Valtteri Bottas tops 2017 F1 testing day three, Ferrari close on harder tyres
Valtteri Bottas
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  01 Mar 2017   |  5:51 pm GMT  |  152 comments

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time of the third day of Formula 1 pre-season testing using the ultrasoft tyres, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended the day with a best time just 0.247s behind the Finn on the soft compound rubber.

The drivers were pushing more today, with a fourth and final day set to be set aside for wet tyre testing on a dampened track.

It was another encouraging day for the Italian squad, which has had a clean test so far with both drivers.

Bottas, who handed over to Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon running, worked his way through the three softest tyres in Pirelli’s range as he put in stints on the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft tyres during the 75 laps he completed during the morning session.

His best effort, which was also the fastest time seen so far during pre-season testing for the 2017 season, was a 1m19.705s, which came on the first lap of a five lap run on Ultras as the Finn focussed mainly on short runs after a race distance yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel, who was back behind the wheel of Ferrari’s SF70H after his teammate Kimi Raikkonen topped the times during yesterday’s running, started out completing runs on the medium tyres during the morning before switching to the softs in the afternoon.

The four times world champion’s best lap was a 1m19.952s on the first lap of a three lap run on softs, he had a cool down lap and then tried a second lap which was 4/10ths slower. Vettel had been doing 10-12 lap runs in the 1m 22s prior to that, which is likely to have been on 30-40kg of fuel. Ferrari’s long run race pace from yesterday was more like 1m24s and 1m 25s.

Vettel’s time was – 1.008s faster than Raikkonen’s quickest lap yesterday – as he completed 139 tours of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the most of any single driver.

For the second day in a row Red Bull finished third quickest after Daniel Ricciardo put in a 1m21.153s shortly before the lunch break on the first flying lap of a five lap run on softs. He also did a 20 lap long run in the 1m 24s range during the afternoon, which broadly matched what Raikkonen did on Tuesday.

But after that the team was forced to spend much of the rest of the afternoon investigating an exhaust issue that meant the Australian driver only added 22 laps to his morning total.

Jolyon Palmer

Renault gave its drivers Jolyon Palmer and Nico Hulkenberg half a day each in the RS17 and they finished fourth and fifth on the timesheets after completing 51 and 42 laps respectively. Palmer caused the first red flag stoppage of the morning session when he spun off on the approach to Turn 3 shortly after the day got underway.

Marcus Ericsson gave Sauber its highest testing ranking so far as he closed the day in sixth place after using the red-walled supersoft tyres to set his best time during a series of short runs near the end of the morning session.

Romain Grosjean was eighth fastest for Haas F1, one place behind Hamilton, who completed 95 laps during his half day in the WO8, which gave Mercedes a total of 170. Like Bottas did yesterday, the triple world champion spent much if his time completing a race simulation.

Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll was given another day of running for Williams after his spin through the gravel yesterday meant he only completed 12 laps. While he did manage a further 98 today, the Canadian driver did cause a red flag as he ended up in the gravel at the very end of the morning session.

Things got worse for the 18-year-old later on when he crashed at the exit of Turn 5 with just under two hours of the day remaining. The incident damaged the front of his FW40 and forced Williams to call an early halt to its running for the second day in succession.

Fernando Alonso was finally able to rack up some significant mileage in McLaren’s MCL32, which struggled with power unit problems during the previous two days of running. The Spaniard completed 72 laps, with his best time 2.893s behind Bottas’, which he also set on the ultrasoft tyre. But Honda clearly had the engine turned down a bit as Alonso was 13km/h slower through the speed traps than the benchmark cars.

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz finished 11th for Toro Rosso – he completed 32 laps in the afternoon and caused a red flag when he stopped in the gravel at Turn 4 – after his teammate Daniil Kvyat’s drove for 31 laps in the morning. Force India’s Alfonso Celis Jr split the Toro Rosso drivers in 12th place, as the Mexican driver managed 70 laps in the VJM10.

Barcelona test one, day three, results:

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m19.705s, 75 laps (ultrasofts)
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.952s +0.247s, 139 laps (softs)
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m21.153s +1.448s, 70 laps (softs)
4 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m21.396s +1.691s, 51 laps (softs)
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m21.791s +2.086s, 42 laps (softs)
6 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m21.824s +2.119s, 126 laps (supersoft)
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.090s +2.385s, 95 laps (softs)
8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1m22.118s +2.413s, 56 laps (supersoft)
9 Lance Stroll Williams 1m22.351s +2.646s, 98 laps (softs)
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m22.598s +2.893s, 72 laps (ultrasofts)
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m23.540s +3.835s, 32 laps (mediums)
12 Alfonso Celis Force India 1m23.568s +3.863s, 71 laps (supersoft)
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m23.952s +4.247s, 31 laps (mediums)

What do you make of the times from the third day of testing? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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From the footage I've seen the cars don't look amazing like we were promised.


