Formula 1 pre-season testing is over and here is what I can see but as always, I could be way off the mark as I am simply viewing and on the outside looking in.
- One thing I find interesting is that these new cars seem to force the driver to wait and be patient on slow corners. In fact, they look slower in and out of those corners than previous iterations.
- I am curious if the drivers will take as much curb (kerb) as they have previously which could limit the recent rash of driving outside track limits. I was considering a stronger suspension to limit or micro-manage the porpoising effect. So a stiff suspension with a new, stiff, smaller sidewall on the tire might mean more vibration of the chassis on curbs which could lead to more damage. That’s just a guess but it seems like it may mean the cars could be more sensitive to the curbs not to mention the more intricate floor design being damage by tall curbs.
- The balance of the cars seems a challenge as well and they seem less pointy with more understeer. This will not be fun for drivers like Sebastian Vettel who likes a pointy car. As he told me, he does’t like waiting on the front end to grip and turn in. He’s not the only one on the grid who likes it that way.
- I did see a few cars follow each other to harvest data (Lewis and Pierre in particular) and it did seem as if the cars could follow another easier than before but I’ve not seen that data to know for certain.
- What I would say is that I am not sure that any team was elated with their baseline performance but they’ve been working hard to add more performance over the past six days of testing. Some clearly are better than others but it’s very difficult to tell who is the quickest. More this year than in previous.
- I also would say that Ferrari look much improved, Red Bull seems there or thereabouts and Mercedes may very well be holding their cards very close to their chest. McLaren will need to solve their brake issues, as will Williams, and while the Aston Martin looked solid, I am unclear on where their overall pace is. The same is true for Alpine.
All will be answered in one week at the first race of the season in Bahrain.
Testing Result Day 6:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:31.720 53
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:32.415 +0.695s 51
3 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:32.698 +0.978s 122
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:32.759 +1.039s 71
5 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:32.985 +1.265s 68
6 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:33.002 +1.282s 57
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:33.105 +1.385s 43
8 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:33.151 +1.431s 57
9 Lando Norris McLaren 1:33.191 +1.471s 90
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:33.821 +2.101s 81
11 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo 1:33.959 +2.239s 82
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:34.865 +3.145s 91
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:34.905 +3.185s 68
14 Alexander Albon Williams 1:35.171 +3.451s 18
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:35.634 +3.914s 124
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:36.029 +4.309s 53
17 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.217 +4.497s 78
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:38.616 +6.896s 38