The first 2-day Formula 1 pre-season test of 2022 got underway at Barcelona on this day. And on this day heralded a new dawn, new regulations, and by proxy new-look cars. The regulations pertain to aerodynamics. The new aero-theory is designed to allow cars to follow one another closely without losing positive aero stability from the disturbed air of the car in front. Only time will tell if the new regulations have worked. What we can see is how each team has interpreted the rules, and despite initial analysis leaning towards all cars looking similar, that is definitely not the case at Barcelona.
With rules limiting pre-season testing to a total of 4 days, Formula One has adopted virtual testing in the form of highly advanced simulators to benchmark and analyze their cars. Current simulator technology is far more advanced than at any point in time. And simulators will continue to get ever more powerful and more accurate in modeling the real world in the years to come.
But computer sims are not yet powerful nor omnipotent enough to recreate the instinctive variables mother nature can conjure up. The real world is not a substitute, it is the best simulator there is. Day 1 of pre-season testing is, as in any year, always about systems testing. And because testing is so limited, getting in as many laps as possible is future-proofing the season ahead.
Being the first to start work on the new regulations, or being the first to reveal the new 2022 car does not guarantee success for the campaign ahead. Nor is setting the fastest time of the day a measure of performance. The real test will come at the first race of the season, this is when the real pressure begins as drivers and teams push themselves to the limits.
So to wrap up, day 1 of pre-season testing is thus. Someone posted the fastest time of the day, someone posted the slowest time. As a reference, the Barcelona quali time for 2021 was 1:18 seconds.
Formula Pre-Season Test, Barcelona: Day 1, 2022
1. Lando Norris (McLaren), 1:19.568, C4 [tyres] – 103 laps
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 1:20.165, C3 – 80 laps
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 1:20.416, C3 – 73 laps
4. George Russell (Mercedes), 1:20.784, C3 – 77 laps
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 1:20.929, C3 – 50 laps
6. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 1:21.276, C3 – 52 laps
7. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), 1:21.638, C3 – 121 laps
8. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 1:21.746, C2 – 127 laps
9. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 1:22.246, C2 – 147 laps
10. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), 1:22.572, C3 – 23 laps
11. Alexander Albon (Williams), 1:22.760, C3 – 66 laps
12. Mick Schumacher (Haas), 1:22.962, C3 – 23 laps
13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 1:23.327, C2 – 67 laps
14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 1:23.379, C3 – 66 laps
15. Nikita Mazepin (Haas), 1:24.505, C2 – 20 laps
16. Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo), 1:25.909, C3 – 9 laps