Agreed, pure marketing spin. Also, the extra 2-3 seconds increased speed means nothing to me watching if the cars can't even race each other because of the wake.


Let's put today's Ultrasoft 1:19.705 PU testing lap in perspective with this Soft tire lap by Webber in actual session that counts.


Sebee, very impressive, but Seb went faster than that on the soft tyres yesterday, in testing!


Massa went 3.5s faster than pole in a 2008 test at Catalunya as noted below. Don't be so excited about these Ferrari fastest laps in testing.

Bottom line is Webber was .3s away in actual qualifying 7 years ago with narrower and harder tires.


Sebee, that lap of Massa's was to test the slicks for the following year, so not a representative time for a car that satisfied that years regs. None of the Bridgestone compounds were as hard as the Pirellis.....


Wow, that's one heck of an impressive improvement just with tires. Which is exactly what we have here in 2017. Cars have not gotten faster. Tires have gotten faster.


Fatsest time set in the first test last year was 1:22.810. Fastest time set this year was 1:19.705. However you cut it Sebee, that's three seconds quicker.


Faster tyres and faster cars Sebee.


Watching that video has ruined my day, i miss the old engines so much, its not just about the awesome sound that's now missing it's the way the drivers used the narrow high rpm power band. The hybrids give no essence of speed on the onboard cam, it "almost" looks too easy!


The only perspective you need is that Bottas' fast lap today is just as impressive as Lewis' fast laps on day 1 and 2.


But Vettel's 1:19.952 on the Softs is faster than the qualifying record set by Barrichello in 2009 (albeit by a mere 0.002), and it is reasonable to expect the 2017 qualifying times to be somewhat faster than Day 3 of winter testing.


Ferrari have a history of setting very fast laps here that couldn't be repeated in actual races.

In April 2008 Massa did 1:18.339 in a Spain test. Meanwhile, Kimi pole in April 2008 was 1:21.813. So going faster than they will under Grand Prix weekend rules and requirements seems to be the Ferrari MO. Happened in 2016 too.


Sebee, Massa did that testing lap on slicks, which were not yet used that season. Q3 times in 2008 were with fuel on board for the first stint of the race, if I remember correctly, so with heavier cars. Massa posted a 1:20.584 in Q2 that year. Difference between testing and qualifying was entirely down to the tyres (slick vs grooved).


Massa's 1:18.339 in April 2008 was set on slick tyres that were being tested ahead of their reintroduction in 2009. Needless to say this lap isn't representative of actual 2008-spec cars, which ran on grooved tyres.

Ferrari were faster in 2016 pre-season testing than 2016 qualifying, sure, but you have to keep in mind that in pre-season testing they were free to run whatever tyre they liked. Their fastest time was set on Ultra Softs if I recall, while the Soft tyres were the softest available for use during the actual race weekend. Assuming the Soft tyres will be used again this year, Vettel's 1:19.952 on the Softs gives us a pretty reliable benchmark that we can expect to be beaten.


Great illustration of what a tire can do, and aligns with my feeling that the speedup here is entirely due to tires, not these new cars and shark fins.


Maybe the track conditions were different? Very cold weather boost engine power, especially with naturally aspirated car. Turbo on the other hand is less susceptible to temp variations.


Believe that is to colder track to an extent. Does not apply to Ferrari only. Marc


Yes, there are some noses left and shark fins are ugly. But I overall, I think they are awesome.

Mercedes is absolutely huge ( length 5200 mm!) what kind of makes it even more impressive. Ferrari's red color combined with those massive black wheels looks badass. Toro Rosso looks like a proper race car! That makes me proud. And Kimi still knows what he is doing so.. season 2017 will be amazing!


The joys and benefits of the small screen. In real life they do look bigger, better and meaner, but the camera has a habit of distorting many things, like size, perspective (hills don't look steep for instance), so although the cars are different they are substantially the same shape so the camera will not pick up the difference. We will just have to see what happens in competition.


