After snow and freezing temperatures impacted the first week of 2018 winter F1 testing in Barcelona, the second week delivered much better weather and more track time for the teams. Here’s our images and observations from our trip to Barcelona last week.
All images © F1Destinations.com.
The sun was out and temperatures hovered around 15-20 degrees Celsius all week. Spectator numbers also seemed to be higher this year, though I don’t think many more than 1000-2000 fans went through the turnstiles on any given day. The biggest visual change to this year’s F1 cars is the addition of the controversial halo safety device, which definitely makes it more difficult to see which driver is behind the wheel when you are watching from the grandstands. Nevertheless, I think the teams have done a good job of integrating the halo into their overall design and have the feeling we will be talking about it less as the year progresses, especially if we have some close races and a genuine battle for the championship.
The big revelation from the spectators point of view was getting access to the inside of the circuit, especially the roof of the pit building. This access has always been available to circuit members (it’s worth joining up if you plan to visit the track more than once in a year) but was offered as an ‘add on’ this year. For an additional €30 per day (in addition to €20 for general admission) you were granted access to the roof of the pits building, inner grandstand and able to join the daily pitlane walk, as well as given a 10-minute ride on the circuit’s go kart track.
The overhead views from the pit roof were a nice bonus, though my heart did skip a beat when I narrowly avoided dropping my sunglasses into Kimi Raikkonen’s cockpit when going for an overhead photo during one of his pitstops! I also took a guided tour of the circuit on Wednesday (€50, including general admission access), which took about 90 minutes and included visits to the podium, media conference room and control center, plus a bus tour of the circuit and a quick stroll through the paddock.
Toro Rosso seems to have adapted very well to Honda power. The team experienced a largely trouble-free test, clocking up the third highest number of laps of any team (over 800) and whilst they did use three Honda engines over 8 days, the third engine was used without significant issues for the whole of the second week of testing.