F1 Testing so far

All the times, laps and more from F1 Testing, week 1 in Barcelona

21st February 2019

The first week of pre-season F1 testing finished today and here’s what we’ve learned so far. Before we get all excited about lap times, you have to remember that this is “testing” – i.e. when the teams get to test their new 2019 cars, try new bits, collect data and build up confidence in their reliability. The lack of any competitive element means we never really know for sure who’s fastest until qualifying for Melbourne.

That being well, it’s always fun to have a look and draw some (probably pointless) conclusions! Firstly though, let’s look at the number of laps completed – a great indication of how well prepared the cars are and how reliable they are.

Laps Completed

  • Mercedes – 610
  • Ferrari – 598
  • Alfa Romeo – 507
  • Toro Rosso – 482
  • Red Bull – 475
  • McLaren – 445
  • Renault – 433
  • Haas – 384
  • Racing Point – 248
  • Williams – 88

Lap Times

And then for the lap times, well take these with a virtual pinch of salt – we have no idea of the fuel loads and of course they’re on different tyres. For clarity, the tyres are named C1, through to C5. The ‘C’ stands for ‘compound’ and the higher the number, the softer the tyre, so C5 should be the fastest (softest).

Day 1

  • 1:18.161 – Vettel C3 (Ferrari)
  • 1:18.558 – Sainz C4 (McLaren)
  • 1:19.159 – Grosjean C3 (Haas)

Day 2

  • 1:18.247 – Leclerc C3 (Ferrari)
  • 1:18.553 – Norris C4 (McLaren)
  • 1:19.206 – Magnussen C3 (Haas)

Day 3

  • 1:17.704 – Kvyat C5 (Toro Rosso)
  • 1:17.762 – Raikkonen C5 (Alfa Romeo)
  • 1:18.164 – Ricciardo C4 (Renault)

Day 4

  • 1:17.393 – Hulkenberg C5 (Renault)
  • 1:17.637 – Albon C5 (Toro Ross)
  • 1:17.785 – Ricciardo C5 (Renault)

And here’s the complete time sheet via Autosport’s excellent live coverage.

Headlines from Test 1

Williams had a nightmare from the outset with their car only making to the track on day 3 and then only completing 88 laps. The car is said to be incomplete with plenty more to do ahead of Test 2 next week.

Haas were the only other team to have a few stoppages out on track. But that’s nothing much to worry about. All teams had the occasional hiccup, but otherwise – as the number of laps show – it’s been a solid week of testing for everyone bar Williams.

Ferrari are early favourites – their car is reliable and set some superb lap times. Only a fool would discount Mercedes. The silver cars have stayed away from the top lap times, but have completed more laps than any other team.

The new front wings have been a talking point – with Alfa Romeo enjoying most of the attention with their alternative wing design. We’ll leave the rest of the technical updates to other, more qualified folks. On this subject, it’s better to wait until Test 2, when teams will bring many more updates.

Honda look good. Now with 2 teams for 2019, the Honda engine has to deliver and so far, so good. Red Bull and Toro Rosso combined clocked up 957 laps, second only to the Ferrari engine – a much brighter start than previous year. Red Bull Racing made it very clear that they are very happy indeed – it’s refreshing to see the team being positive about their engine supplier.

Gallery from Test 1

Here’s a collection of images from testing, via the brilliant Octane Photos. We’ve already seen the cars being launched, but seeing them on track is much more exciting. We have a good looking grid for the 2019 season. The Williams looks great on the track, the new livery works much better than on the launch photos. The Ferrari has divided opinion with the matte red looking a bit too different for some fans, we think it looks ace though.

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