I'm sorry did I miss something? Where were we promised that the cars would look amazing (which is subjective anyway)? They look like F1 cars. What were you expecting? They are wider, the rear wing is lower and the front wing swept back. That's all I heard they were going to be.


Have you seen the fin on the Renault? It's absolutely massive!


I think a picture of upcoming awesomeness was painted in our minds and these cars aren't living up to it. Between the nutty length, the heaviness, the sound, the shark fins and the lap times that are matching V8s from nearly a decade ago...well, it is underwhelming.

What's also a turn off is the hype. Rosberg talking about how these cars will make drivers into proper gladiators. Really? First, how would he know? Second, Webber was doing these times in actual quali sessions with 1 less gear, no KERS, and narrower and harder tires. Alonso yesterday talking about how these are proper race cars when he hasn't posted a respectable lap that bettered his 2016 time in Spain yet, and today he flip-flops and points out how the cars take even more away from driver ability to contribute.

It's 2017. This is Formula 1. We demand everything, and at these budget levels, they should be able to deliver absolute perfection to Formula 1 fans around the world. The racing. The speed. The power. The sound. The fair competition. The competitive field. When I switch on the TV, it's like an order in a restaurant. And when my platter arrives, it should have what I ordered. Otherwise, I'm going to eat elsewhere.


Sebee, I like the look of the new cars, and I think that the lap times they are setting are extremely impressive. You keep searching for the negatives if you like, but I will continue to enjoy the sport, just as I always have.


Sport? Since when is engineering a sport?


Sebee, the engineers contribute to the sporting competition between the teams.


well said Seebee


"They look like F1 cars"

Finally. And even that by itself is a triumph for F1 given what we've had to endure since 2009, aesthetic-wise.


Yep, you seem to have missed a lot here. One of the targets was a meaner , faster looking car. Look for the comments made last year..
The shark fin alone is to prove this target was lost already.


They look good from the front down low ground level. Unfortunately, we'll never see them like that on the TV feed.

The second you get 3/4 view or heavens forbid a side shot of these looooong things the hideousness is revealed. Poor scale. Too long. Sark fin garbage. Personally I think they should put a rhino horn on the noses to go with it.


And my point is that what you may regard as looking meaner and or looking faster may not be what I or someone else does. It's subjective. The shark fins (which I think are hideous but other people like) and extra fiddly bits are a surprise but to me we broadly have what was described and what mock ups looked like. We knew the cars would be wider, we knew they'd be heavier, we could have worked out they'd be longer. A sweeping front and rear wing was always going to make a bigger car. I can't understand the surprise. What exactly were you expecting that hasn't been delivered?


Can we all agree that an MP4-20 or F2004 with these slick wider tires would be just what the doctor ordered?


I am starting to feel quietly confident that Ferrari has a better than descent car. While they might still be somewhat off the Mercedes car, l don't believe it will be by much. Hopefully close enough to give the silver arrows and Red Bulls a good fight. Kewping my fingers crossed. Marc

Devils Advocate

Would agree to the comments @Cometef1 if this was a first time for Ferrari, however the bitter truth is they usually come to Barcelona for the testing and put on a great show, then they just can't translate that into race wins during the season.

I do believe that at best they would be 3rd fastest on the grid, as mentioned by a post below.


They will disappoint like every other year


Just a note of caution: air temps in Barcelona are only around 15C, and track temps barely 20C. That's hardly representational of a normal grand prix weekend!

Point is, how will the new Big Mac slicks work under a hot and sweaty sun? By the time the grand prix circus returns to Barcelona in mid May for the opening round of the European leg of the championship, a hot sunny day usually means track temps in the mid 40s - which can make a car feel totally different (and not in a good way......)


I wish you were right but I think they are showboating. Red Bull may be sandbagging so that lead me to believe that Ferrari will be at best 3rd fastest.


I agree, The boys in red need some good tabloids for the Italian media so a low fuel run can take care of that. Mercedes are probably once again managing their gap. Mercedes will dominate again this year, Bottas for 2017 WDC.


RedBull sandbagging: I agree. But if you look at the live trackers from Gary Anderson has provided some insightful comments. Mainly around how the cars behave turn1-2-3 and he says the Ferrari looks phenomenal. It doesn't move, even on older tires whereas the Mercedes and the Red Bull do. On the latter, he suspects all the Renault powered teams to run in some sort of "safe" engine mode.


Ferrari are in the exact same situation as testing last year and they didn't have a good 2016. So it's better to keep expectations low.


True, but they also looked good in 2015 testing and DID have a good season...

