What have we learned from the 1st F1 test of 2019?

In one sense, you have drivers and teams and even some in the F1 press saying that you can’t really tell anything from testing. Meanwhile, I’ve been saying for years that you can tell a lot from testing and even while teams and drivers are saying you can’t, they know damn well that you can determine quite a bit.

That’s why I like Lawrence Baretto’s piece over at F1.com where he unabashedly says, hey, here’s what we can tell from testing so far. Good on you Lawrence, one of the few willing to say, you know what? One thousand laps is kind of a big deal.

As Lawrence points out, one of the bigger markers you can gain from testing is the number of laps they pound out. Ferrari-powered cars pummeled Barcelona for over 1,000 laps and that’s a big deal when it comes to understanding reliability. How much trouble did the teams have in producing those 1,000 laps and what times, g-forces, and heat loads were they generating?

Another massive sign? That would be that after Ferrari, Honda were the lap stars with 957 between the two Red Bull teams. The big question is how fast are the cars? That’s where things get a little fuzzy.

As Charles Leclerc said today, it is difficult to know who is sandbagging and while saying that out of one side of his mouth, he may very well know how much Ferrari may or may not be sandbagging themselves. Is it likely that Mercedes is? I would say heartily yes, they like that sort of thing and are a choice operation who doesn’t expose their pace willingly.

Still, there is plenty to gain from testing and the geniuses at each team know exactly what they are seeing on their cars and how to read what they are seeing on other teams’ cars as well. Mileage is a massive factor given the 3-engine rule this year. A big factor.

Williams were well off the pace and Haas struggled with niggles throughout the test and there is something to be gleaned from that.

Mileage by driver

1.Lewis Hamilton307888
2.Sebastian Vettel303876
3.Valtteri Bottas303876
4.Charles Leclerc295853
5.Alexander Albon268775
6.Antonio Giovinazzi255737
7.Kimi Raikkonen252729
8.Nico Hulkenberg247714
9.Pierre Gasly238688
10.Max Verstappen237685
11.Lando Norris236683
12.Daniil Kvyat214619
13.Carlos Sainz Jr209604
14.Romain Grosjean198573
15.Daniel Ricciardo186538
16.Lance Stroll151437
17.Kevin Magnussen125362
18.Sergio Perez97281
19.Pietro Fittipaldi61176
20.Robert Kubica48139
21.George Russell40116

Mileage by team

3.Alfa Romeo5071466
4.Toro Rosso4821394
5.Red Bull4751374
9.Racing Point248717


Mileage by engine

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Milage is certainly king when it comes to testing. Lap times not so much for us watching, for teams a lot, as they know what fuel load they have, is the PU turned up or down, are they testing a specific part etc… The fact that Giovanazzi did two full race distances in one day is quite amazing. I’m not sure that I would call it ‘sandbagging’ what Mercedes are doing, I have a feeling that being the only car without a big rake, and the new front wing regulations, they may find it hard at first, but by the… Read more »


The only thing I needed to determine this week is their durability. Next week, I want to see their speed. Putting the two together will tell me what to expect (especially when it comes to fantasy leagues).


The main thing we learned is that Williams really, really doesn’t have their sh*t together. They didn’t even have a car ready to go for the first two days of testing! Somehow it looks like they’re even more of a mess than they were last year. It’s going to be a very long season for them. I have a feeling that their only saving grace will be Kubica, who will play the role Alonso played for McLaren the last few years and steal them a few points that the car really don’t deserve.

Fast Freddy

Teams tell you they don’t learn much, because they don’t want to tell you what they have learned. Who would put forth this effort with little to gain?


Interestingly, in the La Stampa interview with Ferrari, I felt that Sebastian seemed almost wistful about Fernando’s “escape” (that’s the Italian word used) from F1… could it be he too is about done?