Memories of 2011: Testing reveals all
Predicting the outcome of a championship before it has even started can prove a dangerous game, but pre-season testing at Barcelona offered Edd Straw a unique insight into how each team's 2011 challenger was shaping up - and the RB7 looked ominously good...
The Circuit de Catalunya, just outside Barcelona, can be a bleak place in the winter. But the cold chill didn't matter during the third pre-season test on February 18-21. That test, specifically the time spent watching trackside at Turn 3, sticks in my mind as the moment that the 2011 Formula 1 season really started for me.
The early days of testing are a phony war. You can look at the cars, marvel at an innovative design features such as Renault's forward-facing exhaust or Scuderia Toro Rosso's 'twin floor' sidepod arrangement, but teams have very different priorities to the watching world when it comes to their on-track work. It's only once the 'boring' stuff is out of the way, proving systems work, checking for overheating, finding the correct set-up parameters and making sure that the car is behaving on track in a manner that roughly correlates with the windtunnel and CFD, that the real fun begins. Usually, that's the second half of testing.
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