Plus, as mentioned, Ferrari's start to 2016 was actually not too bad, but they lost ground as the season progressed. This is the bigger question for this year. Based on the very limited information so far, it appears that Ferrari may be starting in a good place, but will they be better able to maintain development this year? There was some significant disruption last year (e.g. Allison's departure), so MAYBE this year will be more straightforward for the Scuderia?

Jonathan Deitrick

If I remember correctly last year in testing Ferrari were never able to run faster times than merc on a harder compound. They would showboat on supersofts and ultrasofts which they've yet to even run! But it's still testing. I think Ferrari has a pretty decent car, I didn't think they would get into 1:19s as quick and on softs


They were in a position to win a couple of the early races in 2016, like Australia

And this year there will be a ton of development, so don't give up yet!


Yes, they shoot on their own foot by GREAT STRATEGY CALLS in 2016.


Did you ever find out what happened to the Ferrari development last year? It just seemed to come to a halt when James Allisons wife died and even after he returned. Did they secretly ditch development to focus on this year?

Tornillo Amarillo

Australia's win is for Valteri Bottas!!!
It is written, but not sure where...

Go Bottas!


I've given up.

Mercedes are unbeatable...but maybe slightly more beatable than the last 3 years.


I have a feeling they are even stronger, bottas will be the weakness.


Also China, Vettel or Raikkonen should have been on pole.


Everytime I find my self dreaming about Ferrari beating Mercedes i get so excitied.. but at the same time I have this feeling that something is not quite right. Like the feeling when you are receiving a call from unknown number telling you have won in the lottery. Or a too good looking girl offering you a drink in a bar. That does'nt happen in real life!


We don't really need Ferrari to outright beat Mercedes this year. As long as Ferrari and RedBull are there or there abouts and are able to challenge Mercedes on a regular basis, and steal wins from them and we end up with 3 or 4 drivers in with a shot of the championship come Abu Dhabi, the year will be a success, even if Mercedes ends up winning the championships again.


@ Luke c..... 'it will not be a success if mercedes walk, again, with both WC's'. It will be a disaster. We need to see different teams take the championships more often for the series to be considered successful IMO of course.


So far at the front everything looks like this time last year.
Merc will be ahead, then for the first couple of races Ferrari will be next, followed by Red Bull.
Red bull will overtake Ferrari few races into season...and, I'm afraid, only really interesting to watch will be midfield, unfortunately not enough followed by TV (unless Liberty changes that.


Spot on, me thinks


It's amazing how the narrative has gone from Ferrari will suck this year to it's just like last year. I don't get the same sense. Last year was a disaster because I think there was a lot of turmoil at Ferrari. However, since last August, Ferrari seems to have really committed themselves to this year's car and followed through. It appears as though the designers were given the keys to the crown jewels and told to go for it and that is what they did. Not with a lot of fanfare but with a sense of purpose and deliberateness that they have sorely lacked in the past. I think the new specs gave Ferrari an opportunity to be aggressive and creative in their approach to the SF70. This year just might be different.


These cars are properly quick! Seb managed a 1:19.952 on the soft tyre? More impressive than Valterri's effort in my view, I can't wait to see what kind of times they will do in race and qualifying trim.
Bit of a nightmare for young Lawrence, binning it three times in two days is not good. If he does serious damage to the car, do Williams have another they could use for the remainder of testing?

Tornillo Amarillo

Go Lance!!! 98 laps!!!
Canada GP until 2029!!! Told you


Properly quick, but properly ugly! Goodness, apart from the Merc, the Class of 2017 are a bunch of mangled apes. Trying to say something positive about the appearance of the new machines is like trying to something positive about the appearence Angela Merkel or, well, I guess they've got sparkling white teeth I suppose......

No point in being quicker if it makes everyone's eyes bleed with the ugliness!

Devils Advocate

Trying to say something positive about the appearance of the new machines is like trying to something positive about the appearence Angela Merkel or Obama

Since you raised this comparison, I think the McLaren with their livery would be the "Trump" of the lot 😉


Gazboy, I like them! Much better than last years efforts. Each to their own I suppose.


Properly quick, but properly ugly!!!

Apart from the Merc, the Class of 2017 are a horrible bunch of mangled apes.

Stephen Taylor

You mean Lance. Lawrence is his billionaire dad.


Williams will be glad that Lance's dad is a billionaire. They need his money to pay for all the damage his son has caused.
Could we be seeing the emergence of a successor to Crashtor Maldonado?


