A week ago we made a preview telling what to expect from pre-season testing. Now, with one complete week done, we can know how is everyone doing or, at least, describe our point of view, which probably will change after the next week of testing.
We’re preparing for the season that will start the latest among the recent years. As usual, Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit is the chosen venue for that short pre-season testing on which teams and drivers must let everything set for the beginning of the season.
After four days of testing in multiple conditions (cold, heat, rain, wind…) our special correspondent at the circuit, Arnau Vinyals, can already give us the first conlussions.
Displaying Strength: Mercedes and Ferrari
The first sensation we took from the first day of testing was that “everything remained the same” when we saw how Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were the fastest. Three-time world champion and candidate to this year’s title exhibited a great time and race pace. The same can be said about the new driver of the Silver Arrows, Valtteri Bottas, who took the best time of the week with a 1:19.705 (ultrasoft tyres) but also suffered the only problems that the W08 had.
Right behind, or even at the same level, are the Ferraris. The Italian team arrived to Barcelona with an aerodinamically bold car and an improve engine that makes them have high hopes. With Kimi Raikkonen being fastest on 2 of the 4 days, Ferrari can also say that they didn’t suffer any problem during the week and that they set the 2nd and 3rd best times of the week without using any set of supersoft or ultrasoft tyres. Clearly a team to have in mind.
On the wait: Red Bull
What about Red Bull? It’s clear that they will also be with Mercedes and Ferrari fighting for the wins but they haven’t shown it yet. In a week with problems, not serious, but problems; the team didn’t achieve its laps per day goals until Wednesday so we could state that they have been running to get reliability rather than pace. Red Bull are ready to improve during the next week and show off their competitiveness and speed.
Surprise: Haas and Renault
Apart from Ferrari, Haas, their sort of “brother” team, has been the only team who have run problem-free during the entire week. North-American team started with good sensations with their new driver Kevin Magnussen, but when Romain Grosjean took the wheel it was confirmed that the car is reliable and competitive. The team has good drivers and technical team so they seem able to finish in the points constantly. But things can still change, of course.
Disappointment: Williams, Force India and McLaren
What’s wrong with British teams? Where are they? Let’s analise it deeply:
Force India has had serious grip issues, car doesn’t seem as competitive as the team expected and thay had run few laps. Now it’s difficult to know where they actually are, but what’s certain is that they need more laps to be completely ready for Australia.
McLaren is always under pressure but, are they actually that bad? If we look at it properly, they have a car that could be on the middle of the grid but several problems and few laps, added to big pressure coming from the media make it seem that they are living another 2015, which is absolutely not true.
On the other hand there’s Williams. They had a promising beginning with Felipe Massa in the car, who did 103 laps and finished third on the standings. Everything seemed to be under control until rookie Lance Stroll took the car. He had two accident caused by driving mistakes that delayed Williams’ job. The team only run 12 laps on Tuesday and none on Thursday. There’s still a lot to do during the next week for Claire Williams’ team.
Provisionally last: Toro Rosso and Sauber
The radical new design and livery seems to be the only good thing in Toro Rosso’s pre-season so far. New Renault power unit is giving a lot of reliability problems, which left the team with only 183 laps on the bag, being the team with less laps.
The opposite could be said about Sauber, who suffered small problems but have shown that they have a reliable car despite using a 2016 engine. Car doesn’t seem to be really competitive yet, but we have to wait to see what can DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein do.
Final conclussion: Let’s wait for the final week of testing, which you could follow live at Formularapida.net