Making up for lost time: F1 Teams hammer out the mileage as Hamilton tops times
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Mar 2018   |  6:34 pm GMT  |  217 comments

After the washout on Wednesday, the F1 teams were keen to get as much mileage as possible on the final day of the first F1 test in Barcelona.

As things stand, there are now just four more days of testing before the start of the new season in Melbourne. Next week’s test, traditionally the one where teams push for performance, will therefore be more critical than ever.

It was wet in the morning, but the teams were able to move onto slicks in the afternoon as the temperature came up to a relatively tropical 15 degrees, compared to the Siberian conditions.

Sergey Sirotkin for Williams was the only driver not to get a run on slicks.

Pierre Gasly (above) cracked out 147 laps in the Honda powered Toro Rosso, indicating that the Japanese are well on with their reliability work compared to a year ago. The Honda was also fourth fastest through the speed trap at 333km/h. Sebastian Vettel covered 120 laps for Ferrari and the Sauber pair covered 138 between them.

McLaren covered 161 laps.

Red Bull lost time with a trip to the gravel for Max Verstappen when on a push lap on soft tyres. At 35 laps, he did by far the least running of any driver. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the day, in the low 1m 19s on medium compound tyres.

Hamilton set the time on lap eight of an 11 lap run on mediums, so not in any way a performance run. In contrast Vandoorne’s second place time of 1m 19.8 was set on the first lap of a four lap run on hypersofts. Vettel set his 1m20.2 on the eighth lap of a nine lap run on softs.

Other Talking points

One thing that was immediately noticeable was the Renault powered cars down near the bottom of the (end of straight) speed trap, with Hulkenberg and Verstappen slowest on 313km/h, Vandoorne on 316.

Magnussen was fastest on 336, Vettel 334 with Hamilton on 333.

There was nothing to choose between the Ferrari and Mercedes engines on speed across the start/finish line, which is more of a measure of acceleration out of the final chicane and last turn.

Renault has said that it is focussing on reliability at this stage and is at a similar power level to the peak at the end of 2017. The Melbourne evolution and the second and third engines of the season will clearly address that so it will be interesting to see when the maximum evolution of the Renault engine comes on stream.

The new specification unit can be used at any time, but with only three engines to last a whole season per driver, the earlier the new spec comes into the engine pool, the more likely the driver is to need a fourth and to take a penalty. There is a tactical argument for planning that in, of course and that may be what we see.

“The reliability seems better, ” said Daniel Ricciardo of the Renault PU. “While the power is currently at the level where we finished last season, it remains a question mark relative to Mercedes and Ferrari. But in Australia we should have a new evolution power unit.”

The teams now face a challenge to get back to the UK, Italy and Switzerland as the ‘beast from the East’ winter weather front continues to cause travel air and road disruption across Europe and particularly in the UK.

The second test will start on Monday.

All Photos: LAT Images

What do you make of this first test? Who’s impressed you? Who’s disappointed so far? Leave your comments in the section below

Lap Times – Day 4 (Barcelona)

1. Hamilton (Mercedes) – 1m19.333s (medium) – 69 laps
2. Vandoorne (McLaren) – 1m19.854s (hypersoft) – 110 laps
3. Vettel (Ferrari) – 1m20.241s (soft) – 120 laps
4. Magnussen (Haas) – 1m20.317s (supersoft) – 96 laps
5. Alonso (McLaren) – 1m20.929s (supersoft) – 51 laps
6. Sainz (Renault) – 1m20.940s (medium) – 60 laps
7. Stroll (Williams) – 1m21.142s (soft) – 54 laps
8. Perez (Force India) – 1m21.973s (soft) – 65 laps
9. Verstappen (Red Bull) – 1m22.058s (soft) – 35 laps
10. Gasly (Toro Rosso) – 1m22.134s (supersoft) – 147 laps
11. Hulkenberg (Renault) – 1m22.507s (soft) – 49 laps
12. Bottas (Mercedes) – 1m22.789s (medium) – 60 laps
13. Leclerc (Sauber) – 1m22.808s (soft) – 59 laps
14. Ericsson (Sauber) – 1m23.825s (supersoft) – 79 laps
15. Sirotkin (Williams) – 1m31.979s (intermediate) – 47 laps

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Ricciardo’s options for the near future are determined by Verstappen’s decision to stay at RBR.
I am still very disappointed by Max’ choice because it’s going to preclude his winning a WDC any time soon.
Just cannot see Renault getting their engine on par with Mercedes and Ferrari.
Barcelona test results point to improved reliability but still no match in the speed traps. The only long shot for a Red Bull title appears to be Honda: hope for a miracle performance at Toro Rosso, put all your money on that and become a
dedicated works team. Implies a different attitude however than the one adopted by Mateschitz, where there’s only been mention of selling STR.

Max should have gone for a Mercedes contract. Not sure it would have materialised but it was worth a serious shot. He should have done so completely in the open, let Marko/Horner know it just wasn’t going to happen at RB until further notice and they knew it. Could have promised he would not sign a long contract and would come back at the earliest opportunity.

Everybody says time is on Verstappen’s side. That’s a cliché and only very partly true. Formula 1 is not like football, where a young star is almost certain to end up in a top team. In both disciplines there is the wish to acquire the best/most promising actors but the penalty for a team to be delaying or even not signing is very different. In football your opponent who gets the star might punish you in the Premier League or Champions League this very season. In F1, you can afford to do nothing as long as the star does not have a top car. For the sake of argument, if Max is the best driver by some margin and everybody considers him to be that, there is still no necessity for MB or Ferrari to hire him. The only necessity would be the fear that the other top team would acquire him.
So F1 is a peculiar sport where there are only occasional windows where you can do business teamwise, maybe just 3 or 4 of those windows during a career. They should be taken bloody seriously at any age and even then you have to be very lucky.

The Aussie community seems to think Verstappen owns Marko. Unfortunately it’s the other way around: Marko owns Verstappen.
As tough as the Verstappens are on and around the track, in negotiations they have proved to be so many fruit cakes. In a recent interview Max said Marko was ‘like a second father to him’.
There you go.
Says it all.
Now he’s committed and stuck with a losing car. No idle promises will change that.

As for Ricciardo, many Aussies are complaining he’s going to get the Webber treatment. Actually, they should be grateful Max stayed on because this slightly improves Ricci’s chances for a contract with a winning team. Ham/Max at MB would have written finish for Daniel’s chances at MB/Ferrari because vettel is not going to allow him alongside. At least now there is the remote chance MB are interested. I think it’s a far cry but actually that still gives Daniel better chances of a WDC than Max for the coming seasons.

marius kritzinger

His top time slower than the Ferrari last year. I know it has been cold there but if he really wanted to push he would have put softer tires on. In testing top times mean nothing. He tried to entice the competition to push so they can gauge where they are in the mix.