Stephen, good point! Bit of a nightmare for both of them I suppose.

Stephen Taylor

You see Sebee these cars do look capable of 1 min.18s.


DYK that in testing Massa did low 1:18s April 2008.


Lewis can get the Merc into the 1m18s. No question about that.

Tornillo Amarillo

At 288 max speed Lance is the quickest, go!


brake, Lance, brake!

Tornillo Amarillo

Maybe 1min 17 ? I think.


We're still nearly 2s way from 1:18, and not that this 1:19.705 was done on Ultra Soft tires.

I have a feeling this entire season they will give much softer tires to everyone at all tracks to make the times look better.

What I'm also EXTREMELY interested in, is what the actual official fastest lap times look like compared to poles. Race distance simulations seem to indicate a 6s difference there still. Meaning, again they will try to steal fast lap claims with unofficial pole times, when the Sunday fastest lap is what counts.


It looks like "what we learned today" contradicts "what we learned" yesterday?


So far I have the feeling that the Merc advantage was bigger in the previous two years.
So I don't expect a domination this year, unless Merc keep extracting more performance in Q3 session, when V-Tec just kicked in. xP


Lewis about his new car... 1000x better than last year. I think we are fooling ourselves hoping a 2017 order breakthrough. Merc is cooking something.


Surely all they drivers are going to think they are miles better than last year as the cars have all essentially gone up to a higher category.


@ you really think any of these teams have tipped their hands? Mercedes haven't turned up the wick yet and neither have red bull.


I think Ferrari are now the team to beat. Those times on harder tyres must have sent shock waves through the Mercedes garage and the paddock as a whole. Seems Vettel has managed to follow in the footsteps of Schumacher and will now want to match his idol on winning with Ferrari.


What you been smokin' kobe?


Or Mercedes are quietly confident, knowing that they're setting those times with a hefty fuel load, or with the engine turned down significantly, or whatever.

It's the first few days of testing. We'll get a better idea in the closing days of the last test when the cars are looking more like they will in Melbourne and the teams are actually going for performance.


You can see underlying car pace from testing

But quali pace is different especially with hybrid, engine modes etc and we won't see that until Melbourne


My heart dropped when I saw Bottas' times this morning but that was before Vettel's soft run!

I'd say Ferrari are genuinely looking more impressive than last year's tests when they only really topped the times running softer rubber. All depends how much fuel they're running. But after last season's major disappointment it would be surprising and idiotic if they were running light!

Devils Advocate

Again, as much as I would like to think that they are that great, Melbourne will be the true test. As mentioned above, these times are feeding the Italian Press that so needs some good news from the Ferrari camp. If they do not put in a good performance come Melbourne, we might be looking at a similar 2016 season for the Prancing Horse.

To add to the above, I still believe that both Merc and RBR have not played their aces yet and come Melbourne, the true colors will start shinning.


'Merc and RBR have not played their aces yet'

But you think Ferrari have in the first 3 days of test 1?

Devils Advocate

But you think Ferrari have in the first 3 days of test 1?

Not saying that they have, however they did come out strong in testing before (as early as last season) then couldn't convert that "great" outing to race wins


Worth a punt on Kimi? If he gets some Rosberg luck over Vettel, then who knows?


If he feels comfortable with these cars like he used to then why not? Out of the candidates for the WDC he is the most attractive at 20/1, worth an each way punt. He was 50/1 before the test started. Vettel is 9/1 and the RB boys slightly shorter.

Interestingly Alonso was 15/1 before the test started and has now drifted to 66/1!


Who would put money on Alonso even at 66/1?!? For Kimi to win it would take some god awful luck to befall Seb. If it was a Ferrari in-house battle, I reckon Kimi would stand zero chance. Kimi is likely out after this year, so Ferrari would manufacture a win for Seb if it came to that.

For Kimi to win, Seb would have to suffer some severe bad luck early on, and Ferrari would have to be in a death match struggle against Mercedes, such that they'd have to back Kimi fully throughout.


Without doubt they are. Vettel's soft time was .155 faster than Bottas'. I believe Bottas' was a 6 lap run, while Vettel's was a 4 lap run.

Shanghai Cowboy

I feel sorry for Williams. While other teams are suffering from expected technical woes, they are suffering from payed driver woes. Didn't they learn the lesson from clinging on to Crashtor?

I am sure that RBR will soon iron their creases and create an epic 6 way battle for the 2017 WDC. Hope this will be a decent 2012 style season.


