Despite some strong, sand blowing winds at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, it was a very productive test with a total of 5,118 kilometres covered. Driving duties were shared by Romain Dumas (France), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), Nico Hülkenberg (Germany), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Mark Webber (Australia). Now all nine drivers who will be racing the second generation of the 919 in 2015 have had the chance to test it.
Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director, said about the programme: “We have been doing tyre testing with Michelin, worked on set-up and aerodynamics, tried different adjustments for the differential lock and traction control, plus we have evaluated various hybrid strategies. It is extremely important to complete such a good mileage to discover and solve any teething problems in all areas. We encountered no problems that would cause us a headache. The strong, sand blowing winds were a disturbing factor and made it difficult to draw clear conclusions from the set-up work. Because at night the conditions were a bit more consistent, we changed our operating hours and once we even drove until two o’clock in the morning. It was the first time we had been on a race track where we had data from last year’s car for comparisons, so this was helpful. The results are encouraging, but not meaningful enough yet. Another positive thing is that the five drivers testing in Bahrain agreed with the four from the Abu Dhabi test that the driveability of the 2015 car is better than last year. This was one of our development targets.”
Team Principal Andreas Seidl said: “Most importantly the test has proven we’re working in the right direction. It is good that all the drivers got to know the 2015 car and, of course, we’re especially happy to have Mark Webber back in his usual great shape after his heavy shunt at the season’s finale in December. Alongside the technical aspects, we have also been using this test to become familiar with the new mechanics and engineers who we have taken on board due to the entry of the third car in Spa and Le Mans.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, summarised: “As at the first test in Abu Dhabi, we have once again realised what a difference it makes to have the experience of one season under our belts. Both the car and the crew are strong enough to deal with the challenge of managing a third 919 in Spa and Le Mans. The next step is now the homologation at the end of February. Then we will also make our final decision which megajoule class will be the most efficient for us in the 2015 season.”