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Barcelona Pre-Season Testing
What we are looking forward to at Pre-Season testing later this month
5 Feb 2019 Tue

The start of a highly-anticipated new Formula 1 season is almost upon us - and let Motorsport Live be your guide to the two-week event at Spanish Grand Prix venue Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya!

The eight days of track action mark the first appearance of the 10 brand-new Formula 1 cars that will grace the starting grid in 2019 and it is the only running the teams are permitted prior to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in mid-March. Teams will be under pressure to understand and refine their brand-new machines and hope that they have avoided any hiccups that could derail their seasons before it even begins. There's nowhere to hide once the cars hit the track!

It is the first opportunity to witness new faces in new places. There's Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, Pierre Gasly at Red Bull, and Daniel Ricciardo at Renault, not to mention the refreshed McLaren partnership of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris, the return of Robert Kubica at Williams, the rise of British-born rookies George Russell and Alexander Albon at Williams and Toro Rosso respectively, and the maiden appearance of the rebranded Alfa Romeo squad, with Kimi Raikkonen at the helm. But the driver they all have to beat is Lewis Hamilton, who will be present to put his new W10 to the test as he and Mercedes begin their conquest for a sixth world title.

Last year Mercedes laid down a marker during testing but Ferrari's pace was sufficiently eye-catching to create the tantalising prospect of a year-long title fight between the famous marques - one that ultimately did develop. And there was more than one dose of drama for historic teams McLaren and Williams, with their unreliable and slow pace setting the tone for a campaign that failed to deliver - and which forced both to undergo a much-needed reset.

What will be the big storylines 12 months on? Can the newly-aligned Red Bull-Honda partnership get off on the right footing? How will Robert Kubica fare on his return as a fully-fledged Formula 1 driver? And what of the refreshed McLaren operation, desperate to rebuild after its miserable 2018?

The top five reasons why you should go to testing:

  • Spectacular views: There may only be a limited number of grandstands open for winter testing but they all offer stunning views of the Catalan venue, where drivers reach speeds of over 200mph. The gargantuan pit straight grandstand provides a glimpse into the team garages while Turn 10's lofty structure allows spectators to view the entirety of the final sector, which contains a mixture of straights, low, medium- and high-speed corners, allowing fans a glimpse of where each car's strengths and weaknesses may lie.
  • Access: The Formula 1 paddock is usually an exclusive zone at a Grand Prix weekend but during testing it is available at a far more affordable price meaning you can get up-close and personal with the heroes of the sport.
  • On-track action: The unrestricted nature of testing means running takes place from early morning to early evening, often leading to more on-track action than on a Formula 1 Grand Prix race day, with 1,000 laps typically completed by the 10 teams each day, making it spectacular value for money.
  • Barcelona: When testing has finished for the day, or if you fancy spending some time away from the track, there's plenty to do in the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona, renowned for its art, culture and cuisine, with easy access from the circuit to the Catalan capital.
  • Weather: The Mediterranean climate means Barcelona in late February and early March is usually pleasantly spring-like, with temperatures known to nudge into the 20s. It's not out of the question that snow could arrive - it happened in 2018! - but there's few warmer and sunnier places in the European winter than Barcelona.

So for your early-season dose of Formula 1 action there's no better place to start than by taking a jaunt to Spain to see the new machines being put through their paces.


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