For the second time this season, the teams of Formula One stayed a few extra days after a grand prix for an in-season test. With most of the teams having exhausted their experienced driver test days, most of this test was a Young Drivers’ Test in all but name. However, experience still carried the two days of the test as the fastest times were set by the 2nd and 3rd most experienced men on the grid.
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 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.
We’re still three weeks from the drivers and teams of Formula One arriving in Barcelona for their two weeks pre-season testing but that doesn’t mean that F1 cars aren’t on track. Last week, Pirelli invited Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren to the Paul Ricard Circuit in France and turned on the sprinklers to have the teams test various prototype wet tyre compounds for the 2016 season.
For the second and final time during the 2015 Formula One World Championship season, the teams stayed on late after a race to do a rare midseason test. All teams but Marussia stayed in Austria and shipped in some new components and drivers to get some running done to improve their cars.
Of course, all of the paddock’s efforts to catch Mercedes once again proved to be futile as the Silver Arrows lead both days of the test. Anybody remember Ferrari’s domination to be this boring? I don’t.
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.
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.
Usually the Formula One off-season seems to last forever before the stars of F1’s travelling circus return to the track for pre-season testing. However, if the two-month layoff between Abu Dhabi and Jerez seemed short to you, imagine how short it must have seemed for the teams.
After this first test, the off-season probably seemed far too short for McLaren who barely got any running in over the four days. Lotus was also hoping for a longer break as they missed the first day because they only fired their new Mercedes engine for the first time the day before the test began.
Up front, two of the familiar suspects found themselves frequently near the front of the timesheets with a very unexpected pair of faces in the top two all week.