Formula 1

250 Laps For Honda Power On Day 1 Of Testing

Pre-season testing got off to an encouraging start for Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri despite a sandstorm trying to disrupt the opening day in Bahrain.

250 Laps For Honda Power On Day 1 Of Testing

Running began at 10am local time for a four-hour morning stint, with Max in the Red Bull for the whole day while Pierre carried out AlphaTauri duties in the morning. The Frenchman was quickly down to work and completed 74 laps during a busy opening session as we got to push the 2021 cars in anger for the first time.

While the initial running was focused on gathering aerodynamic data and checking systems, Pierre had the highest mileage in the morning and posted his quickest lap on the C3 compound tyre to end up second overall, 0.028s off top spot.

Max was third in the morning session, 0.042s away from the fastest lap at that stage as he completed 60 laps, and his strong running continued in the afternoon as he raised his total to the highest of the day with 139. But it wasn’t just a reliable day, as Max went fastest overall on the C3 compound tyre in the afternoon session.

That fastest lap came as the floodlights took effect in the latter stages, with the first part of the afternoon session taking place amid a sandstorm, making conditions extremely difficult. Grip levels were low and particularly tricky off-line, but improved as the sun went down and quick laps were posted late on.

Max drove for the full day, but at AlphaTauri both drivers got track time as Yuki took over for the afternoon. The weather made it difficult but Yuki showed impressive skill as he built up his confidence and slotted in just behind Pierre on the timing screens. Although his running was ended slightly early to investigate some fuel system issues, the two AlphaTauri drivers still combined for another encouraging total of 111 laps, as we enjoyed a reliable day to gather plenty of data from a power unit perspective.

Hopefully conditions will improve on Saturday as testing continues, with Sergio making his first appearance in the Red Bull this week, and AlphaTauri again splitting running between both drivers.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
After a brief winter break, we now have a very short three day pre-season test session here in Bahrain. As this will be Honda’s last year in Formula 1, all our staff at Sakura and Milton Keynes were very motivated over the winter, determined to do well and be even more competitive, as is everyone at Red Bull Racing Honda and Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda.

The first day of testing is always eagerly anticipated and this time, with just three days available and also having a new Power Unit for this year, the feeling was even more intense than usual.

Max Verstappen in the Red Bull completed 139 laps, the most of any driver today, while Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri completed 111 laps between them, making a total of 250 Honda laps, so it was a decent day’s work without any major issues on the PU side. Our programme focused on checking all the PU parameters, as well as function checks and optimising PU modes.

Conditions were not ideal for our rookie, Tsunoda, as the sandstorm meant there was little grip and visibility was poor. But he was able to carry on learning about the car, although his session was cut short towards the end, because of a fuel system issue currently being investigated. Hopefully conditions will be better tomorrow and he can do more laps. Over the next two days it will be important to work as efficiently as possible and make the most of all the track time available.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
We had a very positive day and managed a lot of laps even though the track conditions were quite difficult. It was very warm with a lot of wind and we know the degradation is always high around here so I’m very happy with how it went. We aimed for this number of laps and when you can complete a full programme like this the Team can also be pleased with the information we have. We don’t need to talk about pace yet and it isn’t really a discussion until we get to Q3 at the first race weekend - it’s only then you see the real pace in all the cars. The main thing is that the car felt nice to drive, so it’s a positive start.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Everything felt really good with the car this morning, we had a positive start to testing and were able to do a lot of laps – our main goal for today. Running for just three days, it’s important that we make the most of this time on track. We managed to complete our full testing programme for the first day and I felt very comfortable in the car. Of course, there are areas that we need to work on and improve but that’s to be expected on the first day. The conditions today are quite tough to drive in – F1 cars don’t perform well with this level of wind – which isn’t great but it’s good to understand how the car works in these situations, especially as the first race of the season will be at this circuit.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
It was great to experience the new car properly for the afternoon session and to complete my first official Formula 1 pre-season test as a Scuderia AlphaTauri driver. Obviously, at this stage mileage and data collection is key for me – as a rookie I want to gain the most out of the only three-days of testing available and learn a lot ahead of the first race here in Bahrain. It’s been quite a difficult afternoon session unfortunately. The weather has been bad, with the sand and wind making the conditions tricky to drive in, and then the team discovered an issue with the fuel system in my car. This meant that I had to box ahead of the end of the session – they’re investigating it now though and I’ll be ready to head back out on track when the lights turn green for the morning session tomorrow.

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