Last Sunday, the RB11 made its track debut, rolling out of our garage at the Circuito de Jerez for its first laps in anger. After four long days, 166 laps, 735 kilometres and a whole lot of effort, that first pre-season test of 2015 is over.
In the wake of the test, Team Principal Christian Horner gives us his assessment of the gains in Spain…
Let’s talk first about the most visibly new aspect of the RB11 – the ‘dazzle’ livery. Are you a fan?
Definitely. The camouflage livery worked very well. It’s quite a striking design and not only did it attempt to disguise some of the shapes and innovations on RB11, it generated quite a bit of interest as well, which is great.
News travels pretty fast in F1. Is it a testament to the guys working on the build that it was all kept under wraps?
Yes, absolutely. There were so many bits of the car going around the factory in its livery and the whole factory did a great job in keeping close ranks and keeping that information from coming out. It was nice to spring a bit of a surprise.
So, we know that the livery will change for the 2015 season, any clues as to what it might look like?
Well, it won’t be camouflage. It will be an evolution for us, which is something we always try to do.
Moving on to the action on track. How would you assess the car’s performance at this first test?
It was a lot more positive than last year. Yes, we had issues but they were not major ones compared to the fundamental problems we had last year, with the car not running cleanly or overheating or simply setting itself on fire! Yes, we had a few niggling issues but this was much more of a standard pre-season test than the one we experienced 12 months ago.
No matter how the design and build process goes there are always going to be a few things to contend with at the first test aren’t there?
Yes, inevitably. RB11 is an evolution of RB10 and the biggest changes are in the power unit. Renault have been working very hard on that but there are always going to be a few things that catch you out.
Test days are long and tough. Do they ever get boring at any stage?
No. You’ve got a very finite amount of running time on the track so you try to optimize as much as you can. The guys have done an incredible job in building, designing and producing this car and then operating it. There’s no time to relax and what with the power unit change they had to do during the week, as well as the other things they had to deal with, they did an incredible job to stay on top of it.
Can you read that much into the times or the mileage done?
It’s very difficult to read too much into it. Kimi Raikkonen was the quickest guy at the first test last year and that didn’t follow through to the rest of the season, so there’s not much point in looking at headline times. We tend to not pay too much attention to what the opposition are doing and we very much just focus on ourselves.
It was Dany’s first run with the team. Good to see him get some laps under his belt?
Yes, it was super. He’s really settled in well. Had an unfortunate little off on his first day in the car and a shortage of parts meant he wasn’t able to get a proper run. But on his second day he managed to rack up a respectable amount of laps and offered very good feedback, consistent with the other Daniel’s and all in all it was very positive.
All eyes on Barcelona now. What are the main aims?
To build in what we learned in Jerez, address some of the issues and continue to develop the car as we move towards Melbourne.
Red Bull Racing