If Ricciardo is correct and they will have the new evolution unit in Australia I hope they will be track testing it this week in which case the renault powered cars should show better speed. If they do not and are still lagging behind that may mean that the new evo PU will have only had bench testing. I hope Renault are not becoming the ‘new Honda!


The Mercedes look ominous!


James, did Mclaren run in reduced power modes in test 1 due to exhaust issues?


I was watching a you tube video to check the sound of Honda vs Mercedes. I was surprised to see Torro Rosso length against Mercedes its looks like a baby car……


…a shattered dream 🙁

Any man’s dream : to drive a Formula One car…

…has ended for me as I am highly claustrophobic.'s_visor_cam_lap_of_Barcelona.html


Any car using a qualy tire will look very good. Mclaren is the “only” team using them, makes me think something is up. They’re definitely trying to impress someone, question is; who?


The conditions that theses teams are testing under do not represent any racing condition that they will experience throughout the season ..

The times are meaningless…


Testing is not racing, but you have to say that Hamilton’s headline laptime looks fairly ominous. My impression is that Mercedes is the best package and have a clear advantage, but think behind them it’s very close between RBR/Ferrari & McLaren, all covered by 0.2s or less. We’ll know a bit more after the 2nd test, but I’d be surprised if I was revising my view very much.


I’m sorry but it is clear that Mclaren has a slow car at these conditions.

On supersoft, they are even slower than the Haas F1 team.

Of course, when Renault opens up the tap, perhaps it isn’t as bad as they are now but I bet Mclaren will still be the slowest Renault powered car.

Alonso appears doomed to the faith of driving a slow and/or unreliable car.


Actually Renault and McLaren will be very close: but yes Renault are just fractionally ahead. McLaren’s record of in-season development however is superior so personally I see them out developing Renault and prevailing over them by the season end for 4th.


Who will be 3rd then?


or worse – fighting with the Toro Rosso Hondas!




James – few bits of site feedback:

– I’m no longer receiving e-mail notifications of replies

– On mobile the replies to existing posts aren’t indented anymore, making it really, really hard to follow the threads of conversations.

I don’t know whether other users have mentioned these yet or if it’s just me…



Re the order of posts – the site defaults to newest post first – if you are missing Sebee being at the top of the page (unlikely I know) you can manually alter the order to either oldest or the best !


I’ve never noticed that 😂

I have also retroactively noticed that I got the first post for this article, I need to order myself another trophy…


The posts are not indented not only on mobile. On my chrome 64.0.3282.16, desktop, it is the same.


Not just you. Exactly same issues for me!



Your not alone Andrew.



Working through some issues with comments plugin, bear with us


No problem, just flagging.

Also the first post is now the most recent I see, that’ll show Sebee 😀


I see McLaren are saying they lost so much time at Barcelona because a £2.00 bolt broke in the exhaust.

I’m amazed – how the mighty have fallen – in the days of Ron Dennis I doubt that the team would buy ANYTHING for one of their modern formula 1 cars that cost less than £500 quid !


Have you not noticed that this is the new caring sharing cost cutting (so say the FIA) road relevant F1 and it is fine for bits to fall off just like our road cars so fans can have empathy with the teams 🙂


Monza, I feel sure that Ron would have fully optimised the ‘exhaust gas extraction system retaining aparatus’…..



Could you give us a bit more detail on why you think the McLaren is not so far off?

I posted yesterday that I was concerned it might currently be showing at least 1.5s off Mercedes’ pace. From what I read on the BBC (the excellent Andrew Benson) that estimate may in fact be accurate (with the proviso of ‘let’s wait and see’)..

But without asking you to reveal sources, i’m interested to know why you think the McLaren looks promising. Because I’m certainly hoping that’s right, but struggling to see evidence to show it.


Engineering and aero friends in the ecosystem. They admire the detail on this car, a real statement from Prodromou


One notable thing from first test is that all 4 engines have their reliability sorted out. Is it by reducing some performance? Maybe. We will know only after a few races.

It looks that the midfield battle is going to be very close and we may not have back end car. After top 3/4, we might have the remaining teams closed in one group. That’s good sign for interesting racing for me.

Honda-TR is a good surprise and I wish they do well. Gasly looks impressive and Hartley is consistent- low profile but dependable drivers are always good for the team.

I am disappointed with Force India. They haven’t improved enough and car is not looking a big step forward. Renault might be quite handful for them this season.


How is TR a surprise?

2015 year Honda was lapped by the whole field and unreliable

2016 Honda had evolved the engine, caught up with the backmarkers and was more reliable, qualifying in q2, sniffing at q3.

2017 Honda had redesigned the engine from scratch and got solidly in the mid field, occasionally qualifying in Q3, but were very unreliable.

2018 Honda has evolved the engine, and if you look at the series, it is to be expected that they improved on reliability and power.

2019 the top engines will become pretty close with Mercedes and Ferrari on par and Renault and Honda down a few horsepower.

2020 one should expect that all engines will have evolved to be pretty even matched with each engine having a slight edge in one aspect or another over the competition.


it will be interesting to see if teams push their week one power unit into week two. I wonder who will be first to break one?


Sure. Teams would like to know their engine durability. This is the best time to confirm. Let’s see who, if at all, breaks first.


As a McLaren fan, I have no doubt Alonso will be a WDC contender this season. This McLaren is fast and their aero team is top class, they will come on strong with development and the Renault PU will get better as the iterations come. I remember the comments coming from Lotus that Alonso could have won the WDC in the car Kimi steered to a few wins.


That’s a great comment LS and I do hope your predictions are accurate. If they are, we’re in for a classic year. Watch out for the doom gloom & negative sayers however, their bad karma is draped over F1 like a bomb blanket..



Not he won’t. So you are saying a driver in a team that have not won a race since what 2014, in a Mclaren using a Renault power unit in its 1st year, will be better than Red Bull. Hell No. Respectability is what they need to show this year, and I think they will. Ahead of Renault or just behind them, with a few podium finishes will do. But please be realistic about what Nando & Mclaren will achieve this year.


Brawn Mercedes and Button won the championship on their first year of using a Merc Engine.


if Alonso had so much faith in McLaren he wont be looking at WEC. Lol – Alonso wont make the top 8 this year. List of drivers who will beat him – Lewis, Vettel, Bottas, Max, DR. Kimi, Hulk and Sainz. Yep you can take this to the bank!


I think Kimi will struggle to match the Red Bulls and the McLarens. Even Bottas might have his hands full. I don’t rate Renault as quite there yet.


