Barcelona roundup: Notes, quotes from day one of 2016 F1 testing

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The first day of testing for the 2016 Formula 1 season is in the books, except this year it’s at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona instead of Jerez as it was last year.

Some notes, quotes and tidbits beyond what we’ve already written from the first day of testing to follow:

  • Near identical Vettel/Mercedes first days. Last year, day one at Jerez: Sebastian Vettel fastest, Nico Rosberg with 157 laps. Today: Sebastian Vettel fastest, Lewis Hamilton with 156 laps.
  • From 7 to 11 teams. Last year only Ferrari, Sauber, Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams, Toro Rosso and McLaren made it out for the first day of testing. And when you consider McLaren only logged six laps, it was really only six teams. Lotus missed the first day last year before resuming on day two. Add a full McLaren, plus Force India, Renault (the former Lotus), Manor and Haas, and we had a full field of teams running today. Of the 11 teams today, only Sauber didn’t run its new 2016 chassis.
  • And a big lap count increase, too. The increase in cars made for a significant increase in number of laps, from 450 last year to 799, just one shy of 800, today.
  • Red Bull-TAG Heuer debuts. The first day for the newly rebranded Red Bull-TAG Heuer effort (nee Renault) went fairly well, according to head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin: “It was a very good first day at the office for us. The car build went according to plan, we had no major issues there and we made it out on track on time. We had a small issue in the morning but it was nothing serious, just something that had worked loose and which took a while to get to. But once we were up and running again, we managed to run very consistently, which is really all that you are looking for on the first day.”
  • Red Bull also premiered a video. It’s not much, but a 35-second clip is a nice teaser for the rest of running. See it below. 
  • McLaren banked 84 laps, which is 5 more than all of Jerez last year. McLaren’s 2015 Jerez totals? Just 79 laps over four days. Today, Jenson Button banked 84.
  • Manor banked 54 laps. Pascal Wehrlein had been used to running with Mercedes in his past F1 tests, and today marked his first day with Manor Racing MRT. With 54 laps, both he and the team were happy.
  • Force India’s development driver is first to develop the car. Alfonso Celis Jr. banked 58 laps in his first day in the VJM09 Mercedes, as Force India was not only at the first test of the year, but with a new car. “I’m feeling very happy with how things went today. The start of the day was special when we launched the VJM09 and it was a big honor to be the first to drive the car. It was only my second day in a Formula One car, but I was able to enjoy the experience more than last time because I knew what to expect and I had a bit more confidence” he said. Sergio Perez runs on Tuesday, then Nico Hulkenberg on Wednesday before Celis returns on Thursday.
  • Limited Renault running, but not a bad thing. Some niggling issues for Renault, but not too bad of a day. Nick Chester, Renault chassis technical director said, “Today saw the first steps of the R.S.16, a car that has been delivered by everyone at Enstone and Viry to a very short and exacting timeframe. We were circumspect with our programme today but it was a testament to all the hard work from everyone involved that we could take to the track at 9am. We did experience a number of growing pains today, mainly on the software side, and we’re looking forward to getting some more laps on the board tomorrow.”