Barcelona F1 Test Paddock Notebook – Friday

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The completion of Friday’s running in Barcelona marks the halfway stage in the 2015 F1 winter testing programme. We’re six days down and have six left to go in Barcelona, and the teams are now pushing hard in the run up to Melbourne.

Friday was another dry and sunny day, giving the teams ideal conditions in which to test. Red Bull took full advantage of this as Daniel Ricciardo bounced back from an early stoppage to finish at the top of the timesheets ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

Once again though, the smart money is on Mercedes after both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg put in some good laps without using the soft tire like their rivals. The team opted to split the running between its drivers in order to keep Rosberg fresh for his next outing on Sunday.

Compared to Thursday, Friday was a far less eventful day in spite of three red flag periods. Ricciardo, Marcus Ericsson and Carlos Sainz Jr. all warranted a stoppage, but none of the issues turned out to be too critical.

Rounding up all of the news and action in Barcelona today, here’s the latest Paddock Notebook.




Six days down, six to go. The start of the 2015 Formula 1 season draws ever nearer, giving the teams less and less time to perfect their cars and be in the best possible shape for the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.

After a busy first day in Barcelona, day two was a little more understated. Although there were three red flag periods, none of the problems proved to be too critical for the affected parties, meaning that all of the teams completed some good mileage at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The man to beat was Daniel Ricciardo. His day started poorly with a small software issue that caused him to stop at the end of the pit lane, but the Australian rallied to post the fastest time and complete more laps than any other driver. It was an impressive showing, particularly with a full race simulation that looked fairly consistent. Time will tell, but Red Bull and Renault are certainly making progress.

Once again, Ferrari appeared towards the top of the timesheets with Kimi Raikkonen finishing in second place. The Finn’s best lap time was just 0.010 seconds slower than Ricciardo’s, but most of his runs did not go beyond 20 laps, meaning that Ferrari will still be looking to fine tune its long-run pace this weekend with Vettel at the wheel.

Mercedes played swapsies once again with its drivers as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton shared the running. Rosberg was rested for the afternoon due to a minor strain on his neck that he says was caused by a change in his driving position, but Hamilton gladly took up the mantle in the afternoon. Mercedes may not have finished quickest on any of the six days of testing so far, but there is plenty of pace in reserve, it seems.

McLaren also enjoyed its best day of winter testing so far as Fernando Alonso completed some good mileage in the MP4-30. Although his stints were on average around five or six laps, the Spaniard said that he felt good behind the wheel and was learning with every extra lap that was completed. Given that today was thought to be a write-off due to the issue with the MGU-K on Thursday, the productivity may have come as a pleasant surprise to the British team.

Finally, a big talking point of the day was a press conference held by Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene in Barcelona, in which he spoke about the team’s impressive start to the year. Despite finishing inside the top two in all six sessions so far, he refused to alter his target for the season of two race wins. His presence is certainly an impressive one though, contrasting his predecessor, the more passive Marco Mattiacci. Perhaps Arrivabene is exactly what Ferrari needs to get back to the top?

We’ll be back tomorrow with all of the action from Barcelona, so be sure to join us then.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.