While I have enormous respect for Alonso, I can’t see how McLaren will consistently finish above maybe P7 each race. Without a crystal ball we can only really go off what we have learned over the past 3 or 4 seasons to determine a rough sort of pecking order. Disregarding driver ability, it would seem that Mercedes are most likely to finish on top. Ferrari would be second and Red Bull third. That’s the top 6 places gone each weekend. Admittedly McLaren have “upgraded” to a Renault power unit but I dont see enough evidence to support them jumping Red Bull or even less unlikely, Ferrari or Mercedes. I support Danny Ric but dont see the Red Bull being able to jump the Ferrari or Mercedes either. The evidence just isn’t there. Of course this all assumes perfect reliability all round which is rarely the case. I believe the status quo will remain as these engines near the end of their development potential. Only some sort of silver bullet (double diffuser, F-Duct, tiny slots in the floor 😉 ) will upset the pecking order as we know it. Just my opinion.


I think the McLaren and Red Bull driver talent will make a difference this year. Alonso, Verstappen, and Ricciardo are totally relentless drivers and maybe Vandoorne will live up to the billing now the Honda PU is gone.


That’s optimistic!

However, I do also agree that for the first time since 2013, Fernando Alonso will be driving a relatively competitive machine, and that, as always, the amazingly motivated Bearded Spaniard will give absolute commitment and precision when strapped in the cockpit – he always has done, and always will do.

Alonso always tries his hardest – and who can say that about a driver after 15 straight years in the business? He is McLaren’s greatest asset, and proof, yet again, that it’s the bag of skin and bones in the cockpit who ultimately makes the crucial difference during a race.


I suspect that for McLaren this year, the only difference in making the switch from Honda to Renault will be that there are no more excuses if the Red Bull turns out to be faster. I don’t expect the Renault and Honda to be very far apart in terms of power and reliability.

McLaren had a pretty draggy and downforce heavy car last year and that made the Honda engine look worse than it was.


Totally agree. I think a competitive McLaren will spur him on even more. For me Alonso is one of the legends of the sport.


I”ll keep repeating. If mercedes solved their suspension issues from last year, 2015 all over again. Hammertime. 🙃

Tornillo Amarillo

It looks like the Red Bull is quite quick


Why Hamilton says this, is RB really up there?


Its all psychological. If he says RBR are quick and beats them (which he will) then he has beaten a quick car. If he says they are rubbish then he has beaten rubbish. Exactly the same thinking as when a driver says his team mate is the quickest guy in F1. Kvyat said that about Ricciardo a few seasons back. He doesnt believe it but he looks mighty when he beats him.

Tornillo Amarillo

James, can we have the speed trap chart with tyres used?

Or which speed trap for Stroll in Williams?

Tornillo Amarillo

Speed trap (from MOTORSPORT.COM) =

1 Haas-Ferrari 209.0mph

2 Ferrari 207.7mph

3 Mercedes 207.1mph

4 Toro Rosso-Honda 207.1mph

5 Williams-Mercedes 205.8mph

6 Force India-Mercedes 205.8mph

7 Sauber-Ferrari 204.6mph

8 McLaren-Renault 201.5mph

9 Red Bull-Renault 199.1mph

10 Renault 199.1mph

“mph” means “may people hint”…


Now that Renault have reliability, can they please crank it up beyond GP2 speeds.

It’s testing, I know and you can’t tell yet, BUT… 20kph slower than Lewis on the straights already!

What’ll it be over a race distance when Merc crank up their engine mode.

I have a feeling all the racing and all the action is going to be Alonso v Max v Hulk v Dan v Stof v Carlos.

Sounds good actually, who needs the steamroller that is the Year 5 $$$ Mercedes PU with Toto’s bull PR spin or $100m advantage for Ferrari to come second again with failed in season development.

Simple solution Liberty, Formula Renault F1 is better than F1.


Clark, ultimately it’s lap time and track position that matter. Speed traps don’t mean diddly squat in testing as you don’t even know what program they are on. It’s hardly a level playing field. Experience has proven that the fastest cars nearly all run the highest downforce a la Red Bull but together with their ‘slow’ PU can often as not attack the sharp end of the field.. The ominous bit is the cars that run the highest downforce, post the quickest lap time and are top trumps in the speed trap.


The positive is Honda power doesn’t seem as bad or it could be the weather.

Hamilton seems like he can jump into anything and set a fast time.


According to Ricciardo RedBull were using 2017 spec engines for practice.


The Renault teams going head to head could be amazing, and I hope it is! I also hope that they will be in the mix at the front of the field, not giving way to cars that have considerably more mumbo in a straight line.


I agree that to have the 3 Renault powered teams having a close fight would be entertaining, but l would rather see Red Bull being part of a three way fight for the top spot. We shall find out soon enough now. Marc


James, after watching some footage online at sounds as though the Mercedes engine in hamilton and bottas’ car is quite a bit louder than the rest, this was particularly noticeable when leaving the pit lane.

Is this true? Could the works team have developed a unique exhaust??


In general the merc PU is louder and smoother than the rest. I’ve noticed it’s quite abit louder. Methinks, Any Cowell is up to his wizardry again.


Nicely done Lewis 👍

But the true times and Engine Power will be shown in Test Week 2 to a certain extent and the resl engine outputs wont be seen until Qualifying at start of the season. Glad Mclaren are doing well. But reckon Red Bull are looking mighty in Test One.


People always say times dont matter in testing. Which is true to an extent. Context is much more reliable. And the context here is lewis did that time on lap 8 of a 11 lap stint. Meaning, it wasn’t low fuel, as mercedes don’t chase time. The lap was just lewis and the raw performance of the car and condition.



Yep Oblah

It certainly was an eye opener to the other teams. Especially on the choice of tyre.

But Mercedes never open their engine performance until later in testing. They fuel heavy and leave the fast laps until FP3 then Q3 at first race. So its still a game of smoke and mirrors.


I’m really trying not to be negative.

But the cars look s#!t with the halo.

Testing is admittedly weather disrupted but my god it’s boring.

If things carry on like this I’m gonna start watching curling instead.


Yes the cars look crap with the halo, yet this is always an exciting time before the season starts trying to ascertain who’s got the best car.


@f1can, speaking of boring…i think we need to collectively decide to give up on the halo bashing…it’s here to stay, so lets move on and complain about something else. The only issue that i think needs resolving is the driver identification…i think they need to do more than just colour the top of the camera mount yellow or black/red.


The fact is

Lol – you start off saying the fact is, then divert on some wild tangent completely bereft of any facts whatsoever. Although, fair play to you Gaz, you have managed to shoehorn several of your favourite political analogies into one post, but – big fail – you omitted to get a reference to Alonso’s beard in. Maybe you were in a rush 🙂

Seriously though Gaz, if LM are as weak as you say, and bow to pressure from some bearded donkey jacket wearing lefties – then how did John Malone get to be so rich? I’m thinking he can’t be quite the soft touch you suggest – what do you reckon?


