Formula 1

The Biggest Shocks During Pre-season Testing Of The Formula 1 Car

There is very little time left until the start of the new Formula 1 season. All teams make the final tests, and drivers are preparing for the new challenges that await them on the track. The next month, tests will be held at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona from 18 to 21 February, while the second testing will take place from February 26 to March 1. However, it is well known that teams always prepare new cars for the new season, so drivers can sometimes have a problem with new machines. It does not matter if these are new drivers or experienced ones, these situations were happening before. We did a little research and we found the 5 biggest shocks that happened during these tests. So, let’s start.

Brawn stun the paddock with sensational start

The 2009 season brought us a truly fairy-tale story, and it refers to the Brawn GP team that won the championship title this legendary season. After the problems caused by Honda, because they pulled out from the competition at the end of the 2008 season, the team did not have the owner. The problem was solved by Ross Brawn who bought the team and retained the main drivers-Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. Instead of Honda’s engines, Brawn GP made an agreement to use Mercedes machines.

Ross Brawn is known as the man who had already had the experience of winning the Formula 1 title since he was previously the technical director of Benetton and Ferrari teams. However, he now faced a new challenge.

On the tests that took place in Barcelona and Jerez, both drivers, Button and Barrichello achieved impressive results, so everyone was wondering if they could repeat it during the race. This was a great shock for all Formula 1 fans, as surely nobody expected Button to win 6 races and become a champion, and Barrichello to be third in the ranking. But Button and Barrichello just did it, and that was a great surprise for everyone.

Prost go light but fail to kick on

Prost Grand Prix was the team that was founded by former fourfold winner of the Formula 1 championship, Alain Prost.

After the unsuccessful season of 2000, Alain Prost had trouble getting the sponsors. However, in the first pre-season testing, the drivers achieved admirable results, so many thought that they could achieve significant success in the 2001 season. Indeed, their AP04 car had incredible performance, which Jean Alesi showed at tests in Estoril in Portugal where were quicker for a second from all the other competitors.

Because of these results, they were even suspected of driving with a lower fuel load. However, drivers didn’t repeat successful pre-season results during the season, so they won only 4 points. After that season, Prost GP is no longer competing in the championship.

McLaren-Honda’s reunion begins badly

We mentioned earlier that Honda after the 2008 season pulled out of the competition. However, in 2015, Honda returned to Formula 1. This was not the first time that the two brands co-operate in the championship. During the 80s and 90s, they had a lot of success, so reunion was expected to produce good results.

Although they had excellent and experienced drivers, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, it soon became clear that cooperation would not be as successful as before. Already at the first testing in Jerez, the cars had a problem with the power-unit. In the next test drive, Alonso crashed in Barcelona, and he had to miss the rest of the test and the first race of the season in Australia.

This season was very bad for the team because they ended up next-to-last in the competition of the constructors. Unfortunately, the problems continued in the coming years, so Honda and McLaren broke up in 2017.

Red Bull’s shaky start to F1’s new era

The 2014 season brought a significant changes in the rules in Formula 1 championship. Also, since this season, the teams began to use 1.6 liter, V6 turbo hybrid engines.

This season, Red Bull began as a champion in the competition of the constructors, and has won the same title for the past four seasons. However, in the tests before the start of the season, it became clear that the new season would not be as successful as some previous. Although they had great drivers and champions in their team, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, there were still problems.

The new car, the RB10 was supposed to bring another title, but it was the opposite. The team had a lot of problems with the Renault engine. At the end of the season, they were second on the list in the competition of the constructors, while Mercedes won its first title.

McLaren’s MP4/4 makes an instant impact

McLaren is one of the most iconic teams in Formula 1. It is known that they currently do not have as much success, but they once dominated this sport. For example, the 1988 season was unforgettable for McLaren in every sense.

That year, they had incredible legendary drivers, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, as well as an excellent MP4/4 car. This car was powered by a new Honda V6 engine and everyone knew it was one of the best vehicles at that moment in the competition. The true performance of this car could be seen by everyone during the tests in Rio, when Senna was quicker in two seconds in comparison to the competition.

So, in that season, McLaren won 15 of 16 races, while Senna became champion.