Due to the wintry weather conditions in Barcelona today, Team McLaren Mercedes decided to cancel today’s running, following four days on track with the MP4-21, the team’s 2006 Formula One car. Kimi Raikkonen was scheduled to be driving the car for the second day today but he will only return to testing duties on Tuesday and Wednesday next week in Valencia.
When the track opened at 09:00, the temperature was just above freezing and the overnight rain and snow meant the track was wet. The sand traps were also frozen. The weather progressively got worse during the morning, with more light snow falling and sleet on the ground.
The MP4-21, which is running in an interim orange livery, first hit the track on Monday of this week when Pedro de la Rosa was at the wheel for the initial shakedown at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Pedro began the programme of mandatory systems checks for the new car, focusing on one lap runs and he was able to cover 90 km during the day.
Juan Pablo Montoya took over for the following two days, All week the cold weather conditions meant that the action did not start until mid-morning, however with the car running well Juan Pablo covered 410km and 380km on the two days respectively.
Thursday saw Kimi’s first run in the Team McLaren Mercedes 2006 challenger, the bad weather continued and limited running in the morning until the track warmed up and dried out. The Finn was able to complete over 300km in the MP4-21, however had to spend some time in the garage following an oil leak in the gearbox during the afternoon. The test team fixed the leak and Kimi returned to the track.
At the end of the five day session, the MP4-21 and its new Mercedes-Benz V8 engine completed over 1185km, with a focus on achieving good mileage.
Alongside the MP4-21 programme, Pedro and fellow Team McLaren Mercedes test driver Gary Paffett continued additional development programmes with the interim MP4-20.
Gary had driving duties for three days from Monday, completing over 1000km with work focused on Michelin tyre development. The only incident during the test for Gary was on Tuesday, when he had an off due to the low grip nature of the cold track. Gary was uninjured, however his car had sustained significant damage, which the test team worked hard during the afternoon to repair and he was back out on track for the final 15 minutes of the session.
Following his shakedown with MP4-21 on Monday, Pedro switched back to the MP4-20 on Thursday continuing the Michelin programme. Having completed 220km on Thursday, his car underwent an engine change as the V10 had reached the end of its lifespan.
Team McLaren Mercedes will continue testing next week in Valencia, starting on 31st January with Kimi and Gary driving on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Juan Pablo and Pedro on Thursday and Friday.
Team McLaren Mercedes