Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Conditions were tough throughout the day, with high temperatures, strong winds and a lot of sand on the track this afternoon. This made performance testing very difficult, however, we were able to change focus to data gathering and operational practice, including pitstops and race start simulations.
Roy did a very good job in the difficult conditions, making no mistakes as he and his engineers worked nicely through their programme. He provided valuable feedback throughout the day, including on the new 2021 Pirelli tyres, which we had previously only run for a limited time at the final races of last season.
We have plenty to look through tonight as we continue our preparation for the race here in a few weeks’ time, but there were no issues with the car today and we are now in a good position to push it harder tomorrow. Hopefully, the conditions will improve enough overnight to allow Nicholas the opportunity to try a range of test items as he begins to optimise the FW43B ready for racing.
Roy Nissany: I think it was a strong first day even with the poor conditions where we experienced a lot of sand and dust in the air. We got the most out of the car and I am happy with my performance, and I think the engineers were as well. We collected all of the data that we wanted and tested a lot of items so it has definitely been a very productive day, a lot of fun and a great opening to the season.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We had a busy day, completing 132laps without any major issues. The track changed throughout the day making comparisons difficult, but we were still able to complete some useful work. It was good for Nicholas to get a trouble-free day and to experience the car in a range of conditions and on a range of tyres.
It looks like the weather will be a bit different again tomorrow when George will be in the car to complete our pre-season testing. We still have a lot to do, but we are confident that we can have another productive today tomorrow and get ourselves into the best possible position for the first race.
Nicholas Latifi: It was great to get some proper running back behind the wheel. It was nice to push the car in the dry and knock the dust off from the winter. It was a tricky day with the wind, but it was good to get some running in these conditions as there were lots to learn. As is normal in pre-season testing, there were a few half-spins as I was pushing to see what the limits were. I think we can be happy with the number of laps we completed today, and we now have a lot of data to analyse to be as prepared as possible for the first race of the season.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We can be pleased with our day’s work today. The car ran reliably throughout, which is a testament to the skill and effort of all those in Grove and at the track involved in designing, manufacturing and operating it. We were able to complete over 850km of valuable running, which enabled us to do a lot of testing and to gain further experience with the new Pirelli tyres. We worked through a good programme that included all aspects of a typical race weekend and which stressed the team, including George. Everyone rose to the challenge and is now looking forward to the real test in a few weeks’ time.
It is too early to comment on the pace of FW43B, but we are pleased with our initial findings. There are a lot of things to work on and improve, but we have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the car. We have a good opportunity over the next few days to identify areas that we can develop before the first race, and out of this will come some new test items and a run programme for FP1. We are looking forward to running the car again soon and seeing just how much we can extract from it.
George Russell: It was a very productive day and we put a lot of laps on the board, 158 in the end. The team did a great job over these three days, we have had no reliability issues, and everything ran smoothly. Ultimately performance is what we are here for and I think we have a lot to analyse. Some of our competitors do seem very quick, but equally, I think the conditions did not always favour us. We have lots to analyse but overall, it has been a positive test for the team.