I think Williams would be delighted if they could win a race this season. For the last 3 years they have had a better car than what Maldonado ever had but not won.

Also, I don't recall Maldonado crashing 3 times in a days testing.


To be fair, Stroll has actually won stuff in his junior career.

I'm wondering if maybe it's a sign of an end to the days of fast-tracking kids to an F1 seat. If the jump from the juniors to F1 is significant enough again that the upcoming drivers will actually need the years of experience and a proper progression through the categories, more like Vandoorne had.

Devils Advocate

As long as Stroll Sr. is paying the bill, Jr. and other rich kids will find that fast track into F1.


Those t-wings have to go, they're horrible. It's like some sort of storm chaser gadgetry.

Pirelli estimating that pole in Spain this year will be in the 1:17's.


if the prediction of 3-5 sec per lap average quicker over most circuits,will they extend the lap count to compensate for the grand prix finishing earlier?? i havent seen anyone ask this question,correct me if im wrong thanks.


No they won't. First complete lap over 305km.


Storm Chaser gadgetry. What a hilarious comparison.

RIP Bill Paxton, who would have appreciated the gadget most.


Can you please include some disclaimer mentioning it is not entirely correct to read too much into shown times?

I do not say someone is sandbagging, not at all, rather no one is pursuing top times. So, when we have Mercedes on ultras .2s faster than Ferrari on softs, it doesn't mean Ferrari or Mercedes is truly faster.
Today we had more than a second shoven from yesterday's times, on similar tires... this is both for consideration, and a point to doubters we have faster cars on our hands. And it was only the 3rd day.


Sauber must be sandbagging 😉

Devils Advocate

Sauber must be sandbagging 😉

Too good. Manor are probably sandbagging too in the stands


I was going to write a longer post trying to explain a thought that is kicking around in my head, but instead, I'll just ask a question...

How much (if any) of the Ferrari is the work of James Allison? How early did he start on the 2017 project (if at all), and in hindsight, does put the "dismal" Ferrari 2016 campaign in a different light?

The reason I ask is because James Allison once said that his goal at Ferrari was to break their culture of "Robbing the future Peter to pay the Current Paul". Basically, their culture of spending too much energy trying to win a championship that was already lost, instead of looking ahead and getting ahead.


I doubt he had much input at all.

3 1/2 day week before suffering the devastation of losing his wife in March.

His return in May was short lived and he was gone by June.

I seriously doubt he had any input into this year's car.


He is a disciple of Ross Brawn, so he's a long term planner


Pity he wasn't a 24/7 man like brawn.

I appreciate his personal loss last year but all sources claim that he was there merely half the week prior to his trauma.

Brawn also had a history of success dating back to Beneton and even Jaguar before that.

Allison has hung off the coat tails of other directors and when he's been in charge at Lotus and Ferrari you'd have to question his actual direction. A car that's good for third place overall.


That's pretty harsh

He was in charge and present before his loss


Sorry, James. I noticed later that this question was already asked on your blog, and so it was a bit redundant.

I'm very interested now to see how this Ferrari goes in Melbourne, and very cautious about its development potential knowing the man behind the concept is now with their main rival.

That being said, knowing he probably had more input than I originally suspected, I have a bit more confidence in what I am seeing from them in testing.


13kmh doesnt compute with nearly 3 seconds deficit. Several on track observers reported the McLaren having huge handling issues, even with a down tuned engine. They are having huge problems and not just with their engine.


13 km/h is just one point on the lap. You have to assume the performance is lacking on every straight and acceleration zone.
If this is added to poor handling characteristics then 3 seconds is not difficult to explain.


13kmh difference is the same as Ricciardo had on Hamilton last year in qualifying, and that difference was not 3 seconds but 0.8, so McLaren is really really slow.


Interestingly, after today's running, Rosberg reckons Ferrari are Mercedes' closest challengers as Red Bull are a little bit off the pace

And what is encouraging for Ferrari is they seem to work the harder tyres better than previous seasons.

Otherwise, another successful test for both Ferrari and Mercedes with high mileage and this time they were joined by Sauber in the century club so well done to the private team

Who also impressed on the day was rookie Celis for despite being a newbie he was able to tame these monster machines

Overall, as is usually the case, the midfield is where the fun will be at as these groups of people tend to be as fast as each other


"Overall, as is usually the case, the midfield is where the fun will be at..." - tell that to Senna, Schumacher, Prost, Alonso, Hamilton..., - It feels just wrong, doesn`t it? F1 marketing apartment did a very good job telling fans to look another way and concentrate on some pseudo competition away from the very top.

