The Formula 1 cars are back on the track for the final time, finishing off a three-day test in Barcelona that has thrown up plenty of obstacles.
Daniel Ricciardo impressed on the second day with the third-quickest time, finishing behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
There was an early setback for Fernando Alonso after he sent his Alpine into a gravel trap in the third sector, bringing up a red flag.
A loss of pressure was later revealed to be to blame as Alonso’s car was brought back to the garage before driving got back underway.
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It would bring an end to Apline’s test, with a team statement later confirming that further investigations revealed a problem with the hydraulics.
“A minor sealing issue led to a fire in the back of the care,” the statement added.
He was not the only one to run into trouble, with Pierre Gasly coming off the track in the middle sector after hitting a barrier.
It caused a delay with marshals brought onto the track to clear the debris and while action was soon to get underway, it was just as quick to be stopped.
This time around it was Guanyu Zhou who went off in the final sector and the red flags kept coming, with the rookie again the one caught up in the drama.
Having spun out at Turn 10, this time around Zhou went off at the first sector.
The third day of testing will be important as teams begin to realize the potential for new ground effect cars to suffer from porpoising.
While a feature of the F1’s previous ground effect era, porpoising has not been as common recently, with the phenomenon named after the up-and-down movement a porpoise makes.
It is an issue many teams have run into down the straights, with bouncing caused by underfloors of the new ground-effect cars.
Mercedes’ George Russell said after the second day of testing that while he had not experienced it too much, something does need to be done to address the problem.
“It’s not very pleasant at all and from what I’ve seen from other teams in particular it would be a safety concern,” he said.
“That does need to be sorted one way or another. But there’s a lot of intelligent people up and down this grid and I’m sure everybody will get on top of it sooner than later.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, meanwhile, claimed the issue had been “underestimated”.
Earlier on Thursday Ferrari F1 team principal Mattia Binotto said the issue had been “underestimated”.
MORE NEWS: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM TESTING — DAY 2
“I think you could see some quite substantial issues with some of the cars in the straights and the bottoming,” said Russell.
“So this is a compromise we need to find to go quickest around the lap and it’s something I don’t think any of the teams have experienced before.
“We’re seeing some interesting things out there. That’s what testing is for.”
As for which teams have impressed early on in testing, Russell pointed towards Ferrari and McLaren as the ones to beat.
“Some teams are looking pretty fast – a red team and an orange team in particular look very competitive,” he said.
“They seem to have things well under control and are on top of everything.”
In other news, American Formula 1 team Haas will not sport the Russian colors of its title sponsor Uralkali during the last day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Friday in protest at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Haas, whose cars usually sport the blue, white and red colors of the Russian flag, “will present its VF-22 in a plain white livery, without the Uralkali branding, for the third and final day of testing” in Catalonia, the team said in a statement on Thursday.
As for their Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin, he “will drive as planned during the morning session”, said the team, without providing further details regarding “the agreement with the team sponsors”.
Mazepin though has been pulled out of the day’s media opportunity with Haas team boss Gunther Steiner instead set to address reporters.
Uralkali, a group specializing in potash, has the driver’s father, businessman Dmitry Mazepin, as his non-executive director.
Earlier at the pre-season testing session, reigning world champion Max Verstappen and former champion Sebastian Vettel both said it would be wrong for the Russian Grand Prix to go ahead in September.
Four-time world champion Vettel, who drives for Aston Martin, is adamant he will not compete in the September 25 race in Sochi.
“In my personal opinion, I woke up to this morning’s news, shocked,” Vettel said.
“I think it’s horrible to see what is happening. Obviously if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia. For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in the country.” Verstappen of Red Bull said he was also against competing at Sochi. “When a country is at war, it’s not right to run there, that’s for sure,” said the Dutchman.
DAY 3 DRIVING TIMES
8am-12pm (7pm-11pm AEDT)
Red Bull – Max Verstappen
Ferrari – Charles Leclerc
McLaren – Lando Norris
Alpine – Fernando Alonso
AlphaTauri – Pierre Gasly
Aston Martin-Sebastian Vettel
Williams – Nicholas Latifi
Alfa Romeo – Guanyu Zhou
Haas – Nikita Mazepin
1pm-5pm (12am-4am AEDT)
Red Bull – Sergio Perez
Ferrari – Carlos Sainz
McLaren – Daniel Ricciardo
Alpine – Esteban Ocon
AlphaTauri – Yuki Tusonda
Aston Martin – Lance Stroll
Alfa Romeo – Valtteri Bottas
Haas – Mick Schumacher
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