F1Weekly podcast # 673

Clark and Nasir prepare themselves for the start of the 2015 Formula 1 season, they try to understand Fernando Alonso’s trip to 1995. We have Motorsports Mondial with the king and…We bring you the latest news on this weeks GP2 Testing at Yas Marina…

Richie Stanaway quickest at Yas Marina …Status Grand Prix driver sets fastest laptime on Day 3

The final day of the pre-season testing at Yas Marina opened once again in windy conditions. Alexander Rossi was the first driver to feed onto the track, closely followed by teammate Jordan King, but it was Stoffel Vandoorne who was the early pace setter. The proceedings were halted within the first forty minutes after Artem Markelov stopped on track at Turn 7. When the pitlane went green again, some drivers switched to super soft Pirelli tyres and put their visor down. Raffaele Marciello was the first man to dip under 1m50s, but Mitch Evans bettered the Italian’s laptime to break the 1m49s barrier. Vandoorne went even quicker and set a laptime of 1:48.921 just as a second red flag period occurred courtesy of Evans who stopped at Turn 9.
The session restarted and on the one hour mark, Marciello improved again, enough to edge Vandoorne out of the top spot. Evans went back on track and was able to go even faster in a 1:48.850 and took control of the timesheet. At the halfway mark, Richie Stanaway went top with a laptime four tenths quicker and sat pretty at the head of the standings until the chequered flag dropped. Pierre Gasly surged to second in the closing stages ahead of Evans, Marciello, Rossi, Vandoorne, Alex Lynn, Rio Haryanto, Sergey Sirotkin and Arthur Pic.
After a one hour break, the pitlane reopened for the afternoon session and Haryanto was the early pace setter. At the halfway point, Lynn went top, one tenth quicker than the Indonesian driver. The proceedings were halted after Rossi went off track and lightly hit the barrier at Turn 8. The session restarted with one hour remaining but there was another short interruption after Zoel Amberg stopped at Turn 14. The session resumed and Sirotkin found some extra pace to clock in a laptime of 1:49.158 and moved up to P1.
A final red flag stalled proceedings, courtesy of Markelov who stopped on the straight/finish line. At the restart, there were ten minutes left on the clock for a final shoot out and for the drivers to put their last set of super soft tyres to good use, which is exactly what Pic did moving up to P2. A double yellow flag in sector 2 in the dying minutes however ruined any last attempt to shine as Sirotkin stopped at Turn 19.
The Russian thus remained unchallenged until the chequered flag, but thanks to his morning laptime, Stanaway finished the first pre-season test on top. The next test session will take place on April 01-02-03 at Sakhir International Circuit.
[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/03-10-15f1weekly673.mp3]

FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW.

Rob Smedley
On the back of what has been a really good winter test where we met all of our objectives we are heading to Melbourne in a really positive frame of mind. Melbourne is always a really interesting race as there are so many unknowns. There are always a few surprises as the competitive pecking order is established. As it’s a street circuit the grip will develop and improve throughout the weekend. The car starts off with a lot of understeer on the dirty circuit and later in the weekend the rear tyres can become the limitation. In the cooler conditions the front tyre graining can be an issue too so we need to have done our homework on both scenarios for the race. We have been testing at circuits that don’t play fully to the strengths of the FW37 so we are looking forward to the first few races which should suit the FW37s characteristics more.
 
Valtteri Bottas
A new season and the first time we see where everyone is competitively. The weekend will be interesting but also important as we have to be able to have a strong start and make sure we gain the most from the weekend, especially as other teams improve. You never know how other teams will progress throughout the season, so points here are key. I like Melbourne, the first race is really when the gloves come off so qualifying will be an exciting session.
Felipe Massa
Being the first race, Australia is important and normally holds a few surprises. All of the hard work over the winter gets its first rewards here, but it can also show a sign of how much work is still to be done. It’s important to start well and give yourself potentially a head start over your competitors. Australia is a tough track though and the rear stability is important. I also hope that I personally have a better start to the season than last year!