2017 Pre-Season Testing: Barcelona

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by TopClass, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. TopClass

    TopClass Well-Known Member

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    Well ladies and gents, the 'new era' is upon us.

    Formula 1 reverts back to some fat tyres, wide cars, and true powerhouses. Sure, things are not as loud as they once were but finally we have a Formula heading back towards being the pinnacle of motorsport and cars that might actually break some lap records.

    Liberty Media are in the crows nest of good ship F1, Bernie is has been confined to the background, Ross Brawn is bringing some common sense back, and some of the old guard have the chance to show the new kids what it means to drive a proper racing car.

    The world is a changing, and the next few months will bring many big decisions.

    Mercedes form the benchmark for all to beat. Their works power unit and car were lightyears ahead of the pack in all honesty for three years, and whilst the new engine freedom has provided Renault, Honda, and Ferrari an opportunity to catch up, it has also given Mercedes an opportunity to show the full potential of their beast. Will they dominate again? Their big advantage might be on the straights, as increased drag will reward those with the greater power units.

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    Red Bull arrive with real hope in 2017. With regulations giving aerodynamic freedom and less of a power-unit dominated sport, hopes will be high that the guru that is Adrian Newey has led another incredible design project to go into the history books with his others. They had a great chassis last year but couldn't peg back Mercedes and in truth were probably lacking half a second, which is still a big step. Noises have been positive from Renault but whether it is enough remains to be seen. Their driver pairing is young and exciting, arguably the best pairing on the grid. But whilst it will propel them forward, it could also create fireworks if a Championship bid is ignited by a great Newey car. This is an exciting year and if Danny and Max get to fight the front runners as well as each other, we'll be in for great racing.

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    Ferrari arrive, as always, full of hope and the weight of Italian expectation for 2017. Having been 2nd in 2015 and 3rd in 2016, they will be expected to be podium regulars. If they aren't, then there will be some big questions and decisions for them and in particular their drivers. Sebastian Vettel had the aura of a frustrated 4 time world champion last season and if Ferrari fall short again, will he be released at the end of 2017, and in doing so blow the driver market wide open? Conversely, for Kimi Raikkonen, these new regulations are expected to play more to his strengths, so a disilluisioned Vettel might struggle with a switched on Iceman. They lost James Allison last year and the big question will be how has it affected development? We will begin to see the answers in the next few weeks.

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    McLaren, as seemingly has been the same ever since the return of Honda as a works engine in 2015, arrive with hope, uncertainty, expectation, excitement, and worry all in one. Ron Dennis was ousted by his other key shareholders in the winter and the new McLaren era, headed up by Zac Brown, is marked with a return to an orange livery as they look to make headway. The dream for racing fans is that they can add themselves into the competitive mix- a 4-way world title fight would have us glued to the screens but it is rarely that simple. Honda arrive with a redesigned power unit to help them bridge the performance gap to the Merc benchmark, but first they have to show it can be reliable in Barcelona. It is lighter and set with a lowr centre of gravity, but it also perhaps the biggest question mark.

    The chassis has much to prove also- despite McLaren reiterations that they had the 3rd-best chassis based on the data that they had. Hopefully Peter Prodromou has created something that gives them the chance to move forwards and on first glance, whilst it was obviously missing some details that will be added in Barcelona, it looked one of the most compact and curvacious on the grid. Much more akin to Red Bull and looking neat.

    Fernando Alonso did not shy away at the launch by saying September will be the point he has decided his future, and clearly a progressive and improving McLaren is key to that. Stoffel Vandoorne looks a mature and exciting addition, and can surprise many if given the car underneath him.

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    Force India have made big noises at their launch that they think they've got their best ever car. VJ reckons the data that they have is excellent and as a result, has set his sights on a lofty top 3 Constructors finish! They are regarded as the biggest achievers in terms of results for money spent and whilst it is a bold claim, you have to respect that and they've really earned their right to dream a little bigger. The car livery has split people like Marmite but there was no holding back the excitement of Sergio Perez at the launch and he will lead the team alongside promising rookie Esteban Ocon. A first race win would surely be popular and I'm sure nobody would mind 'feeling the Force' in 2017. Good luck to them- they certainly have no concerns from a power unit point of view.

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    Williams should really have the same sort of Force India ambition, but of course there is the back story of losing their lead driver to Mercedes, bringing Felipe out of retirement and of course the great gamble on Lance Stroll. If Stroll is a weak link, then of course that is a concern. However, if the kid actually has talent to go alongside his Dads dollars, they they can embark on an exciting venture, as the elder Stroll can pump in some much needed development money to shoot his son toward the stars.

    They have not been strong in an aero/chassis sense these past three years, ultimately benefiting from the switch to Mercedes power than anything else, and slid steadily and slowly backwards from the start of the turbo regs in 2014. They have a lot to prove but they are putting wheels in motion for a stronger future. Paddy Lowe will lead them and we suspect 2017 may be a learning year and a building year.

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    Renault have had the chance to really put their own stamp on the car in these new regs and I have to say, I thought their car looked really good at launch and visually looked like a real step in the right direction after a very basic car last season when they picked up the remnants of Lotus. They have lots of reasons to be optimistic in the medium term: They are ultimately the works Renault team and will begin to benefit more than Red Bull as time ticks on, so if their power unit can progress and hold on the coat tails of Mercedes Benz, then why can't they become race winners again? Whether it is in 2017, who knows, but perhaps Nico Hulkenberg has made an inspired choice to lead this team and finally fulfill his obvious potential.

