What we learnt from the first pre-season test of 2017?

After all the hype, drama and anticipation surrounding the new look of the 2017 cars, we’ve finally witnessed what they look like. 

The first pre-season test at Spain’s Circuit de Catalyuna has come to an end. Here’s what we’ve come to learn so far:

1. The looks

As expected, the new cars do look meaner and cooler than their predecessors, and those chubby Pirellis do give them an aggressive stance. But there’s a divided opinion on the shark fins. Having said that, I think it would be safe to say that everyone’s united in their dislike for those ‘T-wings’. And yes, there’s gotta be a way around those ugly thumb noses. *cough Force India cough*

2. Overtaking will be an issue

The new cars have a lot more downforce than their 2016 counterparts. They’re slated to break lap records at a number of circuits this year. Having said that, we might not see too many overtakes despite the increase in speed. More downforce means that it becomes difficult for the car behind you to follow. The turbulent whirlpools created in the wake of the leading car means that it’s a lot harder to stay close to the car in front. Lewis Hamilton has been the most vocal of all the drivers regarding this issue. It’s a concern that he recently raised at the end of day 3 of the testing while they were doing race simulations.

3. Can Prancing Horse be the dark horse for 2017?

Yes, I know, calling ‘Ferrari’ a ‘dark horse’ is like calling ‘Sauber’ an ‘Italian stallion’ but let’s be honest, given Ferrari’s form over the years, coming into the pre-season testing, no one really expected them to perform the way they did. Kimi Raikkonen topped the time sheets on his both outings on the second and the fourth day while German teammate was a close second on the third day of the testing. However, both the drivers have downplayed Ferrari’s strong start as don’t wish to get ahead of themselves. 

4. Mercedes still remains the team to beat


Without making any big splashes, Mercedes were outright leader on performance. Though Ferrari outpaced them on a couple of occasions, it could well be the case of Mercedes sandbagging though they keep denying it. Red Bull Racing were more closely matched to Ferrari than to Mercedes. If the current numbers are taken into consideration, there’s a positive chance that 2017 will be a much more closely-fought season than the 2016 one.

5. Honda can’t make McLaren great again


The speculations that McLaren will make big inroads in performance and it will run close to the leaders were put to rest when their new orange and black car took to the track.  

Something tells me, putting an orange tone on anything is guaranteed to NOT make something great again!

BONUS: We might have found Maldonado’s successor

I don’t want to jinx it but it looks like the days of clipped front wings, broken suspensions and flamboyant crashes might be back. Ladies and gents, I give you, Lance Stroll. The Canadian’s crash on day 3 not only cost Williams a front wing a suspension but the repair work meant they couldn’t get the car ready in time for day 4 and missed the final day of testing.

The unforgiving folks of world wide web had a field day criticizing Stroll after the rookie crashed into the barriers at turn 5 on day 3 of the testing, his third of the week. Given how fast the fans catches up with these things, Stroll already has a website similar to the one Maldonado had: Has Lance Stroll Crashed Yet? 

Will Kimi get his icecream?
Will Lance Stroll crash again?

Will McLaren build an engine and make Honda pay for it?
 
All these and more questions will be answered when the next round of testing gets underway. Comment in the box if you already know the answers to the above questions.

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