I posted this in the wrong thread so I have reposted it here upon request. I do apologise for the error!
I know it’s a little late now the season has started, but I wanted to post an article which I wrote for my blog which summarized the testing sessions at Barcelona. The reasons for the lateness are many, and I know that some of the information is outdated, but I wanted to share the information with you anyway…
If you want to read the original post, please click this link
. I hope you enjoy it...
So that’s it then. Pre Season Testing is over. All the miles have been run. All the cars have been shook down, all the new bits tested and all the qualifying and race simulations have been run. But what have we learnt? Are we any wiser about who will be quick or slow this year?
First, let’s look at the timed laps for each driver on each day:
It is interesting here that the average amount of laps run for each day did not change much (even on Day 3, when the weather interrupted proceedings) for the duration of the Barcelona test. The different teams ran very different programs too, all with different aims and achievements.
What about the fastest laps? Here is a list of the best lap times for each driver on each day:
Note that day three is higher for some because that was the day that wet weather affected the testing runs. It seems that the test days were run as low fuel/qualifying simulations in the morning and long run/race simulations in the afternoon. Therefore all of the fastest times were set in the morning.
Putting the two graphs together (but using an average of each driver’s timed laps run this time), we get:
It does seem that most of the teams are really close – on qualifying trim you can split most of the field by less than a second – which is much closer than last year’s grids were. If this pace continues in Bahrain then qualifying will be super tight and those that make it through will be judged on the smallest of margins.
What about Driver Consistency? Let’s have a look at all four days: Note: I have removed a couple of laps from Schumi’s times on Day four and Hülkenberg’s on Day two as they are clearly not competitive laps. I have also included a chart removing day three, as I think that the rain has skewed the data with the slower lap times…
A good place to be on this graph is to have as low an average time as possible and also the smallest standard deviation possible. This is also important for the long runs this year, more so than outright pace as the car will change drastically during the race due to no refuelling. The cars will start heavy and finish light, with the driver having to manage his tyres as well. So a consistent car is much more valuable than an outright quick car this year.
If we check out some other info on testing mileage, we may have some further clues. It appears that Mercedes covered the most distance in Barcelona, but the Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull were not far behind at all (about 2000km). Williams and Sauber ran slightly less, most of the other teams ran about 1400km in testing over the four days, but Virgin only managed 760km.Conclusions
So who’s going to be the best car this year? Sadly, I don’t think we have any definitive answers, but I think we could have a four-way fight between McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes this year. It is certainly different to last year when Brawn were clearly faster than the others. Williams and Sauber look to have decent cars this year, and even Force India and Toro Rosso look like they could get in the mix The only teams with serious concerns should be the new teams (Lotus and Virgin) and Renault – who look to be seriously off the pace.
If it comes down to reliability I would suggest that Red Bull and Ferrari may have something to worry about – as they seem to have had the most mechanical gremlins during the Barcelona test. Williams seemed to have a few problems with its Cosworth engine, which is unsurprising considering it is a new unit. The new teams look to have serious troubles with reliability this year – especially Virgin, who could not complete a Grand Prix distance in any of the four days (when pretty much everyone else did).
Qualifying will be very important this year as overtaking has proven to be difficult. Most of the field appears to be very close this year, which should make for some exciting battles in qualifying this year.
In a way, it is very pleasing to see these results, because it hopefully means that we will not have a championship dominated by one car or driver and that should contribute to a good season, so long as we don’t suffer from a lack of refuelling. This will be the big unknown this season and it will be very interesting to see how the teams cope, react and strategize for it. We could see some very nice surprises this year, as outright speed may not be as valuable as consistent pace and smooth driving.
So there it is. I hope you enjoyed it and did not find it too out of date - I think it is interesting how Christian Horner from Red Bull stated that until qualifying today that Red Bull had never done a proper low fuel run.
Now we have Vettel on pole, but will outright speed be enough to win it tomorrow? I guess we'll have to find out whether it will or if the consistent teams get the job done