RE C63: Will all due respect C63, it’s not the grid girls per se, it’s the bigger issue surrounding it.

The fact is, a bunch of bearded donkey jacket wearing left wing Guardian readers said “jump”, to which Liberty Media replied “how high?” They caved in. Quickly. That’s a sign of weakness.

Great leaders do not cower, do not surrender. Whatever you think of Mr E, he would have told the Donkey Jacket brigade to **** off interfering in my sport. Or a good political analogy, is can you imagine Maggie giving into Arthur Scargill and his thugs during 1984/85? No? She give him a black eye. Which is what LM should have done to their critics – with Maggie (and Mr E) it was my way or **** off!

Liberty Media were too quick to give in. A good political analogy is they are Jim Callaghan’s – they surrendered to the bullies. What Formula 1 leadership needs is someone……………..well, like Maggie really, who would give any critic a shiner if they interfered.

By giving in to the left wing wooly jumper brigade, Formula 1 is becoming more like the Soviet Union or Communist China where lets just ban anything that is fun, joyous, decadent, hedonistic…………is that you want?


They need to get rid of it and bring in a more aesthetivically pleasing solution.


Agreed, I’d rather not have it but the endless “death-of-F1” comments are far worse.


i think we need to collectively decide to give up on the halo bashing…

Well said LKFE, and whilst were at it – please can we stop the moaning about the Grid Girls disappearing. I mean, seriously – has that changed anyones life (apart from the grid girls)?


Is there a reason why McLaren was doing so many laps on the hypersoft and ultrasoft whereas all the others were mainly on mediums?

Some more cynic comments are that they might be hiding a lack of performance, but are there other reasons? For example, could they be doing this to assess patterns of tire-wear? (softer tire wears faster, so such things should be more visible) Or could it help them in assessing how quickly they can get tires to temperature? Or other things?

Just curious… it seems that such a different tire strategy in testing must have a reason but I have not found a good explanation for it.


They worked through the range wheats others did more mileage on one tyre type

No real significance just a different approach


Guys, can somebody answer please?

I am using this blog on an iPhone. I am no longer able to understand who replies to what comment. There used to be a view where allposts were arranged in threads. Not anymore for me. It is still like this when I check on Mac, but not mobile. Completely cannot understand it. Is it just me?


On my iPad running iOS 11.2.6 I have the indentations but not the grey boxes for James’ comments.


Thanks for the feedback


@AlexD – I have exactly the same issue with the posts not being indented in a thread form. Been like this for about 2wks. Makes the comments section all but irrelevant (for me) as its impossible to follow. On Windows 10 and Opera.


Opera? I used that many years ago. It’s gone totally Chinese now..🙁


Not just you and it happens with the laptop/pc as well. There isn’t an indentation anymore and wort of all James’ comments are highlighted in the grey box anymore!! I have to search for his name to find his comments. James – is there a reason for this? I preferred it the old way.



it may be useful to state what browser&version of software you are using to create the page for those experiencing page layout issues to know if it is an update necessary.

I insert this as I am totally puzzled by comments complaining about PC and laptops. I don’t know about Android (small screens) as I consider those just emergency tools. No sensible person would subscribe to a newspaper printed on a post stamp 🙂


Thanks – we had an issue with decomments plugin and have now to work through different browser experiences etc


Indentation is fine on Firefox/Win 10 but yeah, there are some niggles…



Same for me. Also no email notifications of a reply to my comment for several weeks. I think others are experiencing something along the same lines.


I don’t think it is wildly unfair to suggest that McLaren may be currently 1.5-2 seconds off Mercedes’ pace.

2 seconds between medium (Hamilton’s fastest time’s tyre) and hyper softs (Vandoorne’s). Hamilton’s time 11 laps into a run, Vandoorne’s the first of four laps (and difficult to see why you’d run hupersofts with heavy fuel).

I have more than an inkling of concern about McLaren. I don’t see any reason why they are not in the same long term doldrums as Williams.


McLaren have had a very good car ever since they switched to Honda. This car is a long evolution of that aero development. McLaren will be up there challenging for wins this year, along with Red Bull as the Renault engine gets better across the season.


Utter rubbish. They are miles off.


I’m intrigued by how the new “Hypersoft” compound – and more to the point, will anyone by brave/stupid/idiotic/inspired enough to use it?

I guess the corollary of the introduction of the Hypersoft which is made from marshmallows for 2018 is for 2019 the “Ubersoft” compound which is made from mashed potatoes and melted butter…………………how much softer can Pirelli go?


Gaz Boy, will anyone be brave/stupid/idiotic/inspired to use the hyper soft?

Well, Pirelli control which compounds are available for a race and which compounds are mandatory, and I doubt they’ve introduced this new compound just for laughs.


Gazboy, the tyres may all have the word ‘soft’ in their name, but they are all hard compounds in comparison to tyre war rubber. Of course teams will use the hypersoft, no doubt someone will do half a race on them at some point….


Gazboy, more than just the tyres involved in setting those laps of course. Pirelli say they have softened the compounds for this year, but as Lewis described last years as “the hardest tyres I have ever driven on”, that’s not much of a start point.


Tim W, Pirelli are slowly chipping away…………..

Melbourne 2004 FL: 141 MPH (record)
Melbourne 2017 FL: 137 MPH

Monaco 2004 FL: 100 MPH (record)
Monaco 2017 FL: 99 MPH

Montreal 2004 FL: 132 MPH (record)
Montreal 2017 FL: 130 MPH

Hungaroring 2004 FL: 124 MPH (record)
Hungaoring 2017 FL: 122 MPH

Monza 2004 FL: 160 MPH (record)
Monza 2017 FL: 155 MPH


At Monaco I expect the cars will be able to cover 2/3rds of the race on Hypersoft tyres. Pirelli should go back to the tyres where the performance drops off a cliff at a certain point. The teams and drivers may not have liked them but the racing was much more entertaining.


They still haven’t come up with “NSW Origin Team Soft” so still a ways to go in development 😂

Aussie fans will get the joke 😉


I’m from NSW but loved that 🙂


Bloody Queenslanders!


Most laps completed by team in 2018

Toro Rosso 326

Mercedes 305

Ferrari 298

Sauber 284

Williams 277

Renault 273

McLaren 271

Red Bull 211

Haas 187

Force India 166

Who would have guess a Honda would have done the most laps by the end of the first test??


‘Sandbagging’ demands you don’t reveal your true colours in testing.

