Because the 2019 Components One world championship looms giant, one other 4 days of testing to permit the sector to additional acclimatise to their new equipment, comes first in Barcelona this week.
Whether or not it was seeing the brand new liveries with the 2019-spec front-wings, new drivers or drivers at new groups – the preliminary 4 days of testing in Spain had a lot to be hyped about.
The take a look at on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya noticed arguably probably the most dependable Winter take a look at since Components One’s hybridisation in 2014, with simply over four,000-laps accomplished in complete by the ten groups.
Ferrari got here out of the field probably the most spectacular and if the grins of the faces of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and his crew on the finish of the primary day weren’t encouraging sufficient, then solely final success in 2019 will likely be.
The Prancing Horse confirmed robust reliability and pace, having plugged within the quickest lap on the primary two days between Vettel and his new teammate in 21-year outdated Charles Leclerc – who in his maiden outing with the Scuderia, appeared proper at residence.
Although regardless of having had a extra subdued begin to the pre-season, the defending world champions in Mercedes AMG turned over extra laps than their rivals in crimson – edging them out 610-laps to 598.
Reigning driver’s world champion in Lewis Hamilton was excessive in his reward for Ferrari through the take a look at, remarking that they’re “very, very robust.” While his beneath stress to carry out teammate Valtteri Bottas conceded that the Silver Arrows “must make enhancements,” to remedy the dealing with points discovered with the W10 chassis in its maiden outings.
Many do consider although, that Mercedes AMG are sandbagging and are available the opening spherical of the championship in Melbourne, that we’ll see the W10 challenger flip up the wick. This perception is as soon as once more fuelled by the variety of laps that Hamilton and Bottas accomplished on the tougher compound tyres.
No matter sandbagging or not, it’s absolutely anticipated for each Ferrari and Mercedes AMG to be the title contenders for 2019 and the query now’s that behind them; how far will Crimson Bull Racing be?
Now powered by Honda, who loved their finest pre-season since their return as a power-unit provider in 2015, the previous four-time constructor’s champions have been additionally buoyed by their most dependable begin to testing within the hybrid period.
A complete of 957-laps was accomplished by each Crimson Bull and their junior group in Toro Rosso and the truth that Honda have two symbiotic outfits at their disposal, is just going to strengthen their fee of growth. And with the reliability seeming optimistic – the eye will shift to efficiency.
The midfield is shaping to be probably the most intently matched, that it’s in recent times and the race in the direction of the coveted fourth place within the standings goes to be hotly contested.
Between Renault, who topped the timesheets on the fourth and remaining day of the primary Check and have their driver line-up bolstered by the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo and Alfa Romeo (previously Sauber), who themselves boast a recent line-up of 2007-world champion Kimi Räikkönen and Ferrari junior rookie Antonio Giovinazzi – the battle for fourth goes to be an intense one.
Behind them is the place the intrigue stays, with Racing Level (previously Power India) having not debuted a full 2019-spec chassis on the take a look at, Haas having encountered quite a few niggling points on their black and gold VF19 and McLaren exhibiting one-off glory laps but demonstrating lower than spectacular long-run tempo.
The most important loser from the primary Check was unquestionably Williams, who didn’t even flip a wheel on their new Rokit sponsored FW42 till the third day of working. The thrilling all-new line-up of reigning F2 champion George Russell and the extremely anticipated returnee Robert Kubica, solely accomplished a meagre 88-laps.
Loads of questions are being requested of the as soon as nice championship profitable power, although one other 4 days of testing ought to actually expose the plight that faces Williams in 2019 and probably the way forward for their technical chief in Paddy Lowe – who has come beneath scrutiny over the previous week.
Certainly, there was a lot to be gleaned from the opening 4 days of the Components One pre-season, however earlier than the curtain raiser on March 17 in Melbourne – the groups have one remaining alternative to get their bearings, forward of what shapes to be one other mega season of grand prix racing.