Tag: Romain Grosjean

F1: Barcelona Test 2, Day 3: Lewis Hamilton top for Mercedes

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the pace on the penultimate day of pre-season Formula 1 testing.

The world champion underlined the impression that Mercedes have a clear advantage by beating Williams’s Felipe Massa despite using slower tyres.

Hamilton was 0.24secs faster than Massa, who edged Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by 0.014secs, using a tyre which is some 0.5-0.8secs slower a lap.

McLaren-Honda again had their running curtailed by a reliability problem.

Hamilton, who will not drive the car again until the first race of the season, said: “It wasn’t a spectacular day. The track seemed to have lost some grip to the last two days so it wasn’t the best in terms of feeling but we got some running done and I feel good in the car.”

Reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, standing for Fernando Alonso as the Spaniard recovers from concussion sustained in a crash last Sunday, managed only 38 laps before an oil leak in the engine ended the team’s day shortly after lunch.

The Dane was eighth fastest, 2.203secs off the pace, after a run on the soft tyre.

But despite the setback, Magnussen sounded optimistic about the team’s chances afterwards.

“Great to be back in the car today,” he said on Twitter.  “The McLaren-Honda feels great! Plenty more to come from this one.”

Racing director Eric Boullier said: “We won’t be as ready for the Melbourne as we would like, but we will do our best.”

Boullier added that “reliability is still a concern” and he said he expected the team to take until the fifth race of the season in Spain in May “to be more competitive”.

Final pre-season test. Day three, Circuit de Catalunya
1 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:23.022
2 Felipe Massa (Brz) Williams-Mercedes 1:23.262
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:23.276
4 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.191
5 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus-Mercedes 1:24.200
6 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.477
7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India-Mercedes 1:24.939
8 Kevin Magnussen (Den) McLaren-Honda 1:25.225
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:25.742

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Barcelona Test Day 4: Grosjean fastest as Mercedes starts to show potential

Romain Grosjean made it three out of four for Lotus at this week’s pre-season test in Barcelona as he topped an eventful day marked by Fernando Alonso’s unusual crash in the McLaren.

Half an hour before lunch, Alonso went off the circuit at the exit of Turn 3 and came to a stop on the run down to Turn 4. A lengthy delay followed and after being taken by ambulance to the medical centre a conscious Alonso was airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks. CT scans in the afternoon confirmed the Spaniard was uninjured, although he will be kept in hospital overnight.

Alonso completed just 19 laps before his accident and McLaren was not able to get the car back out on track in the afternoon when Jenson Button was scheduled to drive. It means McLaren finishes the second pre-season test with just 129 laps to show for its week in Barcelona and just one week of testing left to rectify its problems before the first race in Australia.

day4-alonso-crashes-out

Alonso’s accident was just one incident in an eventful final day at the Circuit de Catalunya, which saw four further red flags in the afternoon. First Nico Hulkenberg stopped on track under a cloud of smoke from his 2014 Force India. Carlos Sainz then spun off at Turn 4, snapping the Toro Rosso’s front wing on impact with the wall. The accident was heavy enough for him to have to pay a brief but routine trip to the medical centre for checks. Valtteri Bottas stopped in the same spot a few moments after the green flags came out and with ten minutes to go there was another red flag when Felipe Nasr pulled up with a problem with his Sauber.

Grosjean’s headline time of 1:24.067 was set on the super-soft tyre, and marked a day with 111 laps and a race simulation for Lotus. Mercedes added to its sizeable winter mileage count with 131 laps for Nico Rosberg as it continues to look for a step forward in reliability this season. In the final hour Rosberg put in an impressive 1:24.321, set on the medium tyre and just 0.254s off Grosjean’s time. The lap was roughly a second faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time on medium tyres at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, but unlike Hamilton’s was set on used tyres and most likely with a heavier fuel load.

After focusing on pit stops and race starts on Saturday, Williams spent the day focused on longer runs. Valtteri Bottas started a race simulation after lunch but it was interrupted by a visit to the Williams garage and Hulkenberg’s stoppage. He then continued the long run before stopping at Turn 4 himself, though it did not end his day. It was obvious Williams was not chasing times and his race simulation and 129 laps was an impressive way to round off the second test.

