Formula 1 2020 Pre-Testing Preview
The new season is almost upon us
On the verge of the new season of Formula 1, I have decided to take the jump into some form of writing about the sport. I have been a fan of Formula 1 for a long time now, to the point where I went on to study Automotive Engineering at university and base my career on the automotive industry. Currently, I do not work in Formula 1, not yet at least.
So, as a bit of a hobby or something else to do other than playing Xbox in my free time my thoughts were to start a form of regular writing about the sport. The issues being I have no idea about journalism, and no idea where to start, so here we go…
Seeing as testing begins on the 19th and the car release period is now complete, a preview of the season seems a good place to start. A new addition to the sport that I am liking is the live coverage of all days of testing this year. I feel the new approach of the relatively new owners of F1, Liberty Media, are taking in terms of the coverage of the sport is a good one, allowing the formerly secretive world to be seen by all spectators. The removal of the screen teams use across their garages during testing for this year being a prime example of this.
Ferrari, after an extremely lavish reveal ceremony, have announced a different approach to their car’s design this year. Last season they were dominant on the straights, having the most powerful engine but their lack of downforce in comparison to others consistently let them down through the corners. An aim to improve downforce for this year could see them return with a more rounded, and overall faster car around the full lap, not just the straight parts.
One thing every F1 fan will be hoping for this season will be a closer and more consistent battle at the front between the top three teams. Red Bull, along with Ferrari were able to take the fight to Mercedes at points across the previous season, but ultimately fell short in the fight for the title. A 6-way fight between the drivers of the 3 top teams would be a great advert for the sport and in this relatively consistent year in terms of the sports rules and regulations, the team’s cars should be closer in terms of overall performance. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen will more than likely be chosen at the number 1 drivers for their respective teams, but Ferrari are perhaps more open with their leading driver, so it will be interesting to see how the dynamic at the front of the field will play out.
Looking further down the field, McLaren with their updated livery, featuring weight saving matte orange paint, will be hoping to build on a very positive 2019. They have a very exciting driver line up with two very quick drivers in Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris. The two developed a bromance over the last season, a dynamic which seems to have helped the team develop to where they are now.
The midfield battle has often been a place where the more exciting racing happens. I feel this is because the teams in this area of the field are more well matched to each other compared to the top teams. Therefore, in general the pace of the cars is similar at a greater number of the tracks the F1 visits. The newly named Alpha Tauri also had a good season last year and along with their rather striking new livery and a more settled pair of drivers, I feel they could be in for a good season.
Renault will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 in which they fell backwards to fifth rather than reducing the gap to the top 3 as they were expecting. One thing I am glad to see is the return of Esteban Ocon to the F1 grid. I felt he was hard done by when he lost his seat at Racing Point through no fault of his own and he certainly has the pace to be in a team towards the front of the grid.
Looking towards the back of the grid Alfa Romeo and Haas had intermittent form last season, Alfa Romeo particularly falling away towards the end of the season. Having launched their 2020 car in a snakeskin camouflage livery, they will be hoping they have understood the reasons for their dip in form.
And Williams… I don’t think anyone who understands F1 likes to see the Williams car being consistently lapped each and every race. With the Mercedes power unit in the back of the car it can only be down to the team’s approach to the chassis / aerodynamic design which has been causing their serious lack of pace. If they can bring the car towards the middle of the pack it will be good to see them racing again, especially considering they have the very talented George Russell 2018 Formula 2 champion behind the wheel.
And so, as the 2020 cars start taking to the track for their first meaningful miles, the question remains, who has engineered the fastest race car?