Speed, speeder, speediest? The regulations changes promised higher speeds and faster times. What have we seen? Specialists predicted times to go down 4 to 5 seconds per lap. Does Barcelona data support this? Faster: absolutely. 4-5 seconds: not yet..
Although TJ13 (and you the jury!) are still out on the looks, the new regulations have made cars wider and lower. The new cars look more aggressive due to broad wheels and updated aerodynamics. On the first day of testing on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya the question arises: is it faster? Did everybody come hyper-prepared? Will the new regulations shake up the field? How do new team-mates compare? Are we in for a season of excitement?
We are getting a peek today. Just to compare today with last year: after the first half day of the 2016 test, Sebastian Vettel clocked a 1: 24,939 min. Second was Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes (1: 25,409 min). Third came Valtteri Bottas in a Williams (1: 26,091 min) and fourth was Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull-Tag Heuer (1: 26,704 min).
After the first half day stint Vettel on the top spot with 1:22:791, Bottas in in his new silver arrow 1:23:169, Perez in the Force India with 1:23:709, and back from retirement Massa with 1:25:552 in the Williams.
So.. Ferrari 2,2 second quicker. Mercedes (if for simplicity’s sake we take Bottas as quick as Hamilton) 2,3 seconds faster and the Williams stopping the stopwatch 0.5 seconds per lap faster.
Ricciardo in his Red Bull rounded its fastest lap in 1:28:712 following technical difficulties. Alonso’s McLaren was leaking oil and could only do installation laps.
Quicker: yes. 4-5 seconds: this afternoon we should learn more..
We are hoping Ricciardo can spur his Red Bull to some better times this afternoon, but unluckily we are getting the distinct impression Mercedes is still the team to beat.