So hopefully Toro Rosso won’t require 10+ engines this year


The Alonso Curse at it again…Honda 326 laps…333kph in the speed trap, McLaren Renault 273 laps…313kph in the speed trap…


I have a feeling that McLaren will rue their switch. The gains in the very short term might have helped them secure Alonso, but I think Honda has as much – if not more – upside than Renault and, with a point to prove, I image that they will be the equals of Renault by the end of the season. Having endured two seasons of pain, it’s inevitable that Honda will get to respectability at some point. I think McLaren could have afforded one more year before pulling the plug. RBR have been stuck with Renault yet still find themselves in the enviable position of having Honda and Renault as options, and also being courted by the likes of Porsche, the VW Group and Aston Martin. Ditching status as a works team for the third-best engine won’t prove to be worth it.


I have a feeling that McLaren will rue their switch.

Decisions, decisions Kris…..flip of the coin really, I agree with what you are saying and have thought this myself…but lets face it….massive damage to the Mclaren brand mate, could they really take another hit for a 4th season?



Agreed, but with lack of a title sponsor, I’d argue that most of the damage had been done. It would be different had Alonso been a few years younger and you’re planning a long-term future with him but Alonso’s decision-making and timing of his decisions over the years has been awful. Will bowing to that pressure (and I’m sure it’s not the only reason for the switch) prove to be worth it to get a top driver back into the pack that contends for positions 4-8? I guess there are some clever folks at McLaren that believe so, but I personally think that – having failed so badly but with Honda having so much reputation to repair – that fourth year might well have been worth the risk.

Interesting to see where McLaren and Toro Rosso end up relative to each other, though. If the Honda-powered TR finishes as the 6th or 7th best car but scoring points and showing good development from race-to-race and the McLaren finishes 4th or 5th (let’s say behind RBR but fighting with Renault, Williams and Force India), will that have been worth it? I’m just wondering how the ‘success’ of this relationship will be measured.



Your analysis might be correct, however, you yourself pointed to the million $ question. When would Honda get it right. And get it right here is not what they may have now, but a class leading power unit able to win races and score podiums. My hunch is that Mclarean ended the relationship with Honda for 2 reasons. 1. They simply did not show any signs last year of getting it right this year or at any future date. 2. Mclarean would have lost to many of the good technical staff with another year with Honda. No matter how good Honda are this year with Torro Rosso, Mclaren as a team, simply had to get that Honda deal axed, or else that team would have imploded.


How can you ‘expect’ Honda to match Renault by the end of this season when they have failed to match ANYONE in the previous three?

Honda have ‘had a point to prove’ for all of that time, but it really hasn’t helped them. Also, I would hardly describe RBR’s position as ‘enviable’, being able to choose between bottom two engines on the grid??



I think it’s natural to expect that – with so much investment, resource devotion and desire to mend a damaged reputation – they will get it right eventually. But one of my main points is that I believe the risk/reward associated with being the exclusive partner with Honda was probably worth it. The best they can hope for – and it’s a very optimistic scenario – is to be in the fight for 3rd. Let’s face it, though, they’re unlikely to beat Red Bull. Being the sole partner of an engine manufacturer still gives you the chance to disrupt the order of things and gain an advantage that can’t be copied in the short term. I think that was worth the risk – at least for one more year.

You’ve focused on only half my point about RBR. They can choose between Renault and Honda but are also the most likely partner of choice if a new big brand – whether it be VW/Audi, Aston Martin or Porsche – decide to enter the fray. If you can’t be Mercedes of Ferrari, then I’d say that the position RBR find themselves in is about the most enviable one on the grid.


I also agree that it could be a switch they could live to regret, but the risk was too high. If this week Honda had been unreliable with Toro Rosso everyone would be saying it was the correct move, even worse if it was in the back of McLaren then Alonso probably would have quit right, also didnt they say they had to go another direction with the engine as the current design had a ceiling on development im sure this wouldnt have gone down well after all the pain they have endured which could have meant more problems ahead.

On the back of a rough few years with Honda they were backed into a corner, they just needed reliability 1 year earlier, but the main issue was the breakdown in relationship, Hondas numbers werent matching what was promised and the working relationship seemed to be unhealthy for both parties … Redbull could be a major winner as you said!


Well… if the relation with Honda became too strained and problematic, then a split is the only good option. Suppose that they would have stuck with Honda and that Honda would be better; without the confidence and trust, there is no way the cooperation will work and the result may be less than the sum of the parts. On the other hand a good cooperation with a different partner may allow the total to be better than the sum of the parts.


Not denying that it is a vast improvement, but it should be remembered that Merc, Ferrari and Renault each have data from three engines compared to Honda’s one.

Merc engines – 748 laps

Ferrari engines – 769 laps

Renault engines – 755 laps

Honda engine – 326 laps


The curse of Alonso has been lifted . So if Honda have cracked reliability and horse power are they equal with Renault at the end of last year? The idea of a Torro Rosso overtaking a Honda on the straights in 2018 ! Priceless.


James Allen

Don’t get too carried away

This McLaren looksa really good car

I reckon they could be bridging that gap to Red Bull this year

But could Renault bridge the gap to Ferrari faster than Honda?


I would love for that to happpen LMAO!


How could that happen? TR overtaking itself? 😳



We don’t know that yet? Both your ifs, or may be the last one, horse power gain, is the bigger issue. I guess we will know that come australia and beyond. Given a choice between another rokie or even an experienced driver in my other car, or a 2 time world champion in Alonso, I know which I would prefer. He is high maintenence, but if he sniffs a win, or a podium, or a fight, is there any other driver you’d rather have in your car. I dont think so.


May I see your authorization to lift curses? 🙂


The only thing more powerful than the Alonso curse……is the Abiteboul curse…!!


Don’t get too carried away

This McLaren looksa really good car

I reckon they could be bridging that gap to Red Bull this year


Well, technically Honda completed the least laps of all the engine manufacturers. They only have one team.


Making a point..


Also concerns me that Red Bull, Haas and Force India have had little running in comparison to the rest of the grid. I haven’t heard of any major problems for these teams so far…


I know you can’t read much into this test but I was hoping the new Sauber was quicker. Any thoughts on that James? Thanks:))



Development curve will be steep


This season looks like another Mercedes walkover. With these ugly halos and no grid girls I am having trouble finding a reason to even watch.


Ah the typcial whinge – dont watch!


Bye bye 👍


Before the grid girl ban, how many even noticed them on a race day? Close to zero. Overreaction.


You really watched for the grid girls?


I can’t speak for Brett, only me.