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    Torro Rosso switch to Renault power this year which is of course interesting having been previously beached with a frozen, year old Ferrari. They started well but as the other power units progressed, faded out of things. They are an intriguing team with the new aero freedom and I wonder if they will be strong early on again this year, especially if Renault continue to gain in power terms. They also have the juggling act of managing to keep Carlos Sainz- who wants to progress- and Daniel Kyvyat- demoted from the main Red Bull team- happy. They held a filming day this week but broke down with a power unit issue- lets hope for everyones sake that it is not a sign of things to come especially if we want to see competition.

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    Haas F1 embark on a new era very early on in their journey, and a testing one for their business model. Using the basic Ferrari parts and power unit set them up with solid foundations but in a development war that will rumble on all through the season, are they best placed to thrive? This is a massive test for them and it will make them think on their feet as they map out how to grow and improve in Formula 1. Gene Haas is a smart guy and it will be interesting to see the direction they take in future.

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    Last but not least, we have the beautiful blue Sauber. They've endured some tough times these past few years and I suspect they will be glad to see the back of the previous regulations. As they look to get on a firmer financial footing, they have sacrificed a 2017 power unit and asked for a 2016 Ferrari one, so that they can dedicate more financial resource to the chassis development. That is a sensible move long-term, but they will take some pain as the 2017 season progresses. Their car looks beautiful and I hope they get some sponsorship. It looked gorgeous on their filming day and on launch day itself. Good luck to them and lets hope that the back of the grid is not too far strung out

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  2. TopClass

    TopClass Well-Known Member

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    So I hope no one minds a separate testing thread!

    Il link you up with as much information as i can gather and il see what I can pass on from any technical forums.

    Does anybody think a surprise package lurks amongst anything based on what you saw at launch? Lots of similar designs in my view but i felt Mercedes, Renault and McLaren looked more polished.


    I wonder if the diffusers are mystery area at the moment...
     
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  3. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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    From the filming day footage it seems McLaren are running a huge amount of rake. Whether they can run it at full speed we shall see. I think it's safe to say that a lot will be added to these cars by Australia, but at least we now have a possibility of a mixing of the order.
     
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  4. DHCanary

    DHCanary Very Well-Known Member
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    Certainly the 3 teams highlighted have shown the most advanced looking aero, I'm hoping that just means the others are hiding something. Certainly Williams have shown the bare minimum, I don't think we've seen a single shot of the rear of their car yet.

    Looking forward to seeing the Red Bull now, I'm expecting some phenomenal packaging work.

    Hopefully someone will have a Periscope stream of testing.
     
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  5. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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    They've opened up the rules for social media at f1 events so hopefully we'll see a lot more this year. Wonder who'll have the honour of being the first to go bang.
     
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  6. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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    McLaren in action, not long till pro HD shots start appearing.

     
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  7. TopClass

    TopClass Well-Known Member

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    Well, unlike 2015, at least this year it went!

     
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  8. TopClass

    TopClass Well-Known Member

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    Happier with the colour now guys?

    It actually looks gorgeous in this show.
     
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  9. TopClass

    TopClass Well-Known Member

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    RED BULL:

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  10. ched999uk

    ched999uk Well-Known Member

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    The Red Bull nostril is interesting. I thought the regs used to say something about there being a minimum cross sectional area. Isn't that why we have the 'thumbs'? Have Red Bull found a loop hole or are they just trying to confuse the opposition? Suppose we will see tomorrow as I think cars running in the pre season tests must have passed crash tests.
     
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  11. allsaintchris.

    allsaintchris. Well-Known Member

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    I predict after the end of the first few days of testing, people will be moaning about the new rules and saying another change is needed to topple Mercedes domination again. Turbo engines will still be considered rubbish because of the 'made for Mercedes/Hamilton' formula that was devised specifically for them (with agreement from all the teams) to run from 2014 and until Mercedes are out of F1 people will no longer watch it (but they still will and then come on here to moan about it for another year saying this is the last time they will watch it etc etc)

    Or RBR will be so far ahead, everyone will be lauding a season of RBR domination, because its so much better that a different team dominates and therefore F1 is fixed again........

    In fairytale la la land, what would be good is to see several teams in with a chance of victory. But that's just silly talk.
     
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  12. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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    please log in to view this image
     
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  13. allsaintchris.

    allsaintchris. Well-Known Member

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    hmm, still looks like a Spyker. Hope it turns out to be quicker than one.

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  14. SgtBhaji

    SgtBhaji Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to refrain from making any judgments on how anything may pan out until we've seen a good solid couple of days of testing, and even then it could be hard to make any calls.

    I expect Merc to still be strong, but for the sake of the sport I hope the others have caught up and it's not another one sided season.

    If I were a religious man, I'd be praying for a highly competitive season with an abundance of unique winners.... But with Hamilton still nicking it at the end. ;)

    Edit:
    Fabulous post by the way, Top. Cheers!
     
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  15. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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  16. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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    Waits for Horner outburst.

     
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  17. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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    Just 1 hour into testing and we're already just 1.5s off last year's pole time.
     
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  18. BrightLampShade

    BrightLampShade Well-Known Member
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    Whilst some are.



    McLaren are back in 2015

     
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  19. El_Bando

    El_Bando Found
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    Mercedes and Ferrari piling in the laps at similar pace. Only difference is Mercedes on soft and Ferrari on mediums
     
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  20. TopClass

    TopClass Well-Known Member

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    How many oil leaks does it take for Honda to sort it out once and for all? **** sake.
     
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