Romain Grosjean opened up testing for Haas F1 Team on a cold and overcast Monday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The Frenchman ventured onto the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn track at 9:10 a.m. local time and when the day was complete, Grosjean had racked up 55 laps behind the wheel of the Ferrari-powered Haas VF-18 to log 256.025 kilometers (159.086 miles).
Grosjean’s best time was a 1:22.578, earned on his 48th lap with a new set of Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires. The quick time put the seventh-year Formula One pilot 10th among the 13 drivers participating in the first day of testing.
Grosjean began with a series of reconnaissance runs before a 12-lap stint on the White medium tire generated a quick time of 1:23.092. A 13-lap run on Yellow softs was completed prior to the lunch break, with Grosjean recording a best time of 1:23.453 on the slightly softer tire compound. A total of 32 laps were logged in the morning session.
After a four-lap reconnaissance run on White mediums to start the afternoon session, the VF-18 was outfitted with a new set of Yellow softs for a 16-lap stint. It was here where Grosjean secured his fastest lap of the day.
Deteriorating weather conditions as the afternoon wore on cut short any additional running time. Intermittent drizzle turned to light rain, and combined with a temperature hovering at 5.6 degrees Celsius (42 degrees Fahrenheit), no useful information could be gleaned.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo set the day’s quickest time (1:20.179) and ran the most laps (105).
“It’s been a good day. The first day with the car is always super exciting. My first feeling from the car is very positive, so that’s really good knowing today’s conditions haven’t been easy with cold temperatures, a bit of rain and the new tarmac. We’ve managed to get almost 60 laps. We didn’t have any major problems with the car. The main thing for the first day with the car is that the feeling is good.”
Guenther Steiner – Team Principal:
“A strange day. Everything went well in the beginning, but then the track got very inconsistent. We recovered well, though, as we did some laps. For sure, we’d have liked to have done some more, but it’s okay, we are still on plan. Climate conditions were difficult, but they were the same for everyone and the week doesn’t look good from a forecast perspective. We’d have liked it to be a little warmer with a little bit less water, but all-in-all we got some of the test program done. We need to stay positive and keep going with it hoping that the weather gets better.”
Teammate Kevin Magnussen takes over the Haas VF-18 on Tuesday, with Grosjean returning to the car on Wednesday before Magnussen completes the first week of testing on Thursday. After a four-day break, teams return to Barcelona for the second and final round of preseason testing March 6-9. Magnussen drives March 6 and March 8, while Grosjean drives March 7 and March 9