Winter tests in F1, what does it actually say?

07-03-2021 17:07 | Updated: 07-03-2021 18:02
F1 News
Winter tests in F1, what does it actually say?

Next week the new Formula 1 cars will take to the track for the first time in Bahrain for the traditional winter tests. For the teams, the test is all about trying out new things, but what does it really say about the proportions?

Keeping their cards close to their chest

In general, winter testing rarely reveals the true relationship between the teams. The teams keep their cards close to their chest and so we rarely get to see the true story. Just think of an ironclad Ferrari in 2019 during winter testing that was eventually passed by Mercedes.

Test versus qualifying

Ahead of the winter test in Bahrain, GPBlog took a look at the statistics from the last winter test in Barcelona. We compared the times of the winter test with those of the qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix.

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It is striking that of the ten fastest drivers during the winter test, only three were faster in qualifying. The biggest improvement is made by Lewis Hamilton, who managed to improve more than eight tenths compared to the winter test. Talk about not showing the back of your tongue. Valtteri Bottas - fastest man during the winter test - also showed a small improvement. In that respect Mercedes can be called king sanding of the winter test.

Window dressing

Also noticeable is the enormous deterioration at Renault. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon were on average a second slower during qualifying. Renault probably wanted to do some window dressing in the run-up to the season.

Conclusion, the timesheets of the winter test don't say a lot. Some teams pretend to be better than they really are and other teams like to sandbag the competition. Until the first qualifying session, we will have to wait and see.

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