We’re only three days into winter testing and the new breed of F1 cars have been regularly crushing last year’s Spanish Grand Prix pole time.
In qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last year, Lewis Hamilton put in a 1:22.000 to snatch pole position.
Already, 2017’s epic-looking F1 machines have smashed that, with Valtteri Bottas putting in a staggering 1:19.705 on the ulta-soft tyre in the morning session for Mercedes.
Plus, quite a few other cars like the Red Bull and Ferrari have lapped quite a bit below the 2016 pole time too.
Sure, it’s tough to really read much into testing times, but that’s still mightily impressive and a good start for F1’s new cars – especially in these early stages.
The aim was to make them four to five seconds quicker, but that was back in 2015 and the rate of development in 2016 means the cars probably aren’t going to reach those figures initially.
But if the 2017 machines are already a few seconds up on last year and with the tasty prospect of a fresh development race, times will continue to tumble through testing and the season as a whole.
In case you’ve been living under a rock all winter, F1’s regulations have gone through considerable changes – mainly to do with aero.
Front wings and rear wings are wider and more angular, bargeboards and turning vane rules have been opened up, the diffuser is bigger and the shark fins have returned.
Plus, there’s the meaty, 25% wider Pirelli tyres, which have already brought a big performance advantage.
F1 wanted to make cars quicker and it seems to have done just that, and it’s only day three of F1 testing.
A good sign of things to come, but whether these new cars will produce spectacular racing remains to be seen. We’ll have to wait until Melbourne to find out!