I didn’t watch for grid girls, but they added to the show for me. Just like I didn’t watch for the high revving normally aspirated sound, or the sprint racing, or the refuelling, or the excess, or the tyre war, or the danger, or the non-DRS overtakes, or the 1 hour/4 sets of tyres qualifying, or the T cars, or the secrecy of “how much fuel will they start with on Sunday?”, or the lack of mandatory pit stops, or cars going off left and right in the rain with not a red flag to be seen. I didn’t watch for any of those things, and no doubt more, but they all added to the showmanship of the event and the sporting spectacle for me.


Way too early to say that


James I have to disagree, but think back to Mercedes pace at the end of 2017 compared to the rest of the teams, consider that James Allison has been there another full year to sort the chassis and Mercedes is being conservative about their engine’s power and Sassi is no slouch having joined their engine group

Consequently I cannot watch another season and I see that Hamilton has sorted his duds for the FIA prize gala next autumn


Are McLaren trying to make some sort of point with these headline grabbing quali runs on the hypersofts? Surely they haven’t been reduced to trying to grab a few last minute sponsors?




I agree with James on this. Alonso for the WDC!


Merc looks too strong, Ferrari we need to wait and see. I don’t think they’ll be far off when we go racing. RBR vs McLaren could be a thing


Vandoorn was fast all morning on wets and intermediates. McLaren seem to favour the Hypersoft to do short runs….that makes sense as they will warm up in cold conditions faster than any other dry tire. We will all get a better feel next week when they do race simulation


Car looks very good aerodynamically

Don’t underestimate this car


@KRB, I would argue that given who heads the McLaren aero team it is unlikely their car will be struggling for aero performance. While I do expect McLaren to be a bit under done at Melbourne, I expect their performance to rise sharply as they get to grips with the Renault PU.


What about the ” overheating issues” that I have read about somewhere on the Mclaren ? If they have overheating when it’s freezing that could be a serious problem in australia/barhein ???? any thruths that they added some “holes” on the car for the last days ?

Also it is a little bit weird and worrying when a team tries to put fast laptimes with hyper soft just to grab some headlines…the strong ones usually play it low…


The car looks planted definitely, but again they are near the bottom of the speed traps. Great downforce with big drag isn’t the way to go in this formula. You need the most downforce with the least drag that you can get. That way you can run with the least fuel possible. A virtuous circle.


Hi James, do you mind at some point before Melbourne looking at each car’s pros and cons? It would be great to get some insight on how the McLaren looks “very good aerodynamically” compared to other cars.



Congratulations to Lewis on his 5th WDC.


Way to early to say that Ferrari haven’t shown their hands yet an do not right of Mc’Laren or RBR. Testing generally never shows true picture. N even that is not completed yet.


checkout the temperatures at which vettel set his fastest lap.


These are available for each lap? A slither of competitive hope perhaps, otherwise I agree with Treadhead.


“First it was a forgone conclusion. But then it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. But then it was a forgone conclusion again. And what a forgone conclusion it was!” Murray Walker.


More dB please!



On BBC iplayer new series of TOP GEAR

Celebrating the V8 engine . Check it out 👍

That should get your juices flowing.

TOP GEAR with its younger presenters are killing the haggard trio on the rubbish Grand Tour show. Its appalling and failing big time. Expect Amazon to drop at the end of its contractual obligations.


I always thought that the three stooges were ever only going to do their contracted three series of GT to top up their pensions. The genre is so tired it is nearly arthritic as the presenters.


dB…Maybe have a 1970s ‘8 track’ playing in the cockpit of the new Cars on a Tannoy Speaker ? Sly and The Family Stone? 🎵Take you higher🎶😎 and you can smell the fumes of V12 engine on full blast in your living room Sebee 😎

Otherwise your barking up wrong tree. These cars wont get any louder. You wan to listen to loud Japanese Superformula is were its loud…still.


It’s not all about size of the dB. Could be some quality involved! Witnessed the flat-12 Ferrari with Niki Lauda at Watkins Glen U.S. GP. Never even thought about bB, It was just what racing cars sounded like;


Oh boy…thanks for that aveli. Just proof of a man protecting a legacy that exists only in his head now. Like trying to rebuild a house after a fire by using only the ashes. Such a futile use of energy and the little time he has left. I guess it could be argued that it’s better than doing nothing. Of course Max Mosley is tenacious, if nothing else. A relic of his time.

Let us remeber he did survive the vote of confidence after our eyes were poked by those images I have successfully blurred in my head over the decade.

And of course the news media, who in today’s world is concerned mostly with getting the apology to the offended.

May I quote Trump?



As notoriously difficult it is to read much into winter testing, its encouraging to see McLaren climbing into double figures, lapwise.

Midfield will be interesting to watch, renault appear to be putting some speed into the works team, will this be the year Hulkenburg breaks his duck?

What are the chances James, of seeing your suggested hierarchy given likely adjustments for tyres, fuel etc? Tentative at this stage though it may be.


i wonder is mclaren would outperform toro rosso.


Remember last year during testing you said McLaren would be up there with Ferrari. Wasn’t quite accurate was it.


It’s nice to see Honda doing a 180 from last year. Here’s hoping for a good season with TR!


Hi James,

Hi James,

I just wanted to comment on the halo and get your opinion.

I think it looks much better than expected or is it just me? It looks best on the cars that have it painted the same color as the car, Ferrari and Force India for example. It blends in better. Where as on the McLaren and the Mercedes it stands out more. Any idea why McLaren and Mercedes haven’t painted the halo the same color as the car? Visibility for the driver maybe?



I’m not a huge fan of the appearance to be honest. I hope it’s a first step on the way to something safe for drivers but easier on the eye for car lovers


halo looks better and more practical than closed cockpit.


every change brings opportunities to be exploited. teams can paint the halo in driver helmet colours or sponsor colours. i’d rather the halo than dead drivers.


I respect the FIA’s responsibilities towards safety and the drivers’ support as they drive the cars

I think this iteration separates the fans from the Driver and takes away the fascination and beauty of an F1 car

But it will evolve


James, the Reply button is still missing on posts that are on a fairly high level in the forum thread. So one of the parameter settings in the plug-in still need some adjustment please. As right now we cannot reply to posts that are just 2-3 levels down, so no proper dialogue can be maintained right now. …But anyway, this was intended as reply to the post that the halo could be made of plastic polymers to be transparent so it would be less obnoxious versus those we have seen so far:
The halo right now is made of a lightweight titanium 6AL-4V alloy and weighs in at around 15 kilos, as far as the information goes that I have seen. All teams using this, to assure they comply with the strength and functional demands that the rules oblige them to fulfil. That material strength is around 120,000 PSI. In case you went to try and make the same in the absolute strongest possible composite material, you would have to go for the carbon fiber IM7. And that is still just a bit short of having the same strength in its most optimal layout as the titanium. Next to this, all working with carbon fiber enforced polymers will know that it is not transparent at all (actually its all deep black), so to pursue transparent alternatives there is really no viable way for the moment.


