Preview: F1 gears up for 2016 testing

By on Saturday, February 20, 2016
Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing

Formula 1 returns to action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with only eight days of running before the sport heads to Australia for the first round of the 2016 campaign.

The traditional Spanish test venue once again plays host to all 11 Formula 1 teams as they look to understand as much of their 2016 machines as possible before the season begins in earnest in just one month.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is perceived to be the best testing venue available; data from previous years allows teams to correlate data, the drivers know every inch of the track, and it remains comparatively cost effective.

The track, as the home of the Spanish Grand Prix, also encompasses fast corners, as well as slow technical sections and a couple of long straights, allowing every area of a package to be extensively analysed.

Relatively warm winter weather, compared to the rest of Europe, also assists the process of understanding the new cars, and aids with tyre data, as teams prepare to run the Ultra Soft compound for the first time.

Several teams have still yet to launch their cars, with Sunday and Monday morning set to be a busy period for unveilings.

Mercedes, McLaren and Haas will launch online on Sunday, while Red Bull, Force India and Manor will unveil on Monday.

Sauber, which placed eighth in the 2015 standings, will delay the introduction of its C35-Ferrari until the second test, which begins on March 1, meaning it will use its C34-Ferrari at the first test.

The top teams all have unchanged line-ups ahead of the current campaign, with the most prominent changes being at Renault, with Kevin Magnussen returning and Jolyon Palmer making his debut.

Romain Grosjean has switched to the new Ferrari-associated Haas outfit, which has also recruited former Sauber racer Esteban GutiƩrrez.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso will be utilising 2015-specification Ferrari power units after switching from Renault, while Manor will run Mercedes engines for the first time as it bids to move up the grid.

The four-day test runs from Monday to Thursday, with a morning session from 09:00 to 13:00 and afternoon running from 14:00 to 18:00 local time (GMT +2).

Each team will run one car, meaning that every driver is in line to have two days in their new machines at each test.

The second, and final, group test takes place from March 1 to 4, giving the teams a short timeframe in which to conduct the entirety of its pre-season running and fix any potential problems.

Red BullRicciardoRicciardoKvyatKvyat
Force IndiaCelisPerezPerez/HulkenbergHulkenberg
Toro RossoSainzVerstappenSainzVerstappen

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