By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer
Testing in any racing series can be long, drawn out, and frankly, unexciting.
TODAY WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE DAYS!
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
|3||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1:23.251||137|
|4||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1:23.382||159|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1:25.141||121|