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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.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.