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Featured F1: First Pre-Season Test Round Up

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Jack Hunsley, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Jack Hunsley

    Jack Hunsley
    Staff Premium

    2016 testing ferrari.png With the first of 2016's Pre-Season Test sessions now under our collective belts, RaceDepartment takes a look at a few things we learned, and didn't learn, over the course of the first four days of F1 action this year.

    Mercedes look pretty much bulletproof
    2016 Testing.png

    It feels an awful long time since reliability hasn't dominated the F1 news since the adoption of the now not-so-new V6 Turbo engines, but reliability for all teams across the board in Barcelona has been fairly impressive. Even newcomers Haas, minus a front wing failure on the opening day, have been able to run with few problems. But one team, as per usual by now, certainly stole the show.

    Put aside the fact that Mercedes' car once again looks formidably fast, it seems the reigning world champions have unlocked the secrets to seemingly nigh on bulletproof reliability.

    To put things into perspective, the Brackley outfit managed to put over 100 laps on the board on all four days, and even had to split driving duties on a morning and afternoon basis between Hamilton and Rosberg due to fears that they wouldn't 'be fresh' come Melbourne. As a final 'embarrassment' to the rest of the field, Mercedes managed to complete 800km of testing on the final day alone, or, in other words, they covered more distance in a single day then they would complete over an entire Grand Prix weekend.

    Of course at this time the lap times themselves mean little. But reliability wise, Mercedes are definitely leading the way, and they have assured the outside world that not only is their car incredibly reliable, but it remains astonishingly quick too.

    Haas and Manor - The two dark horses for 2016
    2016 Testing Manor.png

    In many ways both Haas and Manor can be seen as direct rivals for the new season. After all, even after having competed in F1 in the best part of half a decade in different guises, with the introduction of their first completely new car since the start of the V6 Turbo era it wouldn't be too extreme to see Manor also as a brand new F1 team.

    With that in mind, both Haas and Manor have been surprisingly competent over the first four days of testing.

    First things first, both teams have proven to be pretty damn reliable, if we put aside Rio Haryanto's misdemeanors behind the wheel of the Manor. Whilst neither team managed to get near the mileage of the bigger outfits, for two new teams to have comfortably over 100 laps for each of their drivers, especially in an era almost defined by unreliability, is a great achievement. If we add to that, that Haas was able to complete a full race simulation on day four, the ominous 2014 pre-season test and the shambles that was the 2015 Australian Grand Prix seems an awfully long time ago.

    2016 Testing Haas.png

    However, there are still things to do and problems to solve. Haas has already admitted that they have several things to fix on their car, namely how to keep their front wing from disintegrating at high speed, whilst Haryanto will need to find his rhythm quickly if he is to stack up favorably to the Mercedes backed Wehrlein. But with arguably the two strongest lineups two new teams have entered F1 with in a long time, the future seems bright for Haas and Manor.

    A McLaren revival or same old, same old?
    2016 testing Mcalren.png

    One of the biggest questions on every F1 fans lips prior to this was whether McLaren would be, frankly put, just as completely useless as they had been throughout 2015. Having endured their worst season since 1980, and, as a result, simply wiped off 2015 as a 'learning year', there can be absolutely no excuses for either McLaren, or Honda for that matter, not to get it right in 2016.

    Early signs seemed good for the former world champs with both drivers enjoying relatively good mileage on the opening days of the test, prompting Alonso to reveal that McLaren are aiming to have the best chassis in F1 by the start of the European season. However, the old gremlins seemed to wiggle their way back into the team with Alonso's running on the final day to just three installation laps thanks to a coolant leak in a tricky-to-reach area which prevented him from venturing out for the rest of the day.

    Regardless of Alonso's insistence that McLaren are the only team who can beat Mercedes in the foreseeable future, one does have to wonder where McLaren will stack up this year. After all, they don't have the convenience of two 2014-spec cars occupying the last row of the grid to save their embarrassment this time around.

