What We Learned From F1's First Pre-Season Test

A Spanish Inquisition...

What We Learned From F1's First Pre-Season Test

A fully wet track greeted the drivers on the final day of Formula 1 winter testing in Barcelona.

And it wasn't from the rain.

Water tankers were brought in to soak the track with 250,000 litres of water so tyre suppliers Pirelli could test their wet weather rubber.

Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari thrived, going fastest across 2 spells of a drenched track in Spain.

The Finn's top time of 1:20.872 was clocked on the softer compound, 0.8s quicker than Max Verstappen's best time.

So what did we learn across the week?


MERCEDES ARE STILL THE TEAM TO BEAT

Like it or not, the Mercs are still a class act.

The W08 recorded the quickest times of the week with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the wheel and completed more laps in race trim than anyone else.

THE CARS ARE QUICK, VERY QUICK.

The new rules appear to have achieved exactly what they aimed to do from the get-go.

They're faster.

Valterri Bottas had no trouble beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton's 1.22:00 from last year's Spanish Grand Prix.

That's got teams expecting they'll be 3-4 seconds quicker at some of the circuits on the calendar.


THE CARS HAVE THE LOOKS TO BACK UP THE SPEED

Make no mistake, the 'shark fins' aren't everyone's cup of tea.

But the wider tyres and the sleeker aerodynamic packages allowed for under the new rules have turned these beasts into better looking machines than before.

The new liveries have also got chins wagging, with McLaren debuting a major splash of orange and Toro Rosso's makeover earning rave reviews.


PASS?

If indications from Barcelona are anything to go by, then passing could be a problem in 2017.

Lewis Hamilton's warned the new regulations might give drivers more downforce, but will make cars harder to follow (and overtake.)

Time will tell how this plays out at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in a few short weeks.

There'll be more stories to tell when teams return to Barcelona on Tuesday for a second 4-day test.

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