Sebastian Vettel’s second day this week in the Ferrari garnered a solid 76-lap haul, though his day was punctuated by several long spells in the garage. Ferrari still has plenty of reasons to be optimistic after eight solid days of testing so far. Felipe Nasr’s day was blighted by an early pit-lane stoppage which kept him in the garage for an extended period before lunch, though he did recover to record 73 laps. Sainz’s spin ended his day after 88 laps, while Hulkenberg finished his first F1 run of the year with 36 laps. Force India hopes to arrive at the third test with this season’s challenger but will have gained valuable 2015 tyre data from this week’s test.

Day 4 Times:
1. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:24.067 111 laps
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.321 131 laps
3. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:24.941 104 laps
4. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.956 73 laps
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.345 129 laps
6. Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.605 88 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.312 76 laps
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.591 36 laps
9. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:27.956 20 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Jerez Test Day 4: Raikkonen top, but slow progress for McLaren

Kimi Raikkonen put Ferrari at the top of the Jerez timesheets for the third day in four as the first week of pre-season testing came to a close on Wednesday.

Raikkonen used soft tyres on a dry track to set the fastest time of the test under sunny skies, beating the time set by team-mate Sebastian Vettel on Monday by over a tenth of a second. Ferrari also completed more than a century of laps in a day for the first time this week with a total of the Finn’s 105.

There was more slow progress for both McLaren and Red Bull as the two former championship-winning teams struggled again for mileage. From its starting point on Sunday and Monday, McLaren has made progress, but a total of 79 laps over the course of the week is a long way off its pre-test target. Positives came from multiple-lap runs without major issues such as overheating, but smaller reliability problems kept it from running throughout the day.

The first run went all of two feet onto the pit apron before the car was rolled back and there was a similar issue as Jenson Button tried to take to the track and stopped in the pit lane on one of his afternoon runs. The team finally called it a day just over an hour before the end of the session when a fuel pump problem could not be fixed. Nevertheless, the team is confident it can be competitive when it is able to turn its power unit up to full power and chase lap times.

day4-button-issues

Red Bull had another slow start to the day as an ERS problem on its Renault power unit forced Daniil Kvyat to park the RB11 on the side of the track. After engine issues on day one, a broken front wing on day two and a full power unit change on day three, the team has only completed 164 laps, which means only McLaren has completed fewer over the course of the four days.

Defending champions Mercedes once again topped the lap count with 117 for Lewis Hamilton despite a half spin in the morning at the chicane. The total for the week comes to 517, a remarkable feat for any team on the first week of running with a new car. Although Mercedes is only interested in mileage this week, Hamilton set the third fastest time with a 1:22.172, which was 1.331s off Raikkonen and 0.153s off Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber. Ericsson’s time meant the two Ferrari-powered cars topped all four of this week’s sessions.

Elsewhere, Max Verstappen added another 97 laps to his tally for the week in the Toro Rosso and Felipe Massa completed 73 laps for Williams. Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first time this year and was impressed with his new Mercedes-powered Lotus. However, a power unit-related problem brought his day to an early end after 53 laps.

Jerez Test Day 4 Times:
1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.841 105 laps 
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.019 111 laps 
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.172 116 laps 
4. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:22.553 97 laps
5. Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.116 73 laps 
6. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:23.802 53 laps 
7. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:23.975 63 laps 
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.980 35 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Grosjean to stay at Lotus in 2015

Lotus has confirmed Romain Grosjean will partner Pastor Maldonado at the team next season.

Grosjean has raced at Lotus since 2012 but in the past few months has been waiting on confirmation of his position at the team in 2015. After a breakthrough year in 2013 with six podiums and 132 points, he has struggled this year in an uncompetitive car, but is confident the arrival of Mercedes engines in 2015 will boost the team’s competitiveness.

“It’s fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus F1 Team for 2015 and it’s superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone,” he said. “It’s no secret that we’ve had a really tough season this year, but the team has remained focused and we’re all determined to return to regular points-scoring in 2015.

“I have been spending a lot of time recently at Enstone and I’m feeling very positive about the potential of the E23, which should represent a return to form for the team. We have one race left in 2014 so I’ll be pushing to do the best job possible in Abu Dhabi before my focus switches fully to 2015.”

Team boss Gerard Lopez said Grosjean had proved himself worthy of a new contract this season.

“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team alongside Pastor Maldonado next season. You really learn something about a driver when they have the chips against them and Romain has delivered impeccably in 2014 despite the very big challenges he has faced. We know that Romain will always get the most out of the car at his disposal, which is why we can’t wait to harness his potential with Mercedes-Benz power in 2015.”
Read more at ESPN