Testing recap

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on track during day three of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 23, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202402230723 // Usage for editorial use only //

The 2024 testing sessions, like years before them, are difficult to learn much from a competitive standpoint to the casual eye. All teams are running different programs, different tires, fuel weight, aerodynamic setup and much more.

The sessions are really an allotted time for teams to learn just how their CFD and wind tunnel data correlates to actual running on track and they do a tremendous amount data harvesting, calculations, suspension changes, tire changes and just about every other facet on their car to try an understand how compliant the cars are to changes and potential future development.

Having said that, testing actually can reveal quite a bit to seasoned professionals in each team. They done this long enough to know what they are looking at with their own car as well as other teams.

If a car wiggles a bit under throttle application, other teams know what it takes to solve a problem like that. If it isn’t that sharp and decisive on corner turn-in, they know what it takes to fix those issues and if the car they are observing through three days isn’t resolving those issues, there could be a larger issue.

Regardless, there are earmarks that teams and F1 journalists look for to find comparison such as Jonathan Noble’s piece over here at Autosport. It suggests that a long-run program by Carlos Sainz vs Sergio Perez was similar enough to draw potential conclusions about Ferrari’s pace. Jonathan may very well be right but I would say that in the hands of Max Verstappen, it may not be as straightforward as it seems and obviously Jonathan knows that as well.

There is also an interesting breakdown of the testing over at F1 that would, on the surface of things, suggest that the Bull’s are two tenths ahead instead of the seven to nine tenths of last year.

Suffice it to say, the testing, for me, really boils down to fast lap and, critically, the number of laps without issues or reliability. To those ends, I tend to see a few things but I’ve also seen teams show up for the first race with some seriously different kit on their car from what they launched or tested so the jury is still out and we won’t really know until Q3 at Bahrain.

Here are the totals from the 3-day testing session:

Fastest Times (over all 3 days)

DriverTeamTimeDayTyre
SainzFerrari1m29.921sThursdayC4
LeclercFerrari1m30.322sFridayC4
RussellMercedes1m30.368sFridayC4
ZhouSauber1m30.647sFridayC4
PerezRed Bull1m30.679sThursdayC3
VerstappenRed Bull1m30.755sFridayC3
TsunodaRB1m30.775sFridayC4
AlbonWilliams1m30.984sFridayC4
PiastriMcLaren1m31.03sFridayC3
HamiltonMercedes1m31.066sThursdayC3
AlonsoAston Martin1m31.159sFridayC3
NorrisMcLaren1m31.256sThursdayC3
RicciardoRB1m31.361sThursdayC4
HulkenbergHaas1m31.686sFridayC3
StrollAston Martin1m32.029sThursdayC3
OconAlpine1m32.061sThursdayC3
GaslyAlpine1m32.149sFridayC3
BottasSauber1m32.227sThursdayC3
SargeantWilliams1m32.578sThursdayC4
MagnussenHaas1m33.053sFridayC3

Total Laps (over all 3 days)

TeamLaps completed
Haas439
Ferrari416
Red Bull390
Aston Martin378
Sauber378
RB366
Mercedes361
Alpine334
McLaren327
Williams298
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Xean Drury

Now hear me out: Usually Haas starts good and gets worse. Now that they’re starting out worse, by season end they’ll be winning races.
New definition to “F1 Fantasy League”? lol