Formula 1 goes into its annual winter slumber between the months of November until March. The first race of the season is scheduled to kick of in Australia on March 20th. F1 teams do not go into hibernation during these winter months. Some design next year’s car during the season, other teams wait until the last race before beginning the design process for the next campaign.
Before the first race kicks off pre-season testing will take place at Spain’s Circuit De Catalunya, Barcelona. Pre-Season testing has become highly restricted and significantly reduced over the last ten years.
It’s usually the case that if you begin testing first you gain an advantage but with two test dates available before the first race it now boils down to who can get in as many miles as possible over your fellow competitors.
It’s highly likely Mercedes will carry over the huge performance advantage they enjoyed last year with Ferrari making progress, but maybe not enough to mount a serious challenge.
Once a single F1 team becomes dominant it usually takes at least 4-5 seasons before rival teams catch up. So it seems Hamilton and Rosberg will enjoy at least two more seasons at least of unlimited power.
Maybe Ferrari will have made significant progress or maybe not. No one will really be able to tell until the first race of the season ends.
Before pre-season testing begins F1 teams will launch their cars in the latter part of February.
F1 Car Launches 2016
Ferrari – 18/19 February (unconfirmed)
Haas – 21 February
Force India – TBC
Renault – TBC
McLaren – 21 February
Mercedes – TBC
Red Bull – TBC
Sauber – 1 March
Toro Rosso – TBC
Williams – 22 February
Manor – TBC
Pre-season Testing Schedule
Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona – 22-25 February
Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona – 1-4 March