F1 2016: Things we learned from the first preseason test
After months of agonizing wait for F1 fans, the F1 season finally started off in all its glory at the first preseason test held in Barcelona. Though the times set during the 4-day test mean little, as each team has their own testing schedule and challenges, we have got a small glimpse of what we can expect during the 2016 F1 season.
Here are some of the major points.
Mercedes F1 look unstoppable
The current reigning champions look set for another season of glory from the initial looks of things. Even though the neither of the Mercedes driver set any session-topping times throughout the 4-day test, the amount of mileage they covered 675 laps was easily the best among any of the teams.
The team did not suffer any major reliability issues during the four days and was so happy with their progress that they decided to change their schedule and run both their drivers during the last two days to avoid fatigue. They were so confident of their pace that they refused to do any low fuel runs.
Williams’ Felipe Massa has already seen the signs and warned that Mercedes GP are the team to beat this season.
After overhauling their entire management and engineering team, Ferrari were Mercedes’ closest competitors last season. Ferrari did set some of the fastest times in the first test, but ran into reliability issues. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel has said that they are happy with this year’s car.
It remains to be seen though if Ferrari can produce a silver bullet which will let them challenge Mercedes for this year's title.
Mclaren Honda are still not out of the woods
Mclaren Honda announced some challenging goals last year only to finish their worst year in F1 history. A lot has been said about the technical partnership between Mclaren and Honda, and they do not seem to be out of the woods yet.
Although both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button managed to get some mileage in the car during the first two days of the test, they ran into reliability issues during day three and day four. Also, Honda Motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai was mysteriously replaced by Yusuke Hasegawa which shows Honda aren’t entirely happy with the way things are going.
With a years experience behind them and McLaren's famous development speed, it remains to be seen if they can improve their show this year.
HAAS F1 team looks strong and well prepared
When Gene Haas announced that he was going to enter F1 as the first American team, many people thought that this would be another costly mistake, remember Virgin Racing? But Haas had a plan and he announced a technical partnership with Ferrari and spent a year developing the car.
The end result? The first F1 test was a huge revelation when the Haas team set times that put them straight in the midfield. It remains to be seen now, whether they are capable of developing the car enough to stay there.
The battle of the midfield teams looks to be really promising
With HAAS entering the fray, and Toro Rosso finding a reliable engine, things have really closed up in the race for the midfield teams. Force India who managed to finish 5th last season have their work cut out for them. And the battle of the midfield teams looks to be one of the closest and most entertaining in recent years.