MONTMELO, Spain – Spain’s Fernando Alonso said on Thursday after the final day of the first week of Formula One preseason testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that he was pleased with what his McLaren team was able to accomplish.
“I’m very happy about what was an impressive day for the entire team in the garage and in the factory to get that number of laps between (Belgian driver) Stoffel (Vandoorne) and me,” Alonso said.
“The car handled perfectly all day. We had some interesting test runs with some changes in configuration, and we’re still finding out more all the time about the new package, especially with the integration of the Renault engine, which we weren’t previously familiar with,” he added.
“It was a very productive day for all of us, and I want to say that everyone made a big effort to get through a very complete and comprehensive schedule of tests,” the two-time F1 champion said a day after snow halted Day Three of testing.
On Thursday, the McLaren team far exceeded last year’s performance in terms of laps, with Vandoorne completing 110 laps and posting the second-fastest time of the day at 1:19.854.
By contrast, over eight days of pre-season testing in 2017, also in Barcelona, the team managed a maximum of 80 laps a day.
Alonso got behind the steering wheel on Thursday afternoon, completing 51 laps and posting a best time of 1:20.929, 1.596 seconds behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, the 2017 drivers’ champion, and fifth-best overall.
Teams will have four more days of pre-season testing from March 6-9, also at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, just outside Barcelona.
The 2018 F1 season kicks off on March 25 at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.