didn't seem too happy about their time in Barcelona so far - particularly in the poor conditions.
Jenson Button: "This time last year, I think we were very strong at the last test, and obviously at the first race we showed that in qualifying and the race. I think it’s a lot more competitive now. The feeling in the car, it feels good, but it’s such strange conditions today, it’s slow. Everyone is slow, as we are, compared to other days of testing.
"The weekend for us is very important, we need to get some good mileage. It still is taking us a little bit too long to do setup changes, which is something we need to improve on."
After an hour of track action, seven drivers have times on the board.
|6||G van der Garde||1:28.930|
Williams revel in the blue skies over Barcelona, via @WilliamsF1Team.
Tweet from @clubforce: Adrian in the pits for a simulation stop, comes straight out again. Another smooth stop delivered by the crew! Doing the same this lap.
Hamilton has improved on his own time at the front, a blistering 1:21.534. Blistering probably the wrong word, given the tyre situation so far in testing!
Meanwhile, Mark Webber jumps up to third for Red Bull with a 1:24.317. Still just seven drivers with times at the moment.
Williams report Pastor Maldonado is getting strapped into the car, they are ready to go, and have a lot of work to be done, upgrades to evaluate, etc, etc.
Bianchi sets his first lap time of the day, on the slow side with 1:29.4 but plenty of room for improvement.
Looks like it is Caterham who have brought out the red flag, Giedo van der Garde coming to a halt after heading out for another run.
The Caterham has been recovered, the team confirming a mechanical issue stopped the car. And the session gets going again.
|7||G van der Garde||1:26.835|
Maldonado heads out again, finally managing to get a time on the board for Williams - 1:28.317.
Hamilton's still posting some scorching times, he's down to 1:20.817. Gutiérrez is up to second now, as we have nine of the eleven teams represented on the timesheets.
Davide Valsecchi sets his, and Lotus', first time of the day, a 1:26.106. Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean is hurrying back.
Tweet from @f1elvis: Spent the morning out & about around the circuit today, really interesting. Mercedes looks really good on track, very smooth easy to drive.
It is Davide Valsecchi who has caused the red flag, the Lotus stopping out on track at turn 3.
Tweet from @MBrundleF1: Regret to inform you that the Red Bull looks mighty out on track. Merc and Ferrari solid too.
Track is clear.
|11||G van der Garde||1:26.835|
From Autosport Live: Both Sauber and Caterham are testing supersofts at the moment. Gutierrez finds four tenths as he remains second.
Massa has improved his times to jump up to second, still over a second behind Hamilton, though. Sutil has also improved but remains third.
Sutil moves up to second with a 1:21.790.
That's all for the morning session, the teams now break for lunch.
|11||G van der Garde||1:24.520|
Tweet from @WilliamsF1Team: 34 laps by Pastor this morning-good job by the team. mechanics now work through lunchtime job list to prepare for #BOTTAS this afternoon
Let's do a lunchtime gap analysis, albeit testing times taken with a pinch of salt.
Almost time for the afternoon session to begin. So far, Felipe Massa has done the most laps with 63, followed by Hamilton with 56.
Sutil, Gutiérrez and Vergne are all in their 40s (lap-wise, not age-wise).
Valsecchi has done the least, with just 16 laps to his name.
The afternoon session has begun!
Via @clubforce, a nice lot of visitors to the pitlane over lunch.
Slow start to the afternoon, teams are likely prepping for race simulation runs. They've finally got the weather for it!
Lewis Hamilton heads out early to kick off the afternoon session. Presumably he will not match his epic time from this morning if they're in for longer runs now.
Drivers are gradually filtering out on track, Sutil, Pérez and Bianchi to name but three.
Autosport facts: So Sutil either made a mistake or there is some big tyre deg going on. His run of laps are 1m31.821, 1m32.380, 1m33.238...
For a minute there, I thought Caterham were stealing McLaren's food, but no, they have partnered Absolute Taste as well this year. As Graham Watson said: "Keeping an F1 team fed and watered as we race around the world is an incredibly important part of what helps us perform."
Meanwhile, Lotus are busy tweaking the car to suit their returning driver: The E21 has just a little more Romainification to undergo before it's ready. Romainification is an excellent word.
Romain to the rescue!
(Courtesy of @Lotus_F1Team)
The BBC's Gary Anderson has been studying the Red Bull in depth: "The Red Bull sidepods appear to be shorter at the rear than their launch car version and definitely shorter than last year's, although the fundamental design remains, with the duct under the exhaust outlet connected to the central part of the diffuser."
Tweet from @WilliamsF1Team: Gathering aero data on that first run. #BOTTAS now in the garage for a front wing change #Barcelona
Sky Sports F1 coverage of today's testing action has begun. I've managed to tune in on my iPhone. Mmmm, postage sized F1.
Interview with Max Chilton: "I've had some good days testing under my belt. I've had eight days and another half day tomorrow. It's looking very promising.
"In GP2 you learn a lot, but it's not until you step into F1 that you learn absolutely everything. You continue learning throughout your career. You have to work hard physically and mentally, but it's a pleasure at the same time. It's no stress.
"For me, it gave me more days in the car, having an unstable teammate. I got out of the car yesterday and realised I had a new teammate. Jules is very experienced and very quick, so we're going to have to work hard this year."
I'd forgotten just how green the Caterham was, but there it is, glinting in the sunshine. Giedo is out on track, alongside Adrian Sutil and Jean-Éric Vergne.
Grosjean is out on track, getting back to work after the briefest of trips home overnight. Gutiérrez and Hamilton both also out on track.