It doesn`t bode well when Ferrari is the main challenger to champions. They have lost it every time in last decade except 2007 when McLaren tried to make both their drivers 2007 champions.


They should have outright supported Hamilton, the faster and more talented of the two.


@ erik

Hahaha yes, the midfielders don't have so many resources therefore they tend to be closely matched and if the front of the grid is boring, the FOM cameras have to look elsewhere to entertain the fans


Interesting about working the harder tyre now.

Without counting chickens, if qualifying means Mercedes beating Ferrari by using softer tyres then race strategy could be very interesting with Ferrari running longer.


@ Herowassenna

In theory this is correct however, Ferrari has struggled with strategy for quite sometime unless of course, they have got better strategy people recently


Rosberg also reckons that with these cars F1 drivers are gladiators again. ...And the websites eat it up like a baby eats minced carrots. Meanwhile, we've barely beaten V8 quali time from 7 years ago.


@ Sebee

Sweet, if F1 drivers are gladiators once again, this means they will truly earn their wages and cherish their points a lot more


Read Alonso comment below. He argues the exact opposite about driver making a difference.


If they really want to bring the lap times down, they should get rid of that crappy chicane at the end of the lap. That final corner used to be (as Martin Brundle would say) mighty, but they ruined it by adding that mickey mouse section.

Gabo Rochinotti

Agreed, but we know why it was added: to make it easier for cars to follow each other coming into the main straight, so there can be more overtaking at the end of the straight. Every track that was not built by Tilke had to adapt to this trend. It's the ongoing Tilkenization of F1 circuits. I wonder when will they try to insert a chicane before the Parabolica at Monza. "Save the Parabolica!" will be our motto.


Couldn't agree more.


TAG McLaren International and Honda = ambitious, but rubbish.

13 KPH slower is around 8 MPH in old money............that's a hell of a lot of straightline performance to give away even if the Honda PU is on Chicken Korma One Chilli mode. That's a deficit of at least 80 BHP to the Merc power unit - and that's 8 tenths in racing speak. McHonda have a huge amount of catching up to do - Jenson Button must be counting his lucky stars he walked away from what could be a soul destroying interminable slog of a season!


Button shouldn't get too comfortable. There's an awkward conversation ahead when Alonso tells the team he's not racing that pile of junk, and they turn to Button to fill the seat.


Looks like Ferrari have a strong car, but it also appears they may have put their fast laps in on half the fuel load of Mercedes. It's great to see they have a strong car, but I still believe the Merc could go up to a second quicker than Ferrari on out-and-out pace, when it comes to it.
My dream is to have a major shake up and see Ferrari lock out the front row of the grid in Oz


McHonda still don't seem to have made that hoped-for break-through, but for me the big question/disappointment after 3 days is why the beautiful Toro Rosso is so slow?


Interesting feedback....

"On the other hand, with the technology we have now, with the current aerodynamic packages, the engines, I think the driver is even less important," Alonso added.

"I think this year a few corners are disappearing and so if last year you had 20 horse power less and lost three or four tenths, this year you might lose half a second."


Alonso seems lost in his analyses. Probably because of his total disappointment in Mclaren.


He also said if these tyres where on the 2004 cars they would do 1:14's because of how much lighter they were.


I don't doubt that at all.


It seems to me that Mercedes are trying very hard to top the timesheets every day of testing. They throw on ultra softs to set a time when almost everyone else is comfortable enough to work through their testing program without worrying about being on top. It's like they are desperate to prove that they still have an advantage over everyone else, "don't even bother turning up guys, we have you covered again this year".

As for looks I think the cars are so much better this year, wide and low, with big wheels. But they still sound like a fart in a jar.


Looks like we have a new Maldonado.Red Bull sandbagging bigtime with Renault so close.


And Williams were considering to provide extra time for the lost track time from the money paid from his dad's pocket



At this point I won't be surprised if Lewis wins every single race.

Ferrari look reasonable, but, déjà vu.

Red Bull, meh.

McLaren... wonder when Alonso is going to jack it in. Car looks to be a dog, even before you get to the Honda bit.


I read a lot of comments saying mercedes is sandbagging and ferrari not as fast as mercedes. But by the same time ferrari is on the slower tire compound.

So if ferrari is able to do 1'19" on soft without pushing like creasy so mercedes is able to do low 1'18 on soft tire, 1'16"-1'17" on SuperSoft and in full qualification mode perhaps low 1'16" ...

