It’s been an eventful first day of testing at Barcelona and according to Williams Martinin Racing, the first drive of the season from Susie Wolff produced good car feedback and development, if not momentary nail biting after a collision with a Sauber.
Susie made her 2015 debut at the wheel of the FW37-02 and put in 86 laps with her best time of 1:28.906 which seated her 10th for the day just ahead of 2014 world champion Lewis Hamilton. Before you get too excited, Hamilton was ill and had to abandon testing.
You can imagine driving a F1 car is not easy but doing it while you have a fever and are ill must be miserable. While his teammate, Nico Rosberg, was present, the team actually called upon reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein to take the wheel which is interesting because he’d already been testing for Force India but young man made the jump to the Merc…who wouldn’t? The Force India was last year’s car.
German media reported that Nico Rosberg has a trapped nerve in his neck and isn’t slated to take the wheel until Friday with some doubt as to if he’ll be able to. This could put a chink in Mercedes armor for the second test of the season.
The day was also marred by a high speed collision between Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Williams F1’s Susie Wolff. Wolff, on an out lap, collided leaving Wolff speechless…but not too speechless:
“I stayed completely on my line, I didn’t expect him to move across as aggressively as he did,” said Wolff.
“He hit my front left with his rear. I went straight over to him and asked what the hell went on?
“He was a bit speechless. And to be honest I was a bit speechless.
“It’s stupid. For me what’s clear is that I’m staying straight, I don’t know if he expected me to move over or whether he was trying to optimise the corner entry.
“But if you know I’m there, he could have just gone into the corner.
“I’m not here to say I blame him, it happened. It was a stupid, unnecessary thing to happen.”
The incident had a different flair according to AUTOSPORT’s quote from Nasr:
“I caught up with her at Turn 4 and I could see her moving to the right so I thought that she knew I was coming,” he said.
“Then I committed myself to the braking into Turn 5 on the inside, and I felt a big hit on my rear suspension.
“I asked her if she saw me and she said ‘no, she didn’t see me coming’.”
While all of this was happening, a young man named Pastor Maldonado crept to the top of the time sheets on day one just ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
As for McLaren and Honda? Their winter challenges continue with the team saying:
“We had to stop running this morning after discovering a faulty seal on the MGU-K. That faulty part then caused an issue that requires full replacement of the power unit – and the time needed to make those changes effectively ends today’s programme,” Honda managing officer Yasuhisa Arai said.
“We’ll need to run a re-designed component to avoid a potential repeat of the problem. Unfortunately, we won’t be in possession of that updated part until Saturday, which means that we may face the same problem when we run again tomorrow.”
An interesting day nonetheless and you always have to consider anything interesting if Maldonado is leading.
Best / Total Laps
62 / 69
43 / 74
39 / 59
21 / 34
30 / 79
38 / 94
9 / 21
13 / 32
39 / 48
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING
81 / 86
10 / 11