5 Things We Learned From F1 Testing Week 1
After the winter break, the first on-track Formula 1 action of 2019 has been completed after four full days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. All ten teams have been involved, with both full-time and reserve drivers getting track time from Monday to Thursday.
There's still almost a month to go until the Australian GP, but the beginning of the new F1 season feels tantalisingly close. As always, there's a lot to talk about the teams involved in the pinnacle of Motorsport. From a notable absence to mechanical issues to some blistering lap times, here are 5 of the biggest stories that have developed from the Montmelo track!
#1 – Ferrari Fastest...for now
While Mercedes quietly go about their testing schedule and sandbag (purposely doing slow laps to make the car appear slow), Ferrari usually go for headline fastest laps to please their sponsors. In addition, Ferrari have also been fastest during most of the pre-season tests since 2015, and they've won no championships in that time. That being said, though, they arguably had the fastest car at the beginning of both of the last two seasons, culminating in back-to-back wins in Melbourne.
2019 is appearing to follow the same trend, as when you factor in Pirelli's estimates for differentials in tyre performance, the Scuderia comes out on top. Nico Hulkenberg has set the fastest lap time of testing so far (1:17.393), but that was on the grippiest tyre available (the C5). When you've factored in the deltas, Charles Leclerc has set the quickest lap, a virtual 1:16.846. Even more encouraging is that their nearest challenger, Antonio Giovinazzi, is over half a second behind Leclerc's time, a yawning chasm in F1 terms.
Of course, this is far from an exact science, but the signs are looking positive for the team from Maranello.