These numbers are incredibles

Can't wait to see these cars on full power in quali simulation... we might get some new lap records this year


Just watched sky coverage and it is thought that the cars will be another 2 seconds faster next week with fuel pumped out. Set up work and engines turned up. 😊. The cars should be spectacular around Silverstone.


James do you have any info on what power levels the 4 engine manufacturers are at and what developments they have in the pipeline?


Very hard to get

Merc must be at 1,000 by now on full beans
Ferrari close and Renault great job


Notice how James left out the 4th manufacturer 😎 they are a non-story.... silence is golden. Honestly would anyone have even noticed Mclaren last year if it weren't for the two world champions in the car? I wonder..


'Silence is golden'. I hear you eric.


That should be the title of your 2017 Retrospective: "Battle of the Beans".


James, are you going to do an article on the reports that one team has been asked to change its suspension design; the report also indicates that the FIA team, which is inspecting the suspension designs, has already asked the one team to change their design! It further goes on to say that the FIA inspection team has not yet inspected the Red Bull's suspension.
I read this to be a straight-forward presentation that that it was Mercedes who was inspected, and asked to change the design.

As hoped, by me, Ross Brawn is already proving our hopes in him: the article, by Jonathan Noble, quotes Ross as saying something like, this is the perfect example of something that costs a ridiculous amount, and won't change the spectacle.
As I mentioned before, it is only advantageous if your main rivals don't also have it; if they do, all, or most, advantage is negated, and the cost is probably in the tens of millions!
Go Ross, go!
Some sanity, rather than wait for a challenge to the stewards on the design of the winning team's suspension!
Quel grand fou!


The faster and more aggressive the cars are the better the drivers need to be. If drivers are better then we get better action. A faster F1 is a better F1. Simple as. A 1:19:7 so early on in testing is great news for those who desire to see f1 a challenging sport once more. How much faster can they go? Could we see 1.17 by the end of testing? And then how much more faster will they be when these cars return in late spring for the Grand Prix? It's going to be fascinating!

Young Lance Stroll is showing his struggles early on, something Verstappen didn't have to go through in the previous F1 generation of cars. I don't doubt that Verstappen would have found it much more difficult hence the reason why we rarely saw teenagers make the grid in the 00s..unless you were Jenson Button in which case he had to take about 2-3 years before he got fully up to speed in f1. No doubting those first couple of seasons were quite tough for the 09 champ which is why we should be patient with Lance Stroll.

Also given the extra grip and downforce these cars now have does that mean that come a wet race we won't need to put up with the tragic sight of the safety car leading the pack for 30 odd laps? With the greater grip these cars are generating will mean greater ability in the wet? So less of the sanitised parades that have become a feature of racing in the wet in recent years?


Young Lance is going to make alot of highlight clips


Lance is showing that the sport isn't easy. No longer can any young driver can just turn up and race and be on the pace.


What stroll is showing me is that these cars are difficult to drive and not just any kid can jump in and be fast straight away. To me that is a massive positive for the sport. It's showing the F1 is not easy. Over the last few years with the drivers getting younger and younger it started to appear all too easy.


So the real news is that the cars are still slower than they were in 2008! (Massa top testing lap record)


Hi James, after day 3, is there a growing sense that the FIA may ban the fric like stability suspensions, pushing them toward movable aero or is it Ferrari clutching at straws in as grey rules an area as ever?


I don't think it's all fully understood


As others have already said: 13kmh difference is the same as Ricciardo had on Hamilton last year in qualifying, and that difference was not 3 seconds but 0.8, so McLaren is really really slow. They are looking slower than the slowest car outhere, the Sauber, nevermind Renault or Force India. Its embarrassing.


Hi James any thoughts on redbull RB 13. Not really lighting up testing, however I feel that it's more about reliability for them them this week. Not hearing much about them.


I hope Lance's dad gave Williams enough money to his repair bills😂
Think about it, this kid has basically had the drive bought for him yet the likes of Pierre Gasly sit on the sidelines.

And now Williams announce that Massa can't run today's coz there's damage to the chassis as a result of Stroll's mistake yesterday.


This proves the complete dominance of F1 by the Finns since 1728. Good job Mercedes as well.


I think Bottas may be more than a match for Lewis this year judging by his impressive start in testing. This duel will turn out to be much more interesting than the one Hamilton had with Rosberg, whom Hamilton had no problem dispatching when his car was on song.

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