Formula One awakes from its sober winter silence for the first pre-season test in Barcelona. The Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya has become the regular proving ground for new cars and the circuit has all the right elements to prove the new cars.
The circuit was built during construction work for the 1992 Olympic and Paralympic Games, holding the start and finish line for the road team time trial cycling event.
The circuit has a mixture of high-speed corners and long straights, this plays to the straights of Mercedes and this year’s Ferrari’s. Mercedes have won three out of the last four races. But in testing last season, it proved very favourable to Ferrari and that proved to last all season.
This test gives the teams the first chance to understand the new cars, with the gap expected once again close this year how far have Ferrari and Red Bull closed up on Mercedes. But also eyes will be on McLaren as we should get some answers to the teams claims that they could be near the front with another engine.
Last year, Ferrari stole the headlines on single lap pace, however, Mercedes proved that one lap pace was not important it was reliability. Mercedes impressed with the team almost competing half a season’s worth of Grand Prix distance across the eight days.
Also, some could say that this was the beginning of the end of McLaren – Honda, as the team struggled for reliability and power. How will the team far with Renault power, and do the claims of being near the front on car performance add up?
Facts and figures
|Race||2018 Formula One First Barcelona Pre Season Test|
|Venue||Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, Montmeló, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain|
|Circuit Length||4.655 km (2.892 mi)|
|Lap record||01:21.670 (Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, 2008)|
What we will be looking for
This test will be about the teams trying to understand their new cars and get the mileage from the new cars. As Mercedes proved last year, its more about mileage as we have seen last season, Ferrari stole the headlines in testing. But, as it got to the latter part of the season that reliability work paid off for Mercedes as we saw Ferrari run into problems.
Eyes will be on McLaren and Toro Rosso, firstly do these claims that McLaren has made about their car being up there with Red Bull in terms of performance add up. Can Honda deliver a much stronger engine for Toro Rosso? This is one of the most interesting stories we will be talking about over the next month.
Sauber can they be in the midfield, following the partnership with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo? The team have the finances so can they deliver on track gains at this early stage in the season. However, we must always be a bit cautious with testing, as we don’t know car set ups, its not like FP2 where we know when teams do their long runs or Q3 when we know cars are at the limit.
2016 vs 2017 Race Data
|P1 Fastest||P2 Fastest||P3 Fastest||Q1 Fastest||Q2 Fastest||Q3 Fastest||Race Time||Fastest Lap|
Data from the Spanish Grand Prix
A lap of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya
Lewis Hamilton comes out of the final corner and goes to the outside, gets up to 323kph before break at the 100m board for turn one. he crosses the track driving through the centre of the corner before running to the outside at turn two. Runs to the inside before hugging the apex and then running to the outside, he stays there.
He breaks on exit before opening the car through the exit and heads down the hill, then across the track before breaking for five. Through the centre, before running along the kerb and keeps momentum through six. Breaks as he enters seven, before running through the corner building speed. He keeps that speed for nine when he runs to the outside.
He builds speed as he enters the tricky slow final sector, breaking a 100m before turn ten. Goes through the centre of the corner, then runs to the inside takes bit of kerb. He then launches himself into eleven before running around the apex of twelve. Runs to the outside breaks before turn thirteen down into fourteen. Hits kerbs at fourteen and fifteen, heads along the outside kerb. before going to the apex of sixteen, runs to the outside, stays there and across the line with 01:19.149.