Romain completed the first full race simulation for the E21 this afternoon; how did it look from the pit wall?
Overall we’re pleased with today’s progress. During the first two stints our times seemed to be quite close with the other front runners and in the final stint we looked to be slightly faster. Of course, we don’t know exactly what strategies the others have been running and at the end of the day this is just testing, but the initial signs look positive. Next week will give us a better indication, as teams will start to bring their updates for Melbourne which will be slightly more representative of what we see at the first race.
You’ve mentioned updates; are there many new developments in the pipeline for next week?
Tyres are once again a talking point in the paddock; what’s your assessment of this year’s rubber on the evidence gathered to date?
Degradation levels have been quite high this week, but we saw last year that when temperatures are low – as they have been here – there can be quite a lot of graining when the tyres are not within their ideal operating bracket. The work we’ve done with them so far has of course been useful, but we’ll have a better understanding of how they work once we see some warmer temperatures.
Technical gremlins were an unwelcome feature of the first two days here in Barcelona; is that a concern?
It’s not a big concern. We decided to try a couple of new things which unfortunately did not work as we had hoped, but there is still plenty of time to work on them. Having reverted back to our previous specification, Romain has completed the most laps of any driver today so we know that in any case we have a solid backup plan.
From what we’ve seen so far, what’s your view on the team’s prospects for the season ahead?
It’s still very early days, but the feedback we’ve had from both drivers so far has been positive. Despite not being able to complete as many laps as he would have liked, Kimi was happy with the performance of the car and that feeling has been echoed by Romain today. I can’t stand here and say we’re definitely going to be winning races from the start – much as I would like to of course! – but I think we have a good package. The drivers are hungry for wins and it would be no surprise to see us fighting at the front.
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We round off the second of three pre-season tests with the final session of the week here at Barcelona tomorrow; the on-track action kicking off at 09:00 local time tomorrow morning. Stay tuned to our Official Website, Twitter feed, Facebook profile and Google+ page for live session updates and all the latest news from the paddock.