Sand Castles and Rain Storms in Bahrain

April 2, 2019
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Sandstorms are to be expected when you’re running an F1 car in the desert, but you don’t usually expect rain storms!

Today’s post-race test in Bahrain saw numerous rain showers across the day reducing our track time. Given that Bahrain usually receives about 10mm of rain for the entire month of April, we got more than our fair share today. Add some sandstorms into the mix, covering the track with a sprinkling of golden dust last night, and track conditions this morning were far from ideal.

However, track time is precious and we pushed on through with a heavy aero programme. Rakes and other instrumentation were fitted to the RP19 as Lance Stroll got straight down to business when the track opened this morning. The focus was on collecting data and carrying out the experiments requested by our aerodynamics department. When a car is so new, it’s all about building up a picture of its current performance and exploring new avenues. In that sense, this morning’s aero runs will prove extremely valuable.

Staying out to test after a Grand Prix is actually the most efficient way of doing things and saves the hassle and costs of relocating elsewhere. Plus, with all the race data already in the bag, it’s easy to make some direct comparisons with test items to judge performance gains. Using the same track means there is one less variable to worry about in the grand scheme of things.

Testing after a race means more time on the road for the mechanics and engineers, but it’s all part of the development race and we want to keep pushing. We are only operating one car for this test so the workload is split between a day and a night shift – similar to the way we operate the winter tests. Some of the crew will fly straight to China from here, while others will get the chance to head home for the weekend before they make their way to Shanghai.

The wet weather confined all the teams to the garage. Over the day Lance covered 33 laps, which was considerably less than we had planned. It means we didn’t complete the performance and tyre work that was on the job list, so we’ve revised the driving plan tomorrow to make up for the miles Lance couldn’t cover today. Lance will be back in the RP19 first thing on Wednesday before Sergio takes over for the afternoon.