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First pre-season test round-up

Over the last four days Formula One has been in full swing during the first winter test of 2016.

10 teams have been thundering around the Barcelona track with their brand new cars, whilst Sauber have been running with last years machine.

In comparison to previous years all the teams completed a lot of mileage over the four days.

It could be argued that Haas have had the best debut showing in Formula One history managing to complete 813 miles over the first four days straight out of the box, 70 miles more than McLaren Honda.

They do have the advantage of a close partnership with Ferrari, but F1 has not seen a debut like it since Toyota joined the sport 14 years ago.

As for McLaren, there were signs of small improvements but then day four came and the team completed just 3 laps.

Another team to impress was the evolving Manor team, running a Mercedes power-unit and Williams gearbox. They completed the least miles out of all the teams with 735, but pace wise and on the same tyres they were ahead of Haas and Renault on Day One and ahead of McLaren, Renault and Toro Rosso on Day Two.

Toro Rosso will be content with their showing during the first test. The switch from Renault to a 2015 Ferrari spec power-unit might have been so rushed that it performed with a plain livery, but it clocked up a lot of miles and in fact was the second most run car over the four days with 1,293 miles completed. That's a lot of data for the team to work with to improve their car.

But even twelve hundred miles of testing was completely eclipsed by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows want to be bullet proof going into the new season, they didn't once bolt on the softer sets of tyres during any of the four days, instead concentrating on race simulations and completing as many miles as possible.

They completed the test using just the one power-unit and the car didn't reach breaking point, unlike the drivers who had to make unscheduled switches as they had completed so many miles.

Overall Mercedes completed 1,952 miles, only 133 miles shy of the combined total of Ferrari and Red Bull Racing who could prove to be their biggest competitors this season.

Red Bull, with their Renault powered, Tag Heuer branded power unit completed 1,067 miles with Daniel Ricciardo's time on day four using the purple marked ultra soft tyres set the fourth fastest time of the test.

Ferrari came to the test with the biggest modifications of any team, a different aero package and brand new power-unit lay-out, they were quick, the quickest of everyone with Sebastian Vettel setting the fastest time of the entire test and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen setting the third fastest time. But they only completed 1,018 miles.

Force India completed the top five charts for fastest laps over the four days with Nico Hulkenberg going second quickest on the red striped super soft on day three and Sergio Perez going fifth quickest, also on the super soft on day two.

With last seasons car Sauber didn't trouble the timing sheets, but did complete 1,232 miles, which will prove to be important data once they bring their new car to the track for the second test.

At the half way stage of pre-season testing it's clear that Mercedes are yet to show their hand.

They may well have set times over two seconds slower than Ferrari, but the lap times are not comparable due to using different Pirelli compound tyres and carrying much more fuel to complete the longer runs.

Once those times are adjusted the gap would be a lot smaller, perhaps with an advantage for Mercedes.

The Force India times also look close to Ferrari considering they were not using the quickest tyre also.

After that, so far it's impossible to tell who will be best placed between Williams and Red Bull.

At the back, McLaren Honda are at risk of being overtaking by Manor and Haas who have shown good potential.

Their blushes could be saved by Sauber who are clearly playing catch-up as the only team to have not debuted their new car for 2016 yet.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday February 26 2016

Time: 9:00AM


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