After shakedowns and filming runs, F1 drivers and teams got their first chance to have a full day of competitive running in the 2022 machine.
Not long after the end of the 2021 F1 season, teams readied for the big 2022 change and they finally had their first run at Barcelona for the full day. Even though they term it as a shakedown, the drivers got a full day of running as during a normal test.
In all 16 drivers had a chance with 15 of them to compete during the 2022 F1 season. Only Daniel Ricciardo, Guanyu Zhou, Sergio Perez, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon are left to drive the new machine but they will get their chance on Day 2.
Among the 15 who ran, the likes of Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin, Valtteri Bottas and Robert Kubica were on the list low runners, with Max Verstappen registering the highest number of 147. Pace-setter Lando Norris also crossed the 100 mark along with Yuki Tsunoda and Fernando Alonso.
Here’s what the F1 drivers had to say:
Nicholas Latifi: “The first session back in the car after a few months off is always interesting. You can tell it’s a different design philosophy, especially with the tyres, as it was my first time driving the new 18-inch Pirellis. Overall, it feels different and there are a few things that, for me, feel quite positive already compared to last year and there are things that need adjusting. But it is still very early days. This morning’s focus was about understanding the systems and the aero platform sensitivities. It was a good day overall.”
Alexander Albon: “I’m really happy with my first proper session in the FW44 this afternoon. The car felt great and the team here in Barcelona did an incredible job. We got some good mileage in which is really important and a great start to the year. The first days on track are usually spent making sure everything is running smoothly and, because it is, we managed to make a start working on the performance of the car. We only have six days testing before the first race, so to be honing in on performance already is a real positive.”
Lando Norris: “I’m really happy to be back behind the wheel. It’s nice to be in the car again and get to push the limit. It’s been good for me to get used to this new car, because I’ve driven the same regulations for my whole F1 career. It’s nice to have a change and it was a productive day. We learned a lot of things for the team, and we got all the information we wanted to. We can now compare it back to the simulator and the wind tunnel. A good day, and a good start to this test.”
Fernando Alonso: “It’s good to be back after such a long wait. We’ve spent a long time preparing for this moment at both factories and in the garage, a lot of hours have gone into this moment. The cars are very different to last year and we need to adjust to a lot of new characteristics. We still have a lot of work to do but this is why we are at testing. We completed some good mileage and our reliability has been quite strong for the first day of testing. Mileage and reliability is more important than performance in testing, so overall we’re quite pleased with the first day in our new car.”
Yuki Tsunoda: “It’s been a really productive day and a good start to testing for the team. This is the first proper outing in the 2022 car, so everything we’ve done has been super important for our learnings, as obviously this car is completely different to last year. Mileage, and also the changes we were making to the set-up, were key today and we managed to achieve everything we wanted to. We found a few things that we still need to play with but we’re happy with how things are going so far. The car has been really reliable today, we needed to get as much data as possible and we’ve managed to do this. We’ve still got five more days of testing to go before the first race, I think currently the car looks quite fast, but we won’t know the true performance of it until Bahrain Qualifying.”
Max Verstappen: “I think the car looks good but the most important thing is that it is fast, and that’s what we are trying to see. We wanted to get laps in today to get used to the car and to get a general understanding about how it’s behaving. As well as that, we needed the mileage to see how the parts held up. Everything worked pretty well, so it was a good start and a positive day. Tonight, we will look into things in more detail and see what we need to do to improve.”
Nikita Mazepin: “Firstly, it was great to get out. The whole team is coming alive, and the car has been born. It felt nice because the set-up and the way you run the car during these days is different to how we ran it on filming day. Unfortunately, we didn’t get too many laps in – we had a cooling leak which prevented us from doing more laps – but it’s just the beginning. I think the car is looking strong when figuring out the balance. Everyone is learning about this very new car and there are some things that don’t quite match the simulations, but we’re quick learners.”
Mick Schumacher: “Nothing to be concerned about – the smile isn’t as big as it could be as we would’ve liked a three-digit number on the board – but those things happen. It’s now about trying to get the laps that we lost today in tomorrow. We’ll have to wait and see what Bahrain looks like but at least we’re developing the car this year and can react to things, making things better.”
Charles Leclerc: “The first day of testing is behind us. This is always a really exciting moment at the start of each season. It was the first time that we could really push in our new car and it felt really good to be back behind the wheel. We completed all the tests we wanted to and ran through our full programme smoothly, which is good for a new car. I’m looking forward to being back on track again tomorrow. The initial feeling is not bad, but we shouldn’t get carried away by the timesheets today, as these are early days and everyone is still hiding their true form. It’s impossible to have a clear picture just yet, so we have to stay focused and keep working hard. We put in a lot of laps, more than any other team today, and that’s a positive we will build on”.
Carlos Sainz: “Today was the first time I was in the car with a proper run plan, unlike the previous times when we basically did shake downs. We could finally push a bit and start learning from these cars. The timesheet is unimportant at this early stage, but it was very positive to put in a good number of laps and get a real feel at the wheel. We still have a lot of work to do but today we could already start feeling some differences from last year, although in terms of getting used to it I don’t feel it’s going to take too long. For sure the last tenths will be tricky to find, but that is the interesting part! Anyway, that’s not the aim here in Barcelona as we still have more testing ahead of the first race.”
Valtteri Bottas: “It’s always nice to get back behind the wheel after the winter break, especially with a new car, a new team and a new generation of Formula One cars. I did enjoy my time in the car, even though we had some issues that turned out to be pretty costly in terms of time lost. The important thing, however, is that we were able to understand them completely and we know how to fix them: we may have run out of time to do that today, but we still got some running under our belt and we know how to progress.
“Now I hope we can get two good days tomorrow and Friday to catch up on the time we lost today and complete our programme for the test. My first impression of the car is positive, so far I did not feel massive differences between the old-generation cars and the new ones, definitely not night and day. Of course, one needs to adjust the driving a little bit, but nothing too drastic: still, we have a lot of learning to do and we’re keen to get back to work on track tomorrow.”
Robert Kubica: “It wasn’t the best of mornings as we had a couple of issues that limited our running. The guys did a good job to solve them and it’s nice to see the spirit with which the team faced them, but in the end we lost a big chunk of time. The little running I did feels like an appetiser, but obviously I wanted more! That’s racing, though, the important thing is that we can recover some ground tomorrow and continue discovering our new baby. The first impressions of the car are positive, but there’s so much more we need to find out.”
Andrew Shovlin (no comments from drivers): “We got through a lot of work today and both drivers have been able to give us their initial impressions of the W13. Overall the day has been surprisingly straightforward although looking up and down the pitlane, you can see how high the reliability standards are and most teams seemed to be running their programmes without issue. There really is a lot to try and cram into the six days of winter testing when you consider how different the car and the regulations are.
“Nevertheless, we have made good progress on understanding the aerodynamics and the tyres, while at the same time getting nearly 600km under our belts. From a pace point of view it’s too early to say where anyone stands, we’ve also got a few wrinkles to iron out in terms of balance and performance before really trying to put times on the board. However, our overall feeling from today is a good one and we’re looking forward to making more progress tomorrow.”
Quotes from Aston Martin to be updated
Here’s how Day 1 F1 2022 test panned out
Here’s F1 2022 Barcelona line-up