I wrote earlier in the week about Formula One Winter Testing last week, and shared some photos from Saturday. After going through all of the pictures from last week – I took over 2500 – I have culled them down to around 700, which are now in the relevant Flickr gallery. Here are some from Sunday, an interesting day when some of the big names were out testing.
We left the circuit on Saturday evening, when there was a very visible presence of marbles – pieces of rubber from the wheels – on the track, from all of that day’s testing. Those had all been cleared away by the time we arrived on Sunday.
One of the first drivers out on Sunday was Jenson Button in his McLaren, and we saw plenty of Jenson that day.
Another British driver, Force India’s Paul Di Resta, was soon putting the laps in too.
The Force India is a wonderfully photogenic car, which seems to have “encouraged” me to take hundreds of pictures of it. The warm Spanish light went well with the striking colours of the car, making it a distinctive feature on the track.
Sunday was – as last year – a busier day at the track, and whilst that may be down to more people able to take a day off or to get to the track, one certain reason for this is that the local favourite, Fernando Alonso was testing.
Fernando originally appeared with his periscope attached, the telemetry and airflow attachment often seen on a Ferrari for testing. Many of the other cars have attachments for testing, but with the possible exception of the new Red Bull “Shopping Trolley” (mentioned here), none are as distinctive as the periscope.
Soon, though, we were able to see the Ferrari without the periscope, looking more like what we expect to see next weekend in Melbourne.
We also saw the current World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, out testing the new Red Bull. This year’s car is a slightly different colour from previous Red Bulls, and the deep purple design looks much better up close than on a photo.
I was interested and amused to see the tiny “Sebastian Vettel” written on the side of the car. By the time that you are close enough to read it, you are probably pretty sure as to who it is.
Of course, another popular driver who made an appearance on Sunday was former world champion, Kimi Raikkonen. He missed Saturday through illness, and Sunday morning was time for his car to feel poorly, but by lunchtime, he was out on track. His Lotus for this year comes complete with the team’s Twitter hashtag #ImSexyAndIKnowIt emblazoned on the side.
There were plenty of other cars to see too, and we did manage to see the full set of teams through Sunday.
As the day came near an end, and testing finished for the 2013 season, we started to see a busy track, and cars running close to each other. This is relatively unusual in testing, as the challenge is to find some clear track on which to test.
One of the interesting things about attending testing is that the cars appearance on track – how comfortable they look, the smoothness of their motion around the circuit, etc, is often not matched by the times. That’s partly because we are never quite sure of what is being tested, whether the cars are at full speed, racing with similar fuel strategies, and the like.
Of course, however the cars looked, fans could watch this year via Sky in 3D, and the large 3D cameras were evident around the circuit.
We headed around to the paddock to see what was going on there. Jenson’s tyres looked like they had been put to good use through the day, as we saw them being loaded into their trailer.
Walking by the Ferrari motorhome, we suddenly realised that the chap beside us was actually Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, who did not appear to be in the happiest of moods. However, this may be less to do with any of his testing performances and more to do with his inability to walk 100m without being surrounded by fans.
However, I will save most of the paddock stories for another post….