2016 BARCELONA TEST 2 REPORT – DAY TWO

Jenson Button got behind the wheel of the MP4-31 again today for the first time at the final pre-season test. Heavy cloud cover early in the day meant the track temperatures were more stable than yesterday morning, however strong winds in the afternoon made driving conditions difficult and affected the balance of the car on track.

The run plan was a continuation of Fernando’s work yesterday, testing engine modes, balance and set-up, as well as evaluating a number of new aero components that had been added to the car overnight.

Shortly before lunch, a small suspension issue stopped the car temporarily, but it was identified and fixed quickly during the break, and Jenson returned to the track at 14:00. The team covered a solid afternoon programme, where attention turned to slightly longer runs. In total, Jenson completed 121 laps today – the most so far for the MP4-31 during pre-season testing.

Tomorrow, Fernando returns to the cockpit to continue the correlation of more new aerodynamic components that will be fitted overnight, as well as focus on further balance, integration and power unit evaluation

Summary

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Wednesday March 2, 2016
Date Wednesday 2 March 2016
Driver Jenson Button
Location Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (4.655km/2.892 miles)
Laps/km/miles 121/563km/350miles
Best lap-time 1m25.183s
Jenson Button

“The important thing is that we’ve been able to do quite a few laps over the last two days – we know we need to keep pushing in terms of reliability so that we can reduce any niggly problems at the first race. In terms of set-up work this afternoon, it was quite difficult because it was so windy out there, and I don’t think it was just us that were affected.

“The package seems to be running smoothly and you can feel a difference from last year, which is positive. There’s still a lot of work to do over the two days we have left, for us to feel that we are really ready for the first race. In terms of the electronics and understanding the driver switch settings for the race start, that’s all sorted, but we haven’t done a lot of the more general set-up work, in order to really fine-tune the car.

“This is the biggest improvement in the power unit that I’ve felt in the last 14 months. The progress with the deployment has been massive – Honda has done a great job over the winter and we’ve had no reliability issues with it during testing so far. Honda has been working very closely with Mobil1 and Esso and I think they’ve made a good step forward, but there’s a lot more that we need to achieve before we are competitive.

“In testing it’s very difficult to judge how quick people are, but we need some big gains in order to really get closer to the front. There are still areas which need some attention, so hopefully over the next two days we can do lots of laps, spend time on the new tyres, learn more about the car and find a set-up that works for us, because we’re not there yet.”

Eric Boullier

“It’s satisfying to get so many laps done today. We’ve been able to debug the car and the engine and find some useful information in order to develop the car ahead of Australia. As I’ve said before, testing is testing and we are here to do just that; it’s the best opportunity we have to work on reliability and integration of our new components before we go racing.

“There isn’t much to read into the timesheets at the moment, as we haven’t yet turned our attention to the performance of the package. However, the numbers we can read from the track show the car is behaving as we predicted. We’re gradually bringing more new parts over the final two days of the test, so it’s going to be a heavily updated chassis by the time we get to Australia. If the correlation is good with these too, it will be a positive step.

“In terms of the power unit, the slightly updated version we have been running since yesterday is a step forward compared to last week, but it’s still very early days, and we need to do a lot more mileage with it before we can exploit it to its full potential.”

Yusuke Hasegawa

"Our main focus for today's running was to set up Jenson's car for the first race in Australia, and finish then the remainder of our planned run programme. During these simulations, the power unit side was working hard to set up and finalise the many engine modes for the race. We are fairly satisfied with the results of the data setting today.

“From tomorrow onwards, we are hoping to test race distance running, and then use this data for even more analysis."

Today’s unofficial testing times

Driver position and lap times
1. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.261 108 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.622 73 laps
3. Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:23.933 126 laps
4. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:24.611151 laps
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.183 121 laps
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:25.235 135 laps
7. Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.300 166 laps
8. Sergio Perez Force India 1:26.188 128 laps
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:26.298 91 laps
10. Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:27.064 79 laps
11. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:27.862 55 laps
12. Esteban Gutierrez Haas No time 1 lap

What’s next?

Fernando gets back behind the wheel of the McLaren-Honda MP4-31 tomorrow for his final day of pre-season testing.

Test dates

Four days (Tuesday 1 March – Friday 4 March).