F1 2016: Pre-season test Barcelona Preview 22nd – 25th February

At this stage last year teams had already taken part in two pre-season tests.  With the first race of the season due to take part in Australia on the 20th March, there are just two pre-season tests this year for teams to start to get to grips with their 2016 machines.

Both of these pre-season tests will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – the first of which kicks off tomorrow morning.

All 11 teams will be present at the test although only Sauber will be without their 2016 car. Instead their drivers will run the 2015 car with a revised livery. While teams such as Williams, McLaren, and Haas have revealed photographs of their new cars online, testing will be the first opportunity to see all the new cars as they take to the track for the first time.

Toro Rosso will be running an interim livery – with the real deal set to be unveiled at the second test – while Renault’s livery is also expected to change before the first race.

Testing line-up:

TEAM DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3 DAY 4
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg Lewis  Hamilton Nico Rosberg
Ferrari  Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel Kimi Räikkönen Kimi Räikkönen
Williams Valtteri Bottas Valtteri Bottas Felipe Massa Felipe Massa
Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo Daniel Ricciardo Daniil Kvyat Daniil Kvyat
Force India Alfonso Celis Jr Sergio Perez Nico Hulkenberg Alfonso Celis Jr
Renault Jolyon Palmer Jolyon Palmer Kevin Magnussen Kevin Magnussen
Toro Rosso Carlos Sainz Max Verstappen Carlos Sainz Max Verstappen
Sauber Marcus Ericsson Marcus Ericsson Felipe Nasr Felipe Nasr
McLaren Jenson Button Fernando Alonso Jenson Button Fernando Alonso
Manor Pascal Wehrlein Pascal Wehrlein Rio Haryanto Rio Haryanto
Haas Romain Grosjean Esteban Gutierrez Romain Grosjean Esteban Gutierrez

Alfonso Celis Jr will be the only test/reserve driver in action, splitting the running with  Force  India’s regular race drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. For Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez it will be their first outings with new teams. 2016 rookies Jolyon Palmer, Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto will also be in action.

Pre-season testing doesn’t give a clear picture of the order the teams will end up come the first race of the season, but it gives somewhat of an indication. It will be an important eight days for the likes of McLaren, Manor and Haas but for very different reasons.

McLaren endured a torrid 2015 season and this struggle started at pre-season testing where they failed to string laps together. They will be hoping for better reliability in the early stages of the year. For Manor it is a brand new line-up with a brand new car. They will have Mercedes engines for the 2016 season, having raced with older Ferrari power in the past. And finally, for Haas it is their first season in Formula One with a brand new car. They are hoping to score points in their maiden season and have a promising line-up in experienced driver Grosjean and former Sauber driver and Ferrari tester Gutierrez.

Ferrari will be hoping that they can close the gap to Mercedes and mount a sustained challenge throughout the whole season. For Williams it is another opportunity to make steps forward, having finished third in the championship for the past two seasons. Renault have returned to the sport as a works team for the first time since the 2009 season while Red Bull will hope to put their engine problems behind them. Toro Rosso will run Ferrari engines this year – having ran with Renault Power Units last year – with Force India coming off the back of their best season in Formula One. Mercedes will remain the team to beat having won the championship convincingly for the past two seasons.

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