Preview – Barcelona First Test

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The first of two pre-season tests takes place in Barcelona once again. The circuit which will host the Spanish Grand Prix in May has been the proving ground for teams for many years. With this year’s regulation changes, Barcelona will be the ideal location to test this new breed of cars.

Barcelona is a high speed flowing circuit and we should be able to see the difference caused by the move to higher downforce, wider wings and tyres. It is thought and will be interesting to see if we get around five seconds a lap faster, however, this is unlikely because teams look at various strategies during these tests.

In testing, we will naturally try to figure out the running order from track running. However, in the past, this has proved very unreliable as last year proved Ferrari looked in with the chance of challenging Mercedes. But, it was Red Bull who emerged as the closest challenger to the Silver Arrows.

This is partly due to teams having very different run plans and the freedom to do what they want. But, they need to be wary as cars will break down and that will cause red flags. Drivers will be fighting over clean air, but unlike in free practice, there will only be ten cars on track so it will be easier for drivers on track.

Facts and Figures

Venue Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Montmeló, Spain
Circuit Length 4.655 km (2.892 mi)
Lap Record 1:21.670 (Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, 2008)

Last year’s pole lap (May 2016)

Lewis Hamilton launches himself right across turn 16 going to the outside of the track to start the lap. Runs perfectly into the breaking zone before taking a bit of kerb into turn one hits lower part of the kerb in the corner before angling across on the short run to T2.

Takes bit more kerb mid corner before pulling away for the run to turn three. Takes kerb on the run to T3 before pulling across the track going to the outside before turning in to the long T3 runs close to the inside before launching across going through four taking kerb on the exit.

Once again runs to the outside of five before the flat out run through T6 before setting himself up for t7 & T8. Kerb on entry to seven and stays close to the outside before darting across for eight. Runs to the outside before darting again across for nine taking kerb on the exit before the long run to ten.

Heads to the inside on the run to ten turns in close to the corner before taking kerb on the short run to eleven. Then, takes kerb before crossing quickly for the long turn twelve pulls across before hitting the kerb on exit, hits the kerb on entry to thirteen before quickly crossing the track to enter fourteen. Kerb through both fourteen and fifteen, before heading to the outside for sixteen going inside before quick pulling across the track to set him up for the line and a 01:22.000.

What will we learn?

We will see how the teams have interrupted the new radically different aero regulations this season. We may get an indication of how the drivers are coping with the higher downforce these cars are going to produce this season. Teams like us will partially in the next test and in the Bahrain test in April want to iron issues they find in the first tests.

It will be interesting how the teams react to the action, as ever you take all testing with a pinch of salt. This as mentioned above teams have very different run plans and the freedom to do what they want.

Drivers line up

Day One Day Two Day Three Day Four
Ferrari Sebastian Vettel Kimi Raikkonen Sebastian Vettel Kimi Raikkonen
McLaren Fernando Alonso Stoffel Vandoorne Fernando Alonso Stoffell Vandoorne
Williams Felipe Massa Lance Stroll Felipe Massa Lance Stroll
Force India Sergio Perez Esteban Ocon Alfonso Celis Jr Sergio Perez / Esteban Ocon
Toro Rosso Carlos Sainz Jr Daniil Kyvat TBA TBA
Haas Kevin Magnussen Romain Grosjean Kevin Magnussen Romain Grosjean

Data Profile


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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