The two annual preseason Formula One tests recently concluded and the results were astonishing. Let’s have a look at how each team fared in 8 intense days of testing at the Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya.
Mercedes AMG F1
Defending World Champions Mercedes seem to have got the new regulations absolutely right with the W08 topping 3 out of 8 days of testing in the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas. The new car looks to be a piece of technical genius as the car is both fast and reliable.
Finn Valterri Bottas set the overall fastest lap, a 1.19.310 on Day 2 of the second test which was to be beaten the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in the following days.
Mercedes have been very strong in terms of reliability with their car running over 1,000 laps over the course of the 2 Tests. The German team looks to be a definite contender for the World Championship this season.
After looking at the performance of the new SF70H, it is safe to say that Ferrari is back in business. The Scuderia’s hardwork on the new car looks to have paid off with either Raikkonen or Vettel leading the timesheets in 4 of the 8 days of testing.
The SF70H looks to be right on pace with Vettel setting the fastest lap of testing on Day 3 of the second test, a 1.19.024 only to beaten by Kimi Raikkonen the following day who lapped a whopping 1.18.634. That’s a stunning 3.4 seconds faster than last year’s pole position lap at Catalunya!
Reliability doesn’t look to be an issue for Ferrari as the SF70H smashed the 950 lap barrier over the course of both the tests. Back in Italy, the Tifosi will surely have a big smile on their face and from the looks of it, that smile will not fade over the course of the season. This year, we can expect a titanic battle for the World Championship between Ferrari and Mercedes.
Red Bull Racing
4-time World Champions Red Bull Racing have been fairly quiet about the development of their new car, the RB13 with the lap timings not giving a clear indication of where they stand in terms of pace.
The RB13 experienced some reliability issues in the 1st Test but Red Bull looked to have solved them with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen completing a respectable 684 laps over 8 days of testing.
As far as pace is concerned, Red Bull looked good but not in the league of Mercedes and Ferrari. I believe that Red Bull will be fighting for 3rd place in the Constructors’ World Championship.
Sahara Force India
Force India, just like Red Bull have been very quiet about the development of the car and the timings do not speak anything for the Silverstone based team.
The VJM10 completed a strong 785 laps with Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and third driver Alfonso Celis Jr at the helm. Force India didn’t experience any major issues which was a good sign as their expected rivals Renault did have some issues in the beginning.
The fastest laps set by both Ocon and Perez were around the 1 minute 20 second mark but then again these tests hardly reveal the true pace of most cars. I expect Force India to be fighting for 5th place in the Constructors’ World Championship with Renault but since the real pace of the car is still unknown, they could be locked in a battle with Williams for 4th place once again.
Williams Martini Racing
Williams had a pretty bittersweet test as Felipe Massa returned to his old form on the first 2 days of the 2nd Test as the Brazilian topped the charts on Day 1 and finished runner up the following day. On the other hand, Lance Stroll crashed thrice in the 1st Test which left Williams short of parts and thus they had to miss Day 4 of the 1st test. Thanks to this, they haven’t had the opportunity to gather data of the FW40 running in wet conditions.
The FW40 proved to be very reliable with Massa and Stroll completing 800 laps although Stroll crashed out a few times. This was due to his inexperience and not due to the technical errors of the car.
Williams were also very fast with Massa finishing 5th fastest overall. I expect the Grove squad to fight for 3rd place in the Constructors’ World Championship with Red Bull but I may be proven wrong. Fans can expect Williams fighting for podium finishes once again and hopefully Felipe Massa will have one strong season which will make him consider to continue and not retire.
Nothing can describe McLaren’s preseason testing better than the following few words : ‘Oh Dear, It’s Happened Again…’ McLaren Honda were the only team that suffered reliability issues on every single day of testing which is absolutely disastrous for such a big team.
A major reason for their poor reliability is their power unit. The Honda power unit failed almost everyday of testing and McLaren used 6 engines in the first 5 days of testing. Their pace was absolutely unidentified thanks to the MCL32 stalling consistently on track.
McLaren completed an unimpressive 425 laps with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne in the driver’s seat. Honda are developing a revised engine for Australia and with a special place in my heart for McLaren, I hope that the engine is both powerful and reliable which will help them to be competitive. As of now, I do not expect anything but wish good for them.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso finally changed their livery this season but the results have not been too positive for Red Bull’s sister team.
Toro Rosso suffered some issues with the car in the first test and could not get a lot of mileage under their belt. Overall, Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat completed 584 laps driving the STR12.
The car looked fast with Carlos Sainz Jr finishing 7th overall but as previously mentioned, these tests do not reveal the true pace of most cars. I expect Toro Rosso to battle for the title of being the ‘Top Midfield Team’ against Renault, Haas, Force India and Williams.
Haas have made steady progress ever since they debuted in Australia last season and their new car looks pretty good in terms of their livery.
Apart from the visual, the car proved to be quite reliable in the first test but the team experienced minor issues in the second test. Over the course of both the tests, Haas completed a strong 715 laps in total.
In terms of pace, the car looked okay with Magnussen and Grosjean finishing 15th and 16th respectively with their fastest times around the 1 minute 20-21 second mark. I expect the American team to compete in the midfield and possibly even beat their rivals.
Renault’s new R.S.17 experienced mixed results in preseason testing with Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer at the reigns.
The new car seems reasonable in terms of speed with Nico Hulkenberg clocking in a fastest time of 1.19.837 which put him 8th on the overall standings. Palmer on the other hand finished 13th overall with a time of 1.20.205.
Renault did face some minor reliability issues which let them complete less laps but nothing was as severe as to what McLaren are undergoing. The French team completed only 597 laps throughout all 8 days. I feel that Renault will achieve their goal of being the 5th fastest team this season but to do so they will have to improve their reliability.
Sauber were the 1st team to unveil their 2017 car and the pre-season test gave the Swiss team mixed results about the all new C36.
Antonio Gioviniazzi replaced an injured Pascal Wehrlien for the 1st test but the Italian finished a lowly 21st in the overall standings. In the second test Wehrlien himself didn’t fare so well, finishing 20th in the overall standings, just below his full time teammate, Marcus Ericsson.
The C36 proved to be reliable enough with the drivers running a total of 788 laps throughout the 8 days of testing.
From the looks of it, pace is an issue for Sauber which will hopefully be solved by the time the Formula One carnival reaches Melbourne. From what the test has shown us, I expect Sauber to be either noncompetitive or in the lower midfield this season.
Which Team do you think WIll BE BOth, The fastest And the most Reliable? WIll mclaren solve all their problems? Will ferrari win races this season? Will Force india maintain their strong position in the world CHampionship?
to find out, watch the 2017 formula one season!