If testing is anything to go by, the 2016 F1™ season is going to be defined in one word: impressive. The last two weeks have been incredibly busy for the 11 teams in Formula 1™. It seems that every single team came to perform. In the few weeks that testing has taken place, we’ve seen more from every team than we have in years prior.
Let’s take into account testing that took place a two years ago, where teams weren’t able to get two or three laps out of their cars with cars not running or breaking down and now we have teams like Toro Rosso running 150-160 laps a day. A DAY! This year’s testing has been amazing.
Mercedes has actually completed a season’s worth of laps in just two weeks of testing, already. It’s only just now that Lewis Hamilton is experiencing a few liability issues with his car. With all the exciting new demonstrations of power that we’ve seen during the winter testing, let’s take a look at the 2016 season and figure out this season’s pecking order.
Has anyone gained ground on Mercedes? What will Ferrari’s version of the halo head protection concept do for them? Who is leading in this year’s testing? It's almost time for the 2016 Formula One™ season to kick off in Australia, which means we are about to see the results of what the teams have been frantically working on.
Check out Part 1 of our Australia Preview
After a sickly-looking season in 2015, it had been all change over at Manor, most notably in the renaming of the team formerly known as Manor Marussia. The ownership has also changed, as well as engine supplier, from Ferrari to Mercedes. They clearly liked Mercedes as they selected two drivers with previous affliliation with Mercedes, in German 21-year-old Pascal Wehrlien and Indonesia’s first-ever F1 driver, Rio Haryanto.
During the winter testing weeks Toro Rosso proved that it can run (to the surprise of many a team this year). Running more laps than anyone predicted gives new hopes to fans as the testing suggests that they will be right among the pack behind Mercedes and Ferrai and, with the incredibly talented teenager Verstappen, behind the wheel Toro Rosso could even top Red Bull. Toro Rosso is quietly awaiting the opportunity to race among the leaders of the pack and this could very well be the year they do.
Having stepped back to become simply an engine supplier in 2011, this season marks the return of Renault as a full works team after they completed a takeover of Lotus. The French team has gone with two new drivers for their return, with Dane Kevin Magnussen, who had one season with McLaren in 2014, being joined by British newcomer Joylon Palmer.
Red Bull Racing
For such a young team, Red Bull Racing has seen a lot of success. However, last year the team was held back by power issues with its Renault engine. Daniel Ricciardo and Danill Kvyat unfortunately really struggled in the last few races of the 2015 championship, here’s to hoping the vast improvements they’ve shown in the winter testing is an indication of how the 2016 season will fare for them.
Having succeeded Luca di Montzemolo last year, new Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne made it very clear that success in Formula 1 is a top priority, and early signs in testing would suggest the Italians have the pace to challenge Mercedes. With its shortened nose, Ferrari’s engineers have fitted the car with pushrod suspension for the first time in four years.
See F1™ in Austin!
See the world’s most complex and innovative vehicles put to the test as they compete on one of the most exciting and challenging tracks in Formula 1! If you’re an F1™ fan, you already know that COTA is one of the most popular tracks on the calendar. It’s one of just four anti-clockwise tracks on the schedule, featuring 19 turns and a 133-foot climb into a blind left turn. Last year’s championship was decided at Circuit of The Americas, will we see a repeat this year? Be there and find out for yourself!