Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Lap times watch: 2018 F1 pre-season testing day seven

2018 F1 season

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Ferrari moved the benchmark drastically on day seven of testing for the 2018 F1 season. Bearing Pirelli’s new hyper-soft tyres, Sebastian Vettel’s scorched around the Circuit de Catalunya in 1’17.182 – over 2.3 seconds faster than they’d gone before.

At the end of last week’s running Pirelli said lap times might reach the 1’17s. Indeed they have, and if one of the front-running teams feels so inclined tomorrow we might see a 1’16. Note that Kevin Magnussen, in his Haas got within 1.1s off Vettel today using tyres that were two stages harder.

How much quicker are they than last year?

There’s another reason why Haas’s lap time looks good for Ferrari. Unlike Sauber, they used a 2017-specification Ferrari power unit last year, yet the year-on-year gains they have made are comparable to Sauber’s. Haas’s figures therefore suggest Ferrari’s engine is producing plenty of grunt along with copious amounts of smoke.

Mercedes’ customers, however, don’t seem to be making as great strides. Force India have their hopes pinned on a big upgrade coming in time for the first race.

Williams, however, is the only team left which hasn’t lapped quicker at this test than it did 12 months ago. Robert Kubica has set the team’s fastest time so far, 0.6 seconds faster than either of their race drivers.

Mileage watch

Despite last week’s disruptions, some teams have already exceeded their 2017 testing mileage total, chiefly those who had a tough time last year. These include Red Bull, Toro Rosso and McLaren.

Power units must last seven race distances this year – 2,135 kilometres – plus further running in practice and qualifying. So a team seeking to prove an engine will have to do considerably more than that. Of course teams don’t necessarily reveal when they’re changed a power unit.

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2018 pre-season testing so far

Red Bull3216.6km
Toro Rosso3100.2km
Force India2550.9km

2017 pre-season testing total

Force India3654.2km
Red Bull3184km
Toro Rosso2718.5km

2018 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 8 comments on “Lap times watch: 2018 F1 pre-season testing day seven”

    1. The first time that anyone sets a sub-1m18s lap time around this circuit in its current 2007-present configuration.

    2. Please note that it was K-Mag in the HAAS!

      1. Corrected, thanks.

    3. Lennard Mascini (@)
      9th March 2018, 5:57

      Loving these articles @keithcollantine, any chance of a big table showing every team’s fastest time on each tyre compound?

    4. Haas’s figures therefore suggest Ferrari’s engine is producing plenty of grunt along with copious amounts of smoke.

      Smoke from the exhaust is synonymous with the burning of oil. I doubt the amount burnt would contribute much to the power of the engine, but it could well exceed the maximum allowed by the FIA.

      1. No you are completely wrong about the smoke. All the cars this year expel a lot of oil as per the new rules. In the past they were allowed to recycle the oil back into the engine. The oil is just not as visible from the other teams cars.

    5. How can it be an indication of a good powerunit when teams jumping one and two generations make the same gains?

      If anything it makes it seem like Saubers gains are all from the engine while Haas has an blazing chassis.

      1. it makes it seem like Saubers gains are all from the engine while Haas has an blazing chassis.

        That seems to be a more logical explanation. @Rethla
        Especially after all the reports last year that the Ferrari PU improved so much and was close to the Mercedes unit in HP.

    Comments are closed.