Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 12. maaliskuuta 2017

The 2017 season preview

Finally F1 is back after the long winter hibernation! The allowed eight days of pre-season testing are now complete. But what conclusions can be drawn in terms of the teams´ pecking order?

Obvious was the fact, that there were two teams, which stood out of the crowd -Mercedes and Ferrari. In terms of the lap times Ferrari lead the way. Finnish Ferrari ace Kimi Räikkönen was the only driver to go below 1m 19s around the Circuit de Catalunya. The lap time is extremely impressive, as it is 3 seconds faster than Hamilton´s pole mark last year at Barcelona! Mercedes, Williams and Red Bull were all within a second of the Iceman. Only two teams were more than two seconds off the pace -McLaren and Sauber. Also worth noting is that Kimi clocked his fastest lap time on the super soft tyre compound, which isn´t even the fastest tyre.

In terms of reliability the power unit played a significant role. Mercedes was the team that went furthest -they ran 1096 laps, which equals 5102 km. Bottas was the driver with the most mileage -completing 628 laps! Ferrari was the runner-up in terms of the lap count -they completed 956 laps, which equals 4450 km. Vettel was the one with more mileage in terms of the Ferrari duo; the German completed 591 laps. All in all, the teams with Mercedes or Ferrari power unit made longer distances compared to Renault- or Honda-powered teams. Red Bull´s pace seemed kind of hidden due to the technical issues concerning their power unit. McLaren Honda stood out of the crowd clearly -and not in a positive way. They suffered from severe reliability issues related to the Honda power unit and they were able to put together only 425 laps.

So what is the pecking order in terms of 2017´s faster F1 cars? Everyone still seems to think that Mercedes is the team to beat this year as well. On the other hand, there has been a lot of talk about Ferrari´s strong-looking performance. Especially the SF70-H´s innovative sidepod design has been the subject of much discussion. Unfortunately the real answers will come not until in Melbourne. Last year Ferrari were topping the time sheets in the pre-season tests, but as the season got underway, they turned out to be clearly off Mercedes´ pace. So clocking the fastest lap time in the winter tests is no guarantee of a victorious season. This time, though, my intuition says that this is going to be a successful season for the Scuderia!

I can´t wait for the lights to go out at Melbourne. The starts will become even more demanding for the drivers, as there has been a regulation change considering new limits on clutch control and the movement and location of the paddles. The biggest change comes in how the paddle on the steering wheel now controls the clutch, because there now has to be a linear torque control. This means the probability of a poor start increases significantly, as the start is now 100 % up to the driver.

The new wider tyres is an interesting factor as well. They are said to be longer-lasting than last year´s Pirellis, which probably means fewer pit stops this season. How about overtaking then? Will it be easier or more difficult with the new wider cars? All this remains to be seen, as the season gets underway!

How about Valtteri Bottas, who replaced the reigning world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes? It seems that the fast Finn has adapted extremely well to the new team, and his performance in the tests has been impressive. How about the fight against his extremely fast teammate? I can´t wait to see Bottas taking the battle to the three-time world champion!

I have to say that at this point, everything looks promising in terms of Ferrari´s performance. I hope this will be the red season, that all tifosi have been passionately waiting for! I´ve really missed all the emotions caused by Formula 1 racing -the intoxicating feeling after Sebastian´s or Kimi´s stunning overtaking move or even victory; on the other hand the disappointment after their mistake or technical failure, which has made me support these red-suited drivers even more. Hopefully there will be an emotional season with many races won by Ferrari!

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti