I am currently in Barcelona after watching the last round of Formula One Winter Testing 2015, the series of three tests that provide the teams with the opportunity to test their cars on track. It has been an eventful series of tests this year, with what appears to be some changes in the order of the teams – although we never really know until at least the first race – as well as the first view of the new cars, and the drivers like Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr and Felipe Nasr who are new to Formula One as race drivers. We also saw Fernando Alonso in a crash in the second test that prevented him from running in the final session. I wish him a speedy recovery.
The Circuit de Catalunya just outside Barcelona is a great track, and I was delighted to hear that the test had moved back there this year after a trip to Bahrain last year. The final test, at the end of February running for four days until the 1st March, was also the first opportunity to see the new Force India car, the VJM08, as the team had been running with last year’s car for the first test.
The McLaren team have not has as much running as they would probably like, and this seemed to be changing in the final test with the car doing more laps on Friday than some of the previous sessions. However, just as we were packing up for the day, Jenson Button came by and stopped beside us mid way round the track, and we watched as his car was recovered.
Saturday saw an early start for us as we got to the circuit before the first cars were on track. We spent most of the day in the paddock with the Force India team, who were kind enough to host us for the day, and provided us with wonderful hospitality. It was great to see the team working so well together.
Our view from the pit lane gave a good view up and down the teams, including McLaren in the neighbouring pit garage.
At one stage, the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen dropped fluid in the pit lane which required cement dust was put down to clear it up, which caused a yellow flag in the pit lane. That was, sadly, the last we saw of the McLaren that day.
During the weekend, various teams were running various analytical devices, including the Red Bull equipment which looks not unlike a couple of shopping trolleys attached to the car.
Of course, being in the Force India pit, we had a particularly good view of the Force India team.
On Sunday, the final day of the test, it was a long wait to see the first McLaren of the day. Among those stopping on track and causing a red flag was Max Verstappen, who stopped in front of us. His body language said it all.
I have not yet got through all my photos from the weekend, but I have posted a few, and here they are. More to come soon, and less than two weeks now until the new Formula One season starts…