Its now less than a fortnight until the Formula One engines start roaring again. After a long winter break, the first official test of the 2016 Formula One season will be held from February 22 to 25 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. Testing is a crucial part of any team’s preparation for the forthcoming season as it allows them a chance to gather a wide collection of data on their newly built cars and engines.
Particular importance will be on the test this year as the FIA has permitted only two pre-season tests, one less than last season. This means that there will be less time than previous seasons for the teams to iron out any aerodynamic or software kinks.
At this point in time, Renault are the only team to have revealed there 2016 challenger, the RS16. Red Bull are the next scheduled team to release their car, as they are set for a livery only reveal on the February 17 (most likely a testing livery like last season). McLaren will launch their car online on the night before the test, whilst Haas and Manor have announced that they will reveal there cars the morning of the first test. Sauber have said that they will wait until the second test on the March 1 to unveil there 2016 challenger, while they will be running their 2015 car with the 2016 livery at the first test. Ferrari has announced that they will be revealing their car in an online event, but have not confirmed the date yet. The remaining teams — Force India, Mercedes, Toro Rosso and Williams — have not announced anything about when their 2016 cars will be revealed.
The test is held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix. It has been used for testing before as it’s layout provides a long straight as well as a mix of fast, medium and slow corners. Both pre-season tests will be held here.
Testing does provide the first glimpse into the potential running order of the season, but it cannot be 100% accurate. The teams’ focus is not on speed, but instead on gaining mileage on the car and many teams sandbag their lap times.
The first test will be underway on the February 22, which coincides with the beginning of the NASCAR season, for motorsport fans which enjoy a good stock car race.