Verstappen tops Barcelona test

The Spanish Grand Prix winner set thetime as Red Bull continued to evaluate Renault’s upgraded power unit. Kevin Magnussen was eighth-quickest in the works team’s car.

Stoffel Vandoorne continued McLaren’s productive test with over 100 laps in the MP4-31 and second-fastest time. Pascal Wehrlein stodd in for Esteban Ocon at Mercedes and ended the day third-quickest.

“The team called me yesterday evening as they couldn’t finish their test programme and needed an experienced driver to finish it off,” Wehrlein explained, “so I came back to the track to do a seat fitting that night.”

“We tried a few different set-ups during the morning – mainly looking at aerodynamic with the aero rig. Then we did some long runs in the afternoon, so a good programme.”

Ferrari ran test driver Antonio Fuoco, who previously drove for them during last year’s rain-hit test at the Red Bull Ring.

Vettel fastest on opening day of Pirelli test

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was quickest on day one of the first in-season Formula 1 test at Barcelona as Williams tested a radical new rear wing as part of 2017 development.

The German clocked a 1m23.220s on the soft tyres and managed 103 laps to finish 0.117 seconds clear of Nico Rosberg, who had the highest lap tally with 119.

McLaren’s Jenson Button, who led the way after the morning session, was third, half a second adrift.

Dry but chilly conditions greeted the teams on the first morning of the two-day test but temperatures gradually warmed up as the sun broke through.

Ferrari focused on one-lap pace in the morning, having struggled for pace in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, and completed a series of short runs on the soft and medium.

But it was Williams that caused a stir when it unveiled a radical new rear wing and modified front wing.

Champions and rookies set for Barcelona test

After the shock win from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix, the F1 paddock is back at work for the Barcelona test.

Teams are allowed just four days of testing during the F1 season, and under the sporting regulations two of those four must be dedicated to helping train ‘young drivers’ who have no more than two Grand Prix starts to their name.

The second in-season test will follow with British Grand Prix in July.

Provisional testing line-up, Monday/Tuesday:

Mercedes: Nico Rosberg / Esteban Ocon

Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel / Antonio Fuoco

Williams: Alex Lynn / Felipe Massa

Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo / Max Verstappen

Force India: Alfonso Celis / Alfonso Celis

Renault: Esteban Ocon / Kevin Magnussen

Toro Rosso: Pierre Gasly / Daniil Kvyat

McLaren: Jenson Button / Stoffel Vandoorne

Manor: Pascal Wehrlein / Jordan King

Haas: Romain Grosjean / Esteban Gutierrez

Pirelli testing plans approved by FIA

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The FIA has given formal approval to a substantial increase in testing in order to develop the tyres which will be used from next year and beyond.

With a major overhaul of the tyre rules planned for next season F1’s official tyre supplier had requested a significant increase in testing to produce suitable compounds.

The rules change will allow “25 car days of testing with current cars, fitted with 2017 tyre sizes, in 2016, 2017 and 2018”, the FIA announced on Wednesday. Just four days of testing were carried between the first and last races of 2015.

Crutchlow top Honda through day one in Qatar

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Briton Cal Crutchlow ended the first evening of testing in Qatar as the fastest Honda, as he got his first taste of the 2016 Honda engine.

Crutchlow’s best time was a 1:56.510, was just over one second slower than the best time managed by reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, and was good enough for eight fastest overall and the top Honda rider, beating factory Repsol Honda duo of Marc Marquez (10th) and Dani Pedrosa (13th)

Crutchlow and his LCR Honda team got their first taste of the new 2016 Honda engine, which has been made with the intention of giving a softer power delivery to his Honda RC213V.

Crutchlow was initially pleased with his new engine as he spent large portions of the first evening working on the finer details of his new engine, working to utilise it’s strengths.

Today was a bit of a ‘getting-to-know-you’ session with the new engine,” said the 30-year-old.

“Everything else on the bike is completely as it was, but we were glad to receive the new engine from Honda. We found some positive things with it, but we have only tested it briefly to begin with.

Along with the new engine, Crutchlow was working towards a race set up, and worked solely on the harder compound Michelin tyre all day. The Brit developed a good understanding of the new Bridgestone rear, as he managed his best lap on the day on the rear tyre’s 22nd lap.

“I used the hard tyre all day, and I felt good – I did my fastest lap after 22 laps with the hard rear tyre,” he said. “So this is quite satisfying because we know we can do a good job, and I feel very comfortable at the moment to be able to go fast when we need. I don’t think the result today reflects anything like what it would be in a race here.”

Moving into the middle day of the three day test, Crutchlow will continue to work with his new 2016 engine, but will also move his attention to the front end of his Honda RC213V, trying to find more grip and stability under breaking into the corner.

“Tomorrow we’re looking forward to trying some more things with the front of the bike because at the moment the limit is the front tyre,” he explained.

“We have to stop the front moving so much under braking and into the corner, and this will be our main focus, but at the moment I’m generally really pleased with things.”