    How do you see the 2016 season shaping up? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2016
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  2. DesKane

    dksRacing Kaney Premium

    Always look forward to the GP Season and for the last few years at least get very little out of it, I want so much more than what we are getting, far too many rules, silly rules………. don't get me wrong I love a bit of politics and game playing it's par for the course but let them race, at least bring back the sound of F1 ……………….. maybe a full grid of Matra V12s or the V12 from a Ferrari 412 might do it ;).
    Sounds stupid? can't more stupid then Bernie proposing that the pole sitter starts from mid pack just to spice it up a bit :confused:

    Forever hopeful !!

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    Testing is always a bit of an unknown and the pace of the Haas car is good although we'll have to wait until Australia to see what the real speed of the car is. The general running order seems to be the same though, Mercedes, Ferrari, then Williams.

    The reliability of the McLaren is a genuine surprise although the pace is not good but at least they can now get laps done and start sorting the problems.

    The Mercedes didn't do any banzai laps whereas Ferrari and a few others decided to try on the Ultra Soft which created an enormous gap to the medium compound runners (about two seconds). The difference in the tyre performance created a slightly topsy turvy timing sheet.

    The performance gap between the compounds may be the saving grace for this season. If you have a team that is willing to take the risk and run a softer compound than those around them and at a critical point during the race you could make massive time gains. We had that in the first year of Pirelli tyres and it made for great racing.
  4. Omer Said

    Omer Said
    Weresloth Staff

    I think Force India might surprise with their pace this season. Their testing results were really solid. Mercedes engine is another positive in this case.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. kedy89


    eargasm! :D
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Looking at the testing times vs fuel loads and tires used, I believe Mercedes is still ahead...not by much but still a bit.
    They were able to refine a few things... S-duct, air intake plenum etc...but the car was already so darn good, they did not need to change a whole lot.
    Ferrari made a few steps forward...clearly.
    They were able to 'copy' a few of the techniques Mercedes implemented...galley/split turbo compressor, shortened turbo outlet to intercooler runners, etc...
    Force India have made some refinements and seem to have picked up quite a bit of pace.
    Hopefully some good results will follow.
    Sauber needs some investors to get themselves moving....2015 car at start of test while everybody else is in a 2016 car (including Manor) is not a good start.
    Haas looks like another outfit who will get some results and be a 'solid' mid-field runner.
    I'm impressed with their reliability as a new team.
    To be so close to the current mid-pack with a brand new car out-of-the-box is a massive achievement.
    Manor took a really big step forward compared to where they were with the car... but really screwed up with driver #2.
    A few years of testing/reserve would have been a better start for Haryanto...not being dropped into the 'fire'. This truly is 'baptism by fire'.
    He may bring some money but it doesn't compare to what's at stake to be lost, with lack of showing via result to spotlight the car and bring additional sponsorship.
    Williams is Williams.
    Hopefully they've sorted the rear end grip issue. I doubt it though based on what I saw of the running.
    McLaren ...seem to be a very tiny bit more reliable but not by much...which is surprising.
    Honda has had two years and two full off-seasons to get that engine sorted out.
    I expect better from a company with that many resources.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  7. [​IMG]


    • Beer Beer x 4
  8. I have high expections for Force India. They finished the 2015 with good momentum still learning what the VJ08B can deliver. The VJ09 is an evolution of the previous car which seems to be on the right direction. I expect them fighting against Williams and probably Redbull for 3rd place on the championship.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. I always get hyped with the pre-season, but then I fall asleep with the Australian Grand Prix.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Today 13:00
  11. Hope there'll be less boring races this season. Hope cars will race closer.
  12. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    Risberg on softs is two tenths slower than Vettel on ultra softs

    I hope at least the midfield is tight.
  13. I think that's not the limit for Merc, maybe also Ferrari, because the fastest lap of Nico in this pre-season testing so far is two tenths slower than the fastest lap of him in 2015 pre-season testing, and the W07 is supposed to be faster than the W06.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016