In those numbers was a hint of the dominance to come from Brawn GP and the relatively poor performance of McLaren’s MP4-24. But they were also a bit misleading in that the second best improved team was BMW followed by Ferrari, neither of which have impressed much this year. Red Bull, currently second in the Constructors’ Championship, did only marginally better in the comparison table.
Last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix marked the start of the European F1 season which is traditionally the time when teams introduce upgrades to their cars. In fact, in previous years, many teams would only release their new car when they got to Europe, choosing to run the previous season’s car for the opening flyaway races.
So with most of the teams bringing updated cars to Spain there was a lot of talk of improvements in lap times. BMW’s upgrade was the most radical, attaching a new rear wing, front wing and a completely redesigned nose. BMW team boss, Mario Theissen, said they were hoping for a half second per lap improvement.
But are the cars significantly faster now than they were at the beginning of the year? As the teams all tested at the Circuit de Catalunya in the winter we can compare their times set in testing with their times set during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.
Below is a table comparing the fastest time set by each team at the Barcelona test in February to their fastest time set during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.
|Team||Driver (Test)||Best Time (Test)||Driver (GP)||Best Time (GP)||Difference|
To be honest, I’m a bit confused by the results. It shows that all the teams except McLaren posted slower lap times at the Spanish Grand Prix than they did in testing. In fact Brawn GP were the second biggest losers in the comparison despite dominating the race last weekend.
Perhaps this kind of comparison is not really valid but if BMW claim their car is now half a second a lap faster shouldn’t they have been able to at least match the time they set in testing?
If anyone has any ideas about how to interpret these results, I’d love to hear it in the comments.
Image: BMW AG