Five things we learnt during the first week of F1 testing in Barcelona

24-02-2020 15:30
by Matt Gretton
Five things we learnt during the first week of F1 testing in Barcelona

We're heading quickly towards the second week of Formula 1 testing. The week which usually sees teams and drivers take it up a notch with developments now they know their new challengers are reliable. All of the data collected will be used in the hope of a positive outcome. The teams have learnt a lot...but what did we learn?

Broadcasting testing is great 

You have to ask...why did this not happen earlier? Broadcasting wall-to-wall footage of F1 testing has been super beneficial for everyone involved in Formula 1. Without the onboard cameras on Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, the new DAS system would have remained a mystery. This created a real buzz between teams, drivers, fans and the media.

Reliability is strong

We very nearly managed to go two full days of testing (16 hours) without a single red flag. To not have a car stop out on track in the opening 15 hours of the season is one amazing feat. Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised given this is the final year of the current regulations which have been in place for some time now. It took Kimi Raikkonen to fail during some fuel measurement correlation tests before a red flag came out. 

What this did do was allow teams to record plenty of laps. Something they all would have wanted given the reduction in test days. 

Racing Point look dangerous 

They've not only got a pink Mercedes, but they've also got a quick car. Why wouldn't you try and copy from the best if there are detailed pictures available? Sergio Perez and his team might have come out with a masterstroke here. While it's probably not a race winner (don't get carried away here, it's only testing!), but they've got a challenger which looks like it'll tackle Renault and McLaren. Not only are they strong, but Perez and Lance Stroll also seem to have a buzz about them. A little bubble of energy suggesting they've got more to come. 

Williams are getting things right

They were so desperate to be first out on track in 2020, they recorded it. It was a proud moment for Claire Williams and the team. A lot of head-scratching, arguments and effort have gone into this car. George Russell managed to beat his own qualifying time from the Spanish Grand Prix at the same venue last season. Things might not be perfect but they've made steps forward. 

Testing is tough on the drivers

As already alluded to above, the number of test days have been cut down from eight to six this season. But teams want to ensure they get the same amount of mileage and data recorded. This has meant longer shifts for drivers. Sometimes, way over 100 laps in four hours. There may have been some sore heads during the weekend, but not because of drinking! 

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