It’s a little known article of the Formula One Sporting Regulations but F1 can’t go to Spain without having an obligatory test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. So after Max Verstappen’s shock win in his Red Bull debut, the teams stuck around for a few more days to do some testing for the first time during this season.
The big controversy of the last week in Formula One was completely overshadowed in less than two hours on Sunday. Red Bull’s driver swap dominated conversation from when it was made official last Friday through to the start of the race on Sunday. After a fourth turn collision between the two Mercedes, suddenly that controversy was put on the back burner and a new Mercedes one rose to the forefront.
The other thing that ended the Red Bull controversy? That would be Max Verstappen taking the opportunity that Red Bull handed him and scoring his first victory in Formula One in his first race for Red Bull Racing.
Four races into the 2016 Formula One World Championship and there is one driver clearly out front of the field. Nico Rosberg has won the first four races of the season and has a near two-race lead over the rest of the field, including teammate Lewis Hamilton. While it’s a great run of form, how much longer will it last? We try to answer that in this weekend’s F1 Power Rankings.
The second of the two-week Formula One pre-season testing program wrapped up last week in Spain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. As the final preparations for the 2016 World Championship continued, teams switched their focus from speed to locking down any reliability concerns they may have. Some teams were very successful. Others were wondering if the best way to save money was to virtually eliminate all running outside of race weekends.
The 2016 challengers for the Formula One World Championship turned their first wheels in anger around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for one of two pre-season tests ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. While the whole picture can be gleaned from testing, we probably did somethings in terms of pace and reliability.
For the first midseason test of the 2015, all the teams, except Manor-Marussia, stayed on after the Spanish Grand Prix for more running at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. While the teams have already run two pre-season tests and a Grand Prix weekend at the track in the last three months, teams are still doing development work.
For all the passion that the Spanish have for motorsports, they really do have a terrible Grand Prix. The Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona has been absolutely dreadful since they put in the Tilke-chicane in the final sector. They can support four MotoGP races but I’d put it down to high ticket prices and terrible racing as to why Spain can seem to barely support one Formula One Grand Prix.
Anyway, there was a race yesterday in Spain. For the first time this season, Nico Rosberg found his way to both the pole and the top step of the podium as he scored his first win of 2015.
After a three-week break, the Formula One circus resumes for the month of May. For the first time this season, the teams will be able to enjoy home cooking just a little bit longer as the European portion of the season begins in Spain.
What will the move to Europe bring? Some new aero upgrades, races starting at a more reasonable time for North American fans and probably more of the same at the head of the field. Until there are some serious changes to the rules formula, we’re going to be waiting a long time to see if Mercedes slips.
With less than two weeks to go before the first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne, the second test at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona was the final chance that the teams got to get ready for the 2015 season.
For some teams, it was more of the same. Mercedes was at the front of the pack while McLaren struggled to get some consistent running in. Other teams found some much-needed form. Williams found some speed in the final test of the pre-season and Force India finally ran their 2015 car with as much mileage in three days as McLaren had in three weeks.
After barely making it to the first test at Jerez after firing up the car for the first time the day before the test started, Lotus showed that the Mercedes engine is a lovely piece of kit. Two of the four days of the Barcelona were topped by Lotus, including the top time of the weekend.
While Lotus thrived, the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams Mercedes and McLaren all struggled for consistency during the first test at a track on the 2015 Formula One calendar. Sure, Mercedes is likely to dominate F1 for the second straight year but everyone looks a little vulnerable in testing.