I would like them to go down the road(excuse the pun) that IndyCar are going down.


“Why would the FIA cease to exist”, I dunno, why wouldn’t it? What gaurentee do we have that the FIA will be here forever? It’s less than 50 years old, who says itll last another 50-100 years.

My point is, with the introduction of HALO, is open cockpit, 4-wheeled motor racing completely finished? And why is the number of wheels the determining factor? 2 wheels doesn’t need a halo, but 4 does? Ok….

What steps would the world need to take to be able to enjoy open cockpit, 4-wheeled motor racing? Are we saying the FIA has a monopoly on setting rule sets for 4-wheeled racing? If yes, why do we allow them to have a monopoly. Is them having a monopoly a good thing?

My motivation for this direction of conversation is now that F1 is closed cockpit, I don’t see how in the world it can compete with MoroGP, as far as a motor racing hero level spectacle.


I wait to see how much it really seperates the fans from drivers. Track side ..yes maybe but in reality how many can see that much from the 10th row of the stands and beyond is doubtful. As to TV I think the cameras will compensate. The main complaints come from the “ it is making the car look ugly” brigade and to me these cars only look good from certain angles and with or without the halo are not a patch on the real era of beutiful cars….beauty is after all a personal thing


Sure it will evolve. Next step for driver safety and costs savings will be to have the drivers drive-by-wire from a remote location. No need to travel, as long as we have WiFi! Is that what we want? Nah. =8-!


If the FIA and F1 ceased to exist, do you think a different party could start a global open wheel, open cockpit series?

F1 automobile racing as it is today will never get rid of the HALO.

But what if someone made a new series where they stuck two MotoGP bikes together? If there was no FIA to say it’s mandatory, then the world could have open cockpit, 4-wheeled vehicle racing action again.

….or do you think we’ll see the halo trickle down into MotoGP as well, lmmfao, smfh.


Why would the FIA cease to exist? It’s a massive global organisation with over 110 different countries represented on sport and automotive/mobility sides.

Anyway, it would be hard for anyone without the support of a giant of the modern world like Amazon or Google to start something up from scratch and get close to F1’s global reach. Look at Formula E and the reach it’s developed in four seasons. Pretty good, but no-where near F1. With manufacturers backing and a tech giant behind you, it might be possible in 10 years.


I said i refused to complain about the halo anymore…but just one more point on “evolution”…

Surely in this petro-chemical world of advanced polymers, they can develop a “clear” (see through) halo structure??


But it will evolve

Into a closed cockpit? Roll up the windows and close the sunroof, and it is already closed.


I hope some sort of screen

Now we have started on this road the Drivers heads will always have to be protected

The ‘how’ will evolve


Andrew Benson put it quite nicely:

“Hamilton ends the first week of pre-season testing with fastest time, on the medium tyre, 0.5secs clear of anyone else, nearly all using softer tyres. Gulp…”


Nah, everyone else is sandbagging (how I hate that term) especially McLaren 😉


@ C63…Golly gee and gosh…Is anyone really surprised, especially you C63.


Surprised about what kenneth? Andrew Bensons tweet ?


I honestly think Mercedes and Ferrari will be there or thereabouts again similar to last year. Haven’t the tyres been made a step softer? That would arguably help Ferrari but we will have to see.

The noise coming from Renault and and Red Bull drivers is a bit underwhelming. It seems Renault will still lag behind with their engine at the beginning of the season. A shame really, the more in the mix from the start the better. Can’t say this new engine rule has helped.


I think you are probably right Nick, although I’m not sure that Merc will suffer so much with the softer tyres this year – at least I hope they won’t. I believe that was more to do with the last minute suspension protests/bans last season.

The new engine rule was daft imo – they should be allowing them more engines not less and whilst they are at it let them have some extra gear boxes too!


By the same yardstick, Haas has closed on Ferrari and would likely be in the mix for championship…Ha ha ha.

Reading too much too soon. Interestingly, medium was having the best working range bar hypersoft and performed better than most other tires. It raises one concern though, if they have better working range, longer durability and good enough speed (less delta to softer range tires), teams like Mercedes will still use them with single pit stop and win races comfortably. The idea to get softer tires was to allow teams with lesser power to compete using different race strategies. But Medium tire with this performance defeats the purpose, sadly.


By the same yardstick

Sorry, forgot to mention that the Haas set their time on the Super Soft which (according to Mark Hughes) would have given them something like a 1.6 second advantage. I’m afraid your yardstick does not apply in this instance 🙂


@C63, Andrew Benson.


Reading too much too soon.

Who, me or Andrew Benson?


With the cold temps, the medium might actually have been the fastest tire for today.


The issue was driving the tires hard to generate the required temperature. The harder tire held up better for those later laps when the tires were up to temp and the drivers could go for it.


I’m not saying you’re wrong KRB – but why would a harder tyre be a better bet on a cold day? Surely that would be worse than a softer tyre on a cold day.





And did you see the Motorsport article where Lewis was saying this year’s car “definately” feels faster than last years’ version. Ominous warning to the rest of the grid. RB look ok but still have a power deficit to Merc and FerrarI at least for the start of ’18 with Renault focusing on reliability as they should after last year. I’m in agreement with JA McLaren have a good car and maybe the equal of RB after not too many races. If Alonso walks from F1 after this year or Vandorne doesn’t perform to expectations there may be a prized seat up for grabs right there. And I know someone who gets on quite well with Zac. In the fullness of time. Bring on Melbourne although I won’t be going this year. WI’ll have a choice of full free to air coverage over the whole weekend with MW and his crew or the usual Sky coverage. Might do some channel switching.


And did you see the Motorsport article where Lewis was saying this year’s car “definately” feels faster than last years’ version. Ominous warning to the rest of the grid.

Of course it’s faster than last year’s car. If it wasn’t then something would have gone awfully wrong in the Mercedes development department…


@ Adrian….Interesting comments there. Ricciardo has some really hard decisions to make and it won’t be easy for him. As i have maintained all along, he needs to get out of Red Bull for the obvious reasons if he is to have any chance of winning a title. Mercedes would be good but Wolff says he will give Bottas until the summer break to make his claim but Red Bull are demanding a decision in April!!! Ferrari are no longer beholden to the classical approach and Marchionne is a random shooter. Leclerc could well get the nod. I personally would like to see him at Ferrari and a renewal of the Vettel/Ricciardo challenge. I had not considered him joining McLaren as i don’t see that working out at all. They are ATM just another customer team and how many customer teams have won WC’s? Red Bull cannot strictly be seen as a customer team when they won four with Vettel. If Ferrari close out and the Mercedes decision is delayed then perhaps Ricciardo will have to stay at Red Bull and take his chances…that would be a pity for us all as he is one of the most exciting talents on the grid.


