Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

New surface helps teams find three seconds per lap

Lap Time Watch: 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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For the first time this year every F1 team is lapping quicker at this weekend’s track then they managed to 12 months ago.

However the new surface at the Circuit de Catalunya is likely to explain why the field is lapping it almost three seconds faster than they did in 2017.

Even Williams, which has failed to match the pace of its 2017 car on several occasions this year, are one-and-a-half seconds quicker. However this is the smallest improvement of any team – all bar one of their rivals have found at least 1.3 seconds more – further illustrating the depth of Williams’ 2018 plight.

The most-improved team in the field this weekend is Haas. This should come as no surprise, as they impressed at this track in testing.

The combination of a faster track surface, four years’ development of the V6 hybrid turbos and last year’s aerodynamic rules overhaul means the cars are now lapping the same track eight seconds quicker than they were four years ago.

However expect some of that to reverse next year. The aerodynamic changes coming for the 2019 F1 season are expected to make the cars one-and-a-half seconds slower, according to the FIA.

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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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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6 comments on “New surface helps teams find three seconds per lap”

  1. What was Felipe Massa doing there? Gloating he does not to drive this car?

    1. Massa and Kubica next race? Hahah

  2. It’s almost like Williams is keeping its money in the bank instead of the car to attract a takeover. Williams is like a tanking NBA team looking to advance its position in the next draft now. They can’t be seriously trying to put a competitive car on the track.

  3. Michael Brown (@)
    12th May 2018, 21:22

    Proper headline: Even Williams faster this year

  4. ”the cars are now lapping the same track eight seconds quicker than they were four years ago.”
    – The difference between this season’s pole time and the 2014 equivalent is actually little over 9 seconds rather than 8 seconds to be precise (1:16.173 Vs. 1:25.232).

    1. Incredible difference @jerejj! Certainly makes the 2014 cars seem like laggards! I hope when it comes to 2021, that they manage to both keep the a similar level of performance in the cars and improve the racing/ability to follow 🤞

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