Pastor Maldonado set the fastest lap on Thursday, and after a day away from the E23, returned to top the times at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a best lap of 1min 24.348secs.
With no Spanish sun to soak up, the Venezuelan was kept busy in a programme that included tyre, aero and performance simulations.
Part of the programme included the fitting and removal of aero evaluation equipment, resembling a head-turning big rake, which enabled Pastor to gather valuable data for the team in the early stages of the morning.
With the ‘rake’ removed, the E23 driver flew up the timing screens into third place thanks to his 1min 28.275secs lap.
Early pace demonstrated, the Venezuelan set into a rhythm and managed to complete 43 laps before rain fell as the lunch break approached.
Fully refreshed, he took little time to improve on his benchmark and within half an hour of running moved into second as he improved to 1min 26.208secs.
Just ten minutes later, Pastor’s pace saw him move clear at the top, setting the best time of the day before extending his running all the way to the final total of 104 laps.
“We achieved a lot today and it was great to complete so many laps and end the day as the fastest car,” said Pastor. “Certainly, I feel much more confident in the E23 and we’re learning a lot about it with all the laps we’re completing. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re making very good progress so we’re all very positive about the work being done.”
The fastest man on the track wasn’t the only one pleased with the Barcelona running, with Trackside Operations Director Alain Permane pleased with the day’s work.
“It was a productive day for us today,” he said. “We chose to stay in the garage when it was damp outside yet we still managed to complete over a hundred laps. We’ve worked through a long checklist including aero and tyre assessments in the morning, then various performance assessments in the afternoons. Our aero work has been particularly productive and we’re showing good correlation with our wind tunnel and simulations.”
With Romain Grosjean set for E23 duties tomorrow, the team has a good basis to end the week’s programme in the final day of the test.