The opening 2015 Formula One two day in-season test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya featured a blend of series regulars and F1 hopefuls, just days following the Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, winner of the Spanish Grand Prix, set the tone early by topping the time sheets and clicking off 146 laps in the morning session.
Mercedes, along with Red Bull, Ferrari and Toro Rosso, were appointed to help tire manufacturer Pirelli test new rubber over the course of the two day test with Rosberg’s time of 1:24.374s leading the way on an unmarked compound.
The day was solid for Ferrari Academy driver Raffaele Marciello, who finished third on the day one time sheets behind Rosberg and Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson.
Marciello logged an impressive 125 laps for the Scuderia.
With an illness forcing Pascal Wehrlein out of testing on day one, it was up to 24-year-old Nick Yelloly to step in and step up for Force India. The GP2 driver made his official debut faster than originally anticipated by stepping in for Wehrlein, but recorded 109 laps and was sixth on the timesheets.
Day One Times
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:24.374, 146 laps
2. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 1:26.624, 98 laps
3. Raffaele Marciello, Ferrari, 1:26.648, 125 laps
4. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull-Renault, 1:26.904, 101 laps
5. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus-Mercedes, 1:27.338, 60 laps
6. Nick Yelloly, Force India-Mercedes, 1:27.396, 109 laps
7. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1:27.639, 131 laps
8. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, 1:27.911, 54 laps
9. Oliver Turvey, McLaren-Honda, 1:28.542, 68 laps
The second day of testing featured Lotus’ reserve driver Joylon Palmer besting Mercedes reserve driver Wehrlein with a time 1:26.080s.
“It was great to be in the car for a full day of productive testing especially here in Barcelona where I tested in the pre-season and then drove in FP1,” said Palmer. “I think we’ve made real progress as a team with the set-up of the car and I know I’m improving every time I get in the car. We ran through a lot of different programs and assessments and it was a great day at the office for me.”
Wehrlein, returning to the circuit following an illness the day before, recorded a session leading 137 laps while posting a best time of 1:26.497s.
Following a slightly dramatic driver rotation after Wehrlein’s illness on day one that saw Nick Yelloly in at Force India for the German, the team then moved to have the talented Esteban Ocon in the seat for day two. The Frenchman logged 94 laps en route to placing sixth on the timesheets, ahead of Ferrari reserve driver and former Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez, along with current Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr.
“I was very happy to get the opportunity to drive today and I’m pleased with how things went,” said Ocon. “It’s always good to get more experience in a Formula One car and I’ve learned a huge amount about this car and this team. We worked on a lot of things – mainly on the aero side and we completed most of the things we had planned.
“The team has given me some good feedback and I improved during the day – step by step with each run. I hope I get another chance to drive a Formula One car soon.”
Day Two Times
1. Joylon Palmer, Lotus, 1:26.080, 87 laps
2. Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes, 1:26.497 137 laps
3. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, 1:26.683, 75 laps
4. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:26.927, 100 laps
5. Alex Lynn, Williams, 1:26.967, 52 laps
6. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:27.520, 94 laps
7. Esteban Gutierrez, Ferrari, 1:27.930 119 laps
8. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:27.997, 126 laps
9. Raffaelle Marciello, Sauber, 1:28.829, 75 laps
Note that many of the teams were testing a variety of components given the next two events on the Formula One calendar, the Grand Prix of Monaco and the Canadian Grand Prix.
Image: Lotus F1 Team