McLaren Stumbles, Ferrari Roars And Mercedes Look Mighty At First F1 Pre-Season Test
Formula One
Pre-Season testing is never an accurate guide to form, which F1 team will dominate or if a number of teams will be closely matched in terms of outright performance. One thing we do know is that Mercedes easily had the strongest engine/chassis package in 2016. Therefore it is natural to assume they will once again dominate in 2017 because in F1 to make up a rumoured  8-tenth deficit is like trying to send a man to the moon on a postage stamp.  Unless the engine regulations were changed then Mercedes could have been challenged but this year an overhaul of the regulations pertain extensively to the aerodynamics. Wider tyres, wider cars, swept back front and rear wings and shark fin wings will see F1 cars go a predicted 4 seconds a lap faster. Formula-One-2017-Testing-Barcelona-A So as the first pre-season test got underway at the Circuit De Catalunya, Barcelona this week it seemed business as usual for Mercedes F1 as Lewis Hamilton topped the timing sheets as the first day of testing drew to a close. Mercedes completed a total of 152 laps with Hamilton setting a time 0.113 seconds faster than the Ferrari driven by Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton’s new team mate and replacement for the departed Nico Rosberg, Valterri Bottas, finished the day 6th fastest. Formula-One-2017-Testing-Barcelona-Perez History seemed to be repeating itself for McLaren, it literally stumbled out of the pits and back again as Alonso suffered an oil system problem on his first installation lap. McLaren has been dogged by engine failures since their engine partner Honda made a return to the sport. Formula-One-2017-Testing-Barcelona-Ferrari Starting the year with an engine issue was frustrating for Alonso as the entire morning session was lost, he was back on track by the afternoon but only managed to see out the last two hours of testing. Honda has re-designed 90 percent of last years engine and with such limited testing time available in F1 both Honda and McLaren can waste little time sitting in the pits as those around them test with impunity. Formula-One-2017-Testing-Barcelona-Hamilton At least Honda were not alone with teething troubles possible co-title favourites Red Bull also suffered a technical issue with Daniel Ricciardo’s car. This didn’t seem to bother team boss Christian Horner who shrugged of the time lost as being nothing more than routine. Ricciardo did end the first day of testing in fifth position. Formula-One-2017-Testing-Barcelona-Ricciardo Williams set the fastest time of the day as the un-retired Felipe Massa proved there is still life for the old guard of F1. Kevin Magnussen who left Renault to join American outfit Hass was a creditable fifth fastest although he did have a minor scrape with a barrier. Formula-One-2017-Testing-Barcelona-Vettel While pre-season testing is vitally important for all teams it is never an accurate gauge for the season proper. Ferrari started last years pre-season in strong form setting fast times but were no where to be seen when it counted most. Barcelona pre-season test-day one-Hamilton We do know that Ferrari likes to grab the headlines to market their brand of roadcars. Mercedes also use F1 to promote their roadcar brand but have managed to find a winning formula, the only time it will become clear who is the fastest is when the first race of the season begins on March 27th. Day One Barcelona pre-season test, March 27th, 2017:  1 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:21.765 2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:21.878 3 Felipe Massa (Brz) Williams 1:22.076 4 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:22.894 5 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:22.926 6 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:23.169 7 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:23.709 8 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso 1:24.494 9 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:24.784 10 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:24.852 11 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber 1:26.841  Formula-One-2017-Testing-Barcelona-Alonso
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