After a fairly entertaining weekend of racing in Austria, the teams ran another mid-season test at the Red Bull Ring. The track is the quickest on the calendar when it comes to lap times, making a pretty good circuit to test at. Day one of the session was rather wet, causing the session to be extended because of some red flags that were thrown in the morning for poor track conditions. Day two of the session was much improved, with the sun shining on the circuit. As with most of the tests this season, Marussia was missing from the garage, opting out of the test. Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of the test in his Mercedes on the second day, with a time of 1:09.113.
Following another 1-2 finish in Austria, Mercedes put the team test driver, Pascal Wehrlein, in the car for the first day of the test. Much like the majority of the races this season, Mercedes was on top of the table. During the 67 laps, the team ran vibration tests and analyzed the power unit. Day two was also dominated by Mercedes, with race winner, Nico Rosberg, in the car. He completed 110 laps, during which he suffered a gearbox failure which required a gearbox change. Other than that issue, the day went pretty smooth and allowed the team plenty of time to complete various aerodynamic and setup tests.
Antonio Fuoco made his Formula One debut in the Ferrari for the first day in Austria. Despite missing out on most of the morning, he was able to run 71 laps and set the fourth fastest time of the day. His day came to an early end when he spun the car in turn one and hit the barriers. The car remained in the garage for the rest of the day. Test driver, Esteban Gutiérrez, had his chance in the car for the second day of the test, setting the second fastest time of the day. The team’s 110 laps of testing were used to test the tyres and aerodynamics.
Williams’ top test driver, Susie Wolff, found herself behind the wheel of the car for the first day. It was an interesting day of testing for the team, during which they collected data about a new winglet that they have fitted to the sidepod for the test. This has sent many to speculate about the legality of this new aerodynamic innovation. After 39 laps, she concluded the day at the bottom of the time charts. With Valtteri Bottas in the car for the final day of testing, the team was able to complete the programme from the day before. Bottas was third fastest of the day after 79 laps.
Toro Rosso was among the few teams that ran their regular driver in day one, putting Max Verstappen behind the wheel. He ran the most laps of the day, running an impressive 97 laps. The team was busy all day. They worked on the car’s setup, ran aerodynamics tests, analyzed the tyres and completed some pit stop practice. Verstappen ended the day with the third fastest time. Toro Rosso was also able to complete the second day of testing with the most laps run, with 158 under their belt. Marco Wittmann was the driver of the car for the day, helping the team to complete the programme of aerodynamic, tyre and setup work. The 2014 DTM championship winner found himself in fourth position on the final time charts of the day.
Force India decided to run Esteban Ocon in the car for the first day of the test. The car performed extremely well, setting the second fastest time of the test after running 76 laps. The majority of the day was used as an opportunity to provide Ocon with more racing experience. They gave him the chance to run on all of the available tyre compounds, including the wet and intermediate. The team also used aerodynamics data collection instruments throughout the day to develop upgrades. Having driven the Mercedes car on the first day of the test, Pascal Wehrlein joined up with Force India for the second day. Unfortunately, he was not at the top of the table as he had been the previous day, finishing fifth after 132 laps. This was Wehrlein’s first time in the VJM08, as he had only driven the 2014 Force India car during the test in Barcelona. The day was very productive for the team and allowed them to continue evaluating new components that they didn’t have time for the day before.
After retiring midway through the Austrian Grand Prix because of a gearbox issue, Romain Grosjean gets to opportunity to run more laps around the circuit. He completed 45 timed laps, after during which he set a lap time worthy of fifth on the charts. The team spent what little track time they had running setup work and tweaking the aerodynamics package. This was done in the afternoon, as the wet morning conditions left Grosjean with lots of free time with the engineers:
“It was quite a wait to get going whilst it rained in the morning; I spent a lot of time chatting with my engineers and I even thought there might be time for a game of poker!”
With the weather conditions being much better on the second day of testing, Jolyon Palmer climbed inside of the cockpit to run some laps. The team ran 109 laps, with a lap time capable of sixth position on the time charts. The team’s day consisted of setup investigations in the morning hours and aerodynamic data collection in the afternoon.
Stoffel Vandoorne had is hands full in day one of the test, as he helped McLaren to improve their poorly performing cars. He was the one of the only, along with Fuoco, to complete an installation lap before the test was red flagged in the morning. The day was spent evaluating new components like the shorter nose and revised front and rear wings. The car proved to be quite reliable, running 76 laps, but not very fast, being the second slowest of the day. Fernando Alonso was on track for the final day of the Austria test. After 104 laps, the car was still only able to set a time fast enough for seventh on the time charts. Alonso completed the programme that was set for the first day of testing without any major issues.
Inside the Red Bull car for the first day of the test was Pierre Gasly. With 80 laps completed, Gasly was sixth fastest of the day. They spent the day running background tests on the car. They completed what little time remained in day one of testing without any issues. Daniel Ricciardo was in the car for the final day of testing, during which he ran 116 laps. The focus in day two was aerodynamic research and development. Part of the day was hindered by a brake issue, but it was quickly repaired and the car was returned to the track. The times in the second day were all very close to each other, but Red Bull set the second slowest time of the test.
Sauber got the chance to put their test driver, Raffaele Marciello, in the cockpit for the first day of the test in Austria. The 53 laps were used to work on the setup, aerodynamics and brakes system. The team also did some practice starts and pit stops. The team had some electrical issues as they prepared to head out onto the track when the rain had gone, forcing them to lose valuable time. They ended the first testing day in seventh on the time sheets. Felipe Nasr was in the day on the last day of testing, running the second most laps of the day. With 138 laps complete, the team completed the programme which consisted of aerodynamic adjustments, work on the brakes system and setup for the next race in Britain. It was a productive day, but the team was the slowest of the day.
The championship continues on July 5, as we prepare for the home Grand Prix of the championship leader: the British Grand Prix.