F1: Final Barcelona Test Day 3

By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer

Testing in any racing series can be long, drawn out, and frankly, unexciting.


With Ferrari bringing out the safety oriented Halo head protection system live for the first time, Williams making a strong statement concerning overall race pace, and Romain Grosjean spinning the Haas entry twice, Day 3 was filled with some interesting storylines as we approach the Barcelona test finale tomorrow.

Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheet with the fastest lap seen in testing so far! He also checked the race simulation box in what was a very strong showing for the Scuderia. Although Ferrari seems to be hitting stride at the right moment, what got the most attention was a single lap run with the Halo system in place on the SF16-H.

In typical Raikkonen fashion, he commented that the Halo was, “OK”.

In what was a Raikkonen word bonus, he elaborated saying “the difference to the usual driving was surprisingly small. The visibility is just a little bit limited at the front but I don’t think this is the final version of the device, so it can be improved further.”

Nico Rosberg reiterated his strong support of the Halo saying, “It’s a big thing.” Rosberg has always had the ability to view the bigger picture.

My opinion is it really is a massive step in safety because most of the fatalities we’ve had in racing in the last years. This would have saved those people, so it’s a huge step, definitely needed.  – Nico Rosberg

Teammate Lewis Hamilton took the opposite approach calling the Halo the worst innovation in F1 history and using social media to blast the concept.

“Please no! This is the worst looking mod in Formula 1 history. I appreciate the quest for safety but this is Formula 1, and the way it is now is perfectly fine.”

Looks like seats at opposite tables for the Mercedes pair…again!

Williams is making a strong case that this years car may catapult them into a fierce battle with Ferrari for possession of second place in the running order. In typical Williams fashion, they have played their cards close to the vest in the initial tests, but have started to show their true pace with Valtteri Bottas leading Day 2 and Felipe Massa placing second today.


Haas struggled again, although they at least logged some laps, totaling 78 on the day. Today’s issues surrounded two off track excursions by Romain Grosjean which resulted in damage to the floor. Grosjean attributed the issues to Haas’ adaptation of the Ferrari Brake By Wire system to the VF-16 and recognized the need to understand this issue quickly. Haas have struggled mightily this week and will work hard on the final day to get their systems reliable and the car ready for the season opener in Australia.

Day 3 Test Times

Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.765 136
2 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1:23.193 119
3 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1:23.251 137
4 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1:23.382 159
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.126 81
6 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1:24.760 116
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1:24.870 118
8 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1:24.913 48
9 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1:25.141 121
10 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:26.224 98
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.488 63
12 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:27.196 78

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (http://whoobazoo.com/draftingthecircuits), which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (https://www.facebook.com/Formula1RacingPLUS), which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at www.littleorcasports.com

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