And I know someone who gets on quite well with Zac

I reckon that Dan would be a good fit at McLaren – as I’ve said before, I find it hard to see him playing second fiddle to either Vet or Ham (I don’t think he’s in a position to oust either of them just now) so he either stays put at Red Bull and gets stiffed by Dr Marko or jumps ship – where to? The orange and blue, that’s where too 🙂


@Adrian – just curious, but what is making you think that McLaren has a good car?


However, many reporters and team representatives have said that for some reason the medium tyre had the best working range for these temperatures, with the exception of the hypersoft, so maybe it is not an absolute given that the Mercedes at least would have been quicker on softs. They struggled relative to Ferrari on softer tyres last year.


Key word “last year”. I’d be very worried if I was anyone but mercedes. Historically, they tend to develop very well. Like I’ve said, if their suspension works. RBR and ferrari will have to pull something big out the bag.


Pure “sounds” of F1 2018.

May I say no comment in a comment? 🙂


Average truck driver stealing the show..


Sebee, I think most of us feel it would be better if you didn’t comment at all!

The biggest question for 2018 is whether you’ll have any new material? If not…


Let’s play a game!

Since this video is shot from grandstands, it’s the perfect representation of what fans will see.

Watch this video and try to spot the driver. Try to see the visor. Give it a try.

You’ll quickly notice how you consciously try to focus on the driver, but because of the bars your eyes pick that up as a focus point, and by the time you refocus, the point of interest has moved on. It is brutal, right? BRUTAL! It’s nearly impossible! Look at drivers pulling out of the garage. Yikes! Check out 3:23 time code, Vettel pulling into the pitlane – it’s like he’s not in the car till last second. 2:30 McLaren across the front straight – couldn’t see the driver! 6:30 RBR pulling into pit – ouch! This is just unbelievable.

Tickets for this new F1 should be discounted, like obstructed view tickets at arenas. I honestly can’t believe this is happening to F1 last 5 years. They took away the racing, the sound and now our ability to see the drivers. They limit the fuel and tell the drivers how to drive with the engine modes. I swear, they are taking a piss to see how much they can take away from fans, and still try to charge more for it.

Go ahead…try to spot the drivers and defend this new F1 experience. I would love to hear this defended.


Darne Sebee, if you deliberately went to get the old 2013 edition of that game just to get some proper sounding cars, then you are really a dedicated Raw F1 Classics fan!!! ;o)


Spot on Sebee


Cyber, no joke, I just bought the F1 game….2013 edition, to ensure the cars sound OK. 🙂


Ok, I’ll play. It’s red so it’s either Vettel or Raikkonen. Car in 1st or 2nd is Vettel. Car in 6-8th (pick one) is Raikkonen. Simple. Rinse & repeat for the other 9 teams. Quit trying to bend stuff to fit your narrative. Actually go to an F1 race as a proper fan. Report back.


Agreed, and what galls as well is that the drivers themselves are fully supportive of this, in the name of ‘safety’. Words fail.


Agreed Sebee, its gross. Now a days the F1 fans are getting a better up-close experience of their favorite teams and drivers by buying the F1 2017 game for their PlayStation 4 !


That’s your best post yet……and you’ve done some beauties.

If Jean Todt was in charge of motogp the bikes would have stabilizers on them.

Further more anyone that is a true fan of F1 should keep complaining so as to send the right message to the decision makers in F1,these people may well read quality websites like this one and the message should be clear…….

We all hate the halo, get rid of it or we’re gonna take our money elsewhere.


Fully agree with you. It’s even worse then I expected it to be. Seems like all drivers (if you can see them) are criminals with black beams in front of their eyes with the sole purpose to bit identify them.


completely agree, discounted tickets are a must if they want to see bums on seats for this farce.


Watching and listening to these halo clad cars navigate the mall parking lot that is sector 3 at Catalunya is a perfect summary of the wrong direction that F1 has been headed in, and continues to plow forward with.

Here’s a scary thought for an F1 fan, now that halo is here. If the world had to choose 1 Motorsport travelling circuits, and had to choose between F1 and MotoGP, what would the world choose? I know my vote would be with MotoGP – where I can see the rider, mistakes are brutally punished, the racing is close and unpredictable.


yes, I miss the screaming V10s. sorry. yes, I miss the grid girls. sorry. yes I guess I can live without seeing driver’s faces. sorry to complain.


We can hear the tires hitting the kerbs!


Give it a rest, every bloody thread regardless of subject. Between you and Mr “I love Fernando’s beard” it’s like Groundhog Day.


Plus 1 – well said.

John Wainwright

Completely agree. The same old comments over and over again. It’s gone beyond boring and has become a parody. I started to read Joe Saward’s blog and comments more and more (despite Joe’s somewhat stroppy response compared to James) and JAF1 less and less. Shame as this was always my first port of call for F1 discussion.


Mercedes looking quietly ominous…….

They were very quick at last GP and appear to have carried that speed into 2018. I wonder how long before they reach the magical 1000hp mark.


Mercedes will reach and pass the magical 1,000 HP mark on Saturday 24 March 2018 when the green lights comes on for Q3 in Melbourne.


Pretty sure, they’ve crossed that mark sometime ago. They’ll never admit it though.


On the test bench is one thing. On the track during a race weekend is quite another…


Toto has stated they’ve hit the 1000BHP plus level in engine testing already.


Normal service is resumed…to some extent. Toro Rosso and Honda’s mileage has been impressive by their admittedly low standards. McLaren seem to be intent on doing glory runs, hard to tell what their comparative pace is. Renault works team looks quietly impressive, I’d put them in the hunt for fourth. Red Bull seem to have had their perennial underwhelming test.

My bold first week impressions are:



Red Bull



Force India



Toro Rosso



Woohoo comment #44!

(I know by the time anyone reads this it won’t be #44 anymore but still…)


I would place the top teams like this:

1= Mercedes/Ferrrari

2= McLaren/RedBull, with the driver talent on both those teams bridging the gap to Mercedes/Ferrrari increasingly frequently as the season progresses.

3 Renault, building through the season.


Bobc, I’m basing it on the time McLaren have been developing their aero concept, not the test times. Their aero team is top notch and stable development of a concept over time usually results in good results, for example like at Mercedes.


Really Zak. McLaren are going to be bottom end of top 10. At the very best.

Low fuel/softest tyre runs. Are you really falling for that?

Trying to find sponsors while the others are understanding and tuning their cars is unlikely to end well.


Too early, but I think you nailed down the first three places.

Mercedes car will kill everything, as usual.

Honest, I am more interested to see the last two teams’ progress, Sauber and TR/Honda

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