F1 Testing in Bahrain - Day One

F1 notes and quotes: Bahrain Day 1

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The first day of Bahrain testing – the first of four this week, and first of eight overall to round out official Formula One preseason testing – occurred Wednesday. It’s still early days yet, but the initial narrative of Mercedes pace and reliability while Renault teams struggle for laps appears to be the case.

Here’s the notes and quoteboard from around the paddock for the rest of the runners beyond Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, the two main headline-makers on Day 1.

  • Ferrari, second with Fernando Alonso on Wednesday, hasn’t begun its performance chase yet. “I think it is still too early to say just how satisfied we are, as we are still learning how the F14 T behaves in various situations and we are trying to gather as much data as possible,” said Scuderia Ferrari and Deputy Chief Designer Simone Resta, via Ferrari’s official website.
  • Mercedes revealed its revolutionary 360-degree interactive camera earlier on Wednesday. The team continues running the #KeepFightingMichael hashtag on its car in support of Michael Schumacher. As for the day on track, Lewis Hamilton wrote on Twitter, “At the moment we are aiming for reliability and not necessarily topping the timesheets. The team can be really proud of what we’ve achieved!”
  • Kevin Magnussen’s running for McLaren focused primarily on aerodynamic runs. He hit a social media milestone today, crossing over the 50,000-follower mark on Twitter – not bad for a guy who only joined the social media service in November.
  • Sauber’s Adrian Sutil also focused on aero tests and rear wing comparisons. The German led all runners with 82 laps completed in the Ferrari-powered car. “We still have issues with the brakes and the engine driveability, but we were able to progress, which is good,” Sutil said, via the team’s official website. “It was good to have a better day today than any we had in Jerez and I am more confident now.”
  • The lone reserve driver nominated to test this week, Caterham’s Robin Frijns, clocked in 68 laps, most by far for any of the Renault-powered teams. He said the car felt “ok,” but felt a breakthrough on the medium compounds. “The grip levels on those was much better and I could really start to push on that set,” said the talented young Dutch driver, via the Caterham F1 website.
  • Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat got an installation lap complete, but that was it for the young Russian.
  • Williams’ chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson, on the team’s fuel system issue: “After replacing some components it then became necessary to remove the power unit to investigate the fuel cell. We were able to get some laps in at the end of the day but we will aim to resolve the issue and continue our programme with Valtteri (Bottas) tomorrow to get through as much of our planned running as possible.”
  • The first official run for Lotus didn’t include any official quotes, but did provide a first glance at where the PDVSA logos, brought by new driver Pastor Maldonado, will appear on the E22 chassis. PDVSA appears on the front wing aero, rear wing endplate, and above the sidepod on the power unit cover.
  • No quotes from Marussia either, but no real need given they didn’t complete any laps. Max Chilton takes over from Jules Bianchi on Thursday.

Button confused by Red Bull’s decision to drop Kvyat

SOCHI, RUSSIA - APRIL 30: Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda in the garage during final practice ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 30, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
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2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button questioned Red Bull’s decision to drop Daniil Kvyat for Max Verstappen as of the Spanish Grand Prix, saying the team has “short memories”.

Red Bull announced on Thursday that Kvyat would be returning to Toro Rosso, its B-team, as of the next race in Barcelona, with Verstappen moving in the opposite direction.

The decision sparked mixed reactions on social media, with many pointing out that Kvyat had been on the podium just three weeks ago in China.

Button made the exact same point in a couple of tweets sent from his Twitter account on Thursday.

IMS confirms 100th Indy 500 reserved seats are sold out

Indianapolis 500
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials have confirmed Friday that the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will have a sellout crowd, with confirmation all reserved seats have been sold.

“Every Indianapolis 500 is special, but the buzz surrounding the 100th Running has been building for nearly a year, ever since the checkered flag fell on the 99th,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “Our fans are the best in sports and their incredible support of this year’s race will make it a truly historic day for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”

Further information is linked here, via the IMS website.

Verstappen’s engineer Pujolar leaves Toro Rosso

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 13:  Xevi Pujolar of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spain during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 13, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
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Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso race engineer Xevi Pujolar has left the team following the Dutchman’s move up to Red Bull Racing for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Red Bull announced on Thursday that Verstappen had been promoted to its senior Formula 1 team with immediate effect in place of Daniil Kvyat, who moves in the opposite direction.

Kvyat returns to Toro Rosso, moving in the opposite direction to Verstappen in a bid to ease some of the pressure he was facing following a disastrous outing at Russian Grand Prix.

In a tweet sent from his Twitter account on Thursday, ex-Williams and HRT engineer Pujolar confirmed that he would be leaving Toro Rosso after two and a half years.

Toro Rosso and Red Bull are yet to confirm which engineers will work with Kvyat and Verstappen from the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

Davidson would not turn down Jaguar Formula E drive

Anthony Davidson (GBR) 
Toyota Hybrid Racing
World Endurance Championship. 6 Hours of Bahrain. 18th-21st  November 2015. Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain.
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SPA – Anthony Davidson is open to a move into Formula E with Jaguar upon its entry to the championship later this year, but is yet to receive a serious offer from the British manufacturer.

Jaguar confirmed at the end of last year that it would be entering Formula E from the 2016-2017 season, and is expected to be competitive from the very beginning thanks to its relationship with championship battery supplier Williams.

As a result, the Jaguar seats are among the most coveted for the new season, leading to speculation that 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship winner and Toyota racer Davidson could become the latest driver to combine endurance racing duties with Formula E.

Davidson confirmed to NBC Sports that he’d be interested in doing so, but said he is yet to receive a serious approach.

“If I was approached seriously and wasn’t messed about by having to do a driver shoot-out or anything ridiculous like that, then maybe I would,” Davidson said.

“So far I haven’t had a serious approach. I would be up for it. I’m always up for racing in different cars, especially to drive a single-seater again would be nice, but it’s not high on my priority list at the moment.”

When asked by NBC Sports if a move to Jaguar would be of interest, Davidson confirmed that preliminary talks had been held but nothing had been firmed up.

“I got in touch, we were in touch. We had a chat and that’s about all that came from it,” Davidson said.

“I wouldn’t turn down an offer, let’s put it that way. But I’m not going to break a leg falling over myself to get into one.

“I’m 37 years old now. If I can’t sell myself now then there’s no point.

“If people don’t know what I’m capable of then that’s their loss.”