February start to 2016 testing

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya officials have announced that they will be the sole hosts of the two pre season tests scheduled before the start of the 2016 Formula One season. The tests will be divided into two four-day sessions, the first test will run from February 22-25 and the second will run from March 1-4.

They also took this time to announce all 2016 Spanish Grand Prix tickets holders will be able to attend the eight days of testing for free.

These dates have been brought forward following the changes in the F1 calendar. The changes have seen the season opening Australian Grand Prix scheduled for March 20th instead of its initial April 3rd slot. The tests were originally scheduled to run from March 1-4 for the first test and March 15-18 for the second test.

Williams’ Rob Smedley recently claimed that starting the season earlier will make life “really tough” for all F1 teams, while Red Bull team principal admits his team was “right on the limit” to be able to make the first test amidst uncertainty around its power supply.

Despite the various complaints from the teams these tests actually give the teams an extra month to get the cars prepared and requires less travel compared to the 2015 pre-season tests. The 2015 pre-season test days started on February 1st in Jerez which ran for four days, the teams then had to travel back to the respective main bases before travelling to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for four days of testing between February 19-22 and then a third test from February 26th to March 1st.

These test days meant some teams were not ready in time for the first test with Force India, Sauber and Red Bull all failing to have their full specification cars ready. With the extra months preparation the teams now have for the 2016 season we should see almost all teams arrive in Spain fully prepared.

By: Chris Laker
Follow his blog here