Test ad Abu Dhabi in chiave 2015–25/11/2014
Abu Dhabi F1 test: Valtteri Bottas leads, trouble for McLaren-Honda
Valtteri Bottas set the pace on the first day of Formula 1’s post-season Abu Dhabi test, as McLaren-Honda’s development car suffered a troubled outing.
Williams driver Bottas – fresh from clinching fourth in the F1 drivers’ championship with a podium finish in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – leapt to the top of the times with a morning run on super-soft Pirelli tyres.
The Finn’s benchmark lap of 1m43.884s around the Yas Marina circuit remained unbeaten for most of the afternoon, until he went back out and lowered it to a 1m43.396s best with 15 minutes left of the session to run.
Fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen lapped his Ferrari within 0.004 seconds of Bottas’s morning pace with a super-soft run of his own in the afternoon, as new signing Sebastian Vettel watched on in the Scuderia’s garage.
Raikkonen’s time remained good enough for second spot, ahead of the Mercedes of championship runner-up Nico Rosberg, who completed more laps than any other driver on day one, racking up 114.
The eagerly anticipated appearance of McLaren’s Honda development car, dubbed the MP4-29H/1X1, was delayed until the afternoon by electrical problems, and the car had a troubled time when it did appear.
Reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne coasted to a halt at his pit following an installation lap and then caused the penultimate red flag of the day when the car broke down on-track with around two hours of the test remaining.
The car appeared once more in the final hour before pulling back into the pits for good with just three laps in total under its belt.
GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer set the fourth fastest time of the test for Force India, just 0.004s adrift of Rosberg.
Engine problems restricted Palmer to just 37 laps on his F1 debut, but he returned to the track in the final hour and jumped ahead of the Red Bull of Formula Renault 3.5 champion Carlos Sainz Jr and the Caterham of Will Stevens, who rounded out the top six.
Lotus reserve driver Charles Pic was seventh fastest, ahead of Sauber debutant Marcus Ericsson and Red Bull prodigy Max Verstappen, who completed just two laps in the morning before crashing his Toro Rosso three corners from the end of his third tour.
The team said the front suspension failed on the car, pitching the Dutch teenager into the wall.
He also caused the final red flag of the day when his engine stopped on-track with 12 minutes of the session remaining.
|4||Jolyon Palmer||Force India/Mercedes||1m44.516s||1.120s||37|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.339s||1.943s||100|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.194s||3.798s||55|
Kimi Raikkonen says ex-Ferrari F1 boss was doing a good job
Ousted Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Marco Mattiacci was doing "a very good job", according to 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Ferrari announced on Monday that Mattiacci was departing only eight months after replacing Stefano Domenicali, and despite the Italian having stressed his commitment to the team’s restructuring during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend.
Asked by AUTOSPORT how he had rated Mattiacci’s contribution, Raikkonen replied: "Obviously I think he did a very good job. I liked him.
"I didn’t really know him before – we hadn’t met before.
"I think coming from outside of Formula 1 into the position he came into is definitely not easy, and I think he did a good job."
New Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene comes to Ferrari from a senior role with its backer Phillip Morris, and has also been a member of the F1 Commission.
While backing Mattiacci, Raikkonen acknowledged that Arrivabene is well-qualified for running the F1 team.
"Obviously there was a change now," he said. "I know Maurizio from the past and he’s a very nice guy.
"I think he’s the right guy in the position he’s been put in.
"There’s a lot of hard work, not just for him but for everyone in the team.
"He’s known Ferrari for a long time and he’s known the business for a long time, and I think he has the right way of putting things in the right order and pushing the team to where we should be."
Although Raikkonen’s 2015 team-mate Sebastian Vettel was denied permission to try the Ferrari during this week’s test, he joined the team in the garage on Tuesday.
Raikkonen said he "wasn’t surprised" that the German had chosen to get an early start on working with his new team, but he had not talked to him much yet.
"We were busy today so not much time to talk, plus he hasn’t driven the car yet," said Raikkonen.
"Obviously our aim is to get the Ferrari where we should be as a team.
"We’ll fight against each other, but first of all we have to get the team where we’re supposed to be."