Tweet from @clubforce: Adrian is out on long stints and the mechanics are ready in full gears in the pits. Electric atmos, just like a GP.
Out on track, Webber streaks past a slow-going Massa who moved out of the way. Not long before we'll see Ferrari/Red Bull fighting for real in the race!
Interview with Christian Horner: "It's been a pretty positive test for us so far, we're just trying to tick off those final boxes before the end of tomorrow. We're just working through a programme as we have done through the previous testing.
"I think all the teams will be bringing bits here, bits to Melbourne, bits to Malaysia. Formula One's a continuing development race... I think we know where we are, the big question is where are the others? It's so difficult to tell in winter testing. I think you're better off turning the timing screens off, and focusing on what you want to achieve out of the testing.
"That's been our approach, and we're reasonably content with where we are. But there's an awful lot of activity behind the scenes as well, because we know if you stand still in this business, you're going backwards."
Just Lotus and Marussia are in the pitlane at the moment, making it a busy time on the Circuit de Catalunya right now.
In ongoing sunshine news, the temperature is now up to 16°C, track hovering around 30°C.
Sky showing off some shots of a Force India pit stop practice in 3D. I am not convinced. But then again, I can't see it.
Tweet from @MercedesAMGF1: The guys in Brackley report a lovely weather but nothing to be jealous about in #Barcelona as the sun has been a welcomed addition today
Interview with Pat Symonds, Consultant to Marussia: "It's always difficult in the winter testing. We spend ages trying to figure out where we are, I don't know why we do that... I think our analysis from last week particularly, showed we are sitting in that gap between Caterham and Toro Rosso, and Toro Rosso are looking pretty good. But it's tricky, the tyres aren't working too well in these temperatures."
Pat Symonds on the Razia replacement: "We knew there was a problem last week, which is why Luiz didn't do the test last week in Barcelona. We were prepared for it, but crikey, there were an awful lot of names in the frame... Heikki, Karthikeyan, pretty much anyone who has a licence and a couple of quid in their pocket."
Ah, a lap time improvement at last! Massa pops up to second with a 1:21.457.
|13||G van der Garde||1:24.520|
Just under an hour to go now.
Interview with Paul di Resta: "I think you have to say the Mercedes looks mighty strong, certainly the last sector that I saw. It's that difficult to read, the fuel levels being what they are. The key thing, I think, is reliability at the moment, making sure you can finish the Grand Prix in Melbourne. I think the question mark is the tyres.
"They're graining up very quickly. I think Pirelli are saying it's the cold temperatures. Don't forget we've got a construction and compound change. We have seen the tyres in similar conditions last year and they weren't degging up as much but now we're seeing higher levels of it."
Tweet from @clubforce: 109 laps completed by Adrian Sutil so far today - only van der Garde has done more (111). Great conditions out there for running F1 cars.
Paul di Resta on the performance of the Force India car: "I think by far this is a long way in front of the car's we've had previously, certainly at this stage in the test... we went for a more consistent way of it working and that's really what you've knuckled down. It's an evolution of the car last year, it has got bits that have carried over, but we're focusing on getting the best out of what we've got here... then you can slowly but surely pick the weaknesses, and I think for the Chinese Grand Prix, we've got bits coming."
Paul di Resta thinks Force India could squeeze into Q3 of qualifying in Australia, but isn't too worried if they dont: "I don't necessarily think being outside Q3 is going to be a bad thing, given where the tyres are."
TedNews: A little block that was housing a sensor was stuck on the rear crash structure of Massa's Ferrari. It was clunking along when he came into the pits, but it looks like his tyres would have brought him into the pits soon anyway.
We're starting to see shadows forming out on track and in the pitlane, as the session draws slowly towards its conclusion.
Van der Garde completes 119 laps, and is slowest on the timesheets. He's just the left the garage for another stint.
It's Felipe Massa that has caused the red flag, replays show his front left wheel just popped off!
It flew off to the left and then bounced back across the track, ending up in the gravel... as did Massa.
Brundle suspects a wheel nut issue rather than suspension problem.
Massa is out of the car, some Ferrari chaps have been dispatched to the scene to cover the car, retrieve the errant wheel, and help load the car onto the truck for retrieval.
Massa had just been in the pits for a fresh set of super-soft tyres.
Interview with Nico Hülkenberg: "Testing has gone well, not many problems. I'm as happy as I could be. Now we need to find out how strong we really are on a race weekend. In two or three week's time, we'll know.
"Not long ago I was in a similar situation to Esteban, I know what he's going through. Experience is very valuable in Formula One, but we're teammates. We're working for our own performance but we get on very well. I can't really help him out, it's not my job to be honest. If he feels there is an area he needs to improve on, he can look at my data because we're transparent in the team, but otherwise I'm just getting on with my own performance."
Track is clear.
Most of the teams send their drivers out for a last taste of the track, as the final five minutes count down.
Massa's car is back in the garage, Ferrari have shut the doors, and are no doubt hunkered down over the runaway wheel.
That's Saturday testing done!
|13||G van der Garde||1:24.235|
Final gap analysis, for what it's worth. Massa did manage to close up the gap to Hamilton a bit.
A good, solid day of running for all (except, perhaps Ferrari) with the weather holding out all day to allow some catch up after inclement conditions over the past two days.
One more day of testing remains, with Barcelona playing host to the final pre-season test session tomorrow. Then it's a matter of waiting just two weeks for the Australian GP.
Thank you for following this testing thread, that was actually a test in and of itself. The FBFB looks ready to go for Melbourne, so stay tuned to Sidepodcast, and I will see you then!
Filed under Testing
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