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The first week of F1 testing 2018

The first week of F1 testing in 2018 is now complete. But what have we learned from it? You could argue that the snowed out Barcelona circuit wasn’t the ideal place for pre-season testing. Many stating that Formula one pre-season testing should move back to Bahrain as the weather is consistent. Teams still managed to rack up laps over the four days of testing.  Toro Rosso being the surprise setting an impressive 324 laps. Putting them at the top of the table for laps completed in total. The Honda 2018 F1 engine seems to have solved the reliability issues they had with Mclaren.Mclaren managed a respectable 260 laps considering the issues their testing program had. Alonso’s wheel came off while on track sending him into the gravel trap.  Stoffel Vandoorne had a lack of running on the second day due to an exhaust clip failure.

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The problem of weather

The weather conditions at the circuit de catalunya as alluded to before were not favorable for running. With snow and a mostly rained out cold test.  Fans and teams will be hoping that the second week will have better conditions. Although the first week of testing is about testing systems rather than outright lap times. The weather prevented even remotely representative times from being set.  Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheet for day four setting the fastest time of the test with a 1:19.333. He achieved this on the medium compound tires from Pirelli. In the dry weather conditions, teams mostly ran the new hyper soft tire or the mediums as these were found to be the easiest to get up to temperature.

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The possibility of a three-way battle for the Formula one 2018 championship?

The top three teams all managed to get a decent amount of running given the weather conditions. Agin lap times won’t be truly representative until the first race in Australia. However, there are signs a good battle for the championship is possible.  Other than RedBulls fuel leak problem Mercedes, Ferrari and RedBull had few technical problems. With engines needing to last 7 races each due to the new 3 engine and gearbox per season rule it would seem manufactures have all put reliability first. Ferrari needed to do so as the reliability of their power unit started to waver towards the end of the season last year.

RedBull managed to set the fifth fastest time of the test with a 1:20.179 by Daniel Ricciardo with medium tiers. RedBull had the lowest amount of running out of the three with 209 laps completed. However, they seem to have made significant aerodynamic changes to the car. As Renault have stated they are not improving the power of the engine over last year until mid-season instead focusing on reliability RedBull need to improve the lap times in other areas. The increased reliability showed at the first week of testing is a good sign that the three top teams will battle it out with RedBull possibly taking a few podiums or race wins. Although I believe that the battle will be between Mercedes and Ferrari due to their increased power over the Renault engine.

Skysports have  a more in-depth rundown of the first week of F1 testing in 2018 that can be viewed here

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