Winter Testing

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Which team had made the biggest step forward over the winter?

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Total Votes : 1

Winter Testing

Post by Ross on Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:24 pm


Kimi Raikkonen, Sakhir, Bahrain, Ferrari.
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It's only 23 days until the season opener in Melbourne, and hopefully you've all been following the winter testing in Spain and Bahrain. I'd be interested to know who people think is looking the stongest, and who has made the most and least progress through the winter.
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I personally think Ferrari are going to absolutely dominate this season. They haven't been testing so much in Europe but in Bahrain they were fantastically quick. The times they were setting in the desert were reaching two seconds faster than any time set in last year's Grand Prix at Sakhir.
To add to Ferrari's apparent superiority, McLaren aren't looking as strong as they were this time last year in comparison to the other teams. Obviously the only time the Woking-based squad tested with Ferrari was the first multi-team test of 2008 back in January and because back then both teams' cars were very early on, the times were not an accurate benchmark. You therefore can only really compare Ferrari to Toyota, and last year's Bahrain times, and McLaren to the rest of the field.
Of the three or four day tests at Barcelona and Jerez, McLaren have only been leading one or possibly two days and other teams, such as Red Bull, have set the fastest all-round times. So I can't see that McLaren are making as much progress as was expected.
Williams are looking alot stronger, as are Renault, with the advantage of a double world champion back at the wheel. BMW, however, have had a rocky start to 2008 with handling problems early on. The team are confident now though, that they have rolled out their kinks and are back focussing on winning their first race. We have still yet to see and improvement in testing times, however.
Dietrich Mateschitz said last month that he wants Red Bull to this year establish themselves at the third best team in Formula One. Both Coulthard and Webber immediately dismissed this, however it doesn't seem like an impossible target anymore. Obviously Ferrari and McLaren will again storm off into the lead, however BMW are still struggling with handling 'teething' problems and Fernando Alonso has admitted Renault have failed to make any progress over the winter. And apart from the big two, Red Bull have lead the most test sessions, by far.
So I believe Red Bull can acheive what BMW managed last year. We'll see anyway.
Toro Rosso have chosen to stick to their 2007 car, the STR 2, for the time being, which has appeared to give them a slight edge over their nearest competitors. They have not tested against the new Ferrari yet though, so it will be interesting to see how they compare at this weeks Catalunya test.
As for Honda and Super Aguri, both teams have hit problems already. Super Aguri's launch has had to be postponed for a few weeks due to management difficulties, and Honda have made very little progress. With Ross Brawn at the helm of the Brackley team for 2008 they were expected to improve by a fair margin over the winter, However this has not been the case and the new RA108 'Earth Dreams' car has had no impact on the testing time sheets what-so-ever.
From winter testing I believe the teams to look out for this season are Ferrari, Williams, Red Bull and Renault, all of which seem to have made a big step forward from last year.
I reckon the teams that will be less competetive than expected this year are BMW, Honda, Force India (with a B-spec of last year's Spyker), McLaren and Toyota (we haven't seen much of Toyota and Trulli and Glock's times against the Ferraris' were somewhat unimpressive).
We've yet to see what STR and Super Aguri can do, so that'll be interesting. And as testing goes, Nelson Piquet Jr who?
Few testing pics:

Felipe Massa, Sakhir, Bahrain, Ferrari F2008.

Nick Heidfeld, Catalunya, Spain, BMW F1.08

Lucas di Grassi, Jerez, Spain, Renault R28.

Nico Rosberg, Jerez, Spain, Williams FW30.

Mark Webber, Catalunya, Spain, Red Bull RB4.

Timo Glock, Sakhir, Bahrain, Toyota TF108

Sebastian Vettel, Jerez, Spain, Toro Rosso STR2.

Jenson Button, Catalunya, Spain, Honda RA108.

Anthony Davidson, Valencia, Spain, Super Aguri SA07.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Jerez, Spain, Force India VJM1.

Lewis Hamilton, Catalunya, Spain, McLaren Mercedes MP4-23.
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Ross
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