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Sport Winners and losers from Winter Testing

16:12  13 march  2018
16:12  13 march  2018 Source:   planetf1.com

Only Alonso sets time in weather-affected day 3 of testing

  Only Alonso sets time in weather-affected day 3 of testing Only Fernando Alonso set a time in the severely weather-affected third day of 2018 Formula 1 pre-season testing, with first snow then rain preventing running. The Spaniard set two timed laps in the final hour of the day, managing a time of 2m18.545s as the chequered flag came out. The session was delayed for three hours in the morning, with visibility being too poor for the medical helicopter to take off. A further hour after the track finally opened Alonso was the first man to venture out, managing a single installation lap on the full-wet tyres. He went on to put McLaren at the top of the lap count chart at the end of the day with 11 laps completed, five times the number of anybody else. Daniel Ricciardo managed two laps for Red Bull, although his second lap included a trip into the gravel trap on the very wet circuit. Brendon Hartley also completed two laps, with Marcus Ericsson and Robert Kubica driving a single installation lap apiece. The five remaining teams deciding to reserve their resources for a session where the track would have more representative conditions. To counter Wednesday’s lack of running some teams have lobbied for testing to continue on Friday but it is unlikely the unanimity will be reached to make such a decision.

Date published: March 13 2018. Winter testing is in the books, now all eyes are on Australia. But what shape are each team in as we start to raise the curtain on the 2018 season? Winners .

You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience. Opinion: The biggest winners and losers won in a single Olympics (39, which tops the U.S. total of 37 set in Vancouver) and took the medal count by winning gold in the last race of the Winter Olympics.

Winter testing is in the books, now all eyes are on Australia. But what shape are each team in as we start to raise the curtain on the 2018 season?

Winners

Mercedes

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

Slicker than the oil they burn in qualifying, Mercedes are continuing to set the standard with quiet professionalism and expert efficiency.

The Silver Arrows were once again the only team to surpass the 1000-lap mark and, in the process, completed nearly 75% of the distance covered over the entire Formula 1 season.

Yet your eyes will have to skim all the way down to P8 to find Mercedes’ best time of winter testing - a 1:18.400 on ultrasofts by Lewis Hamilton. They were never once tempted to strap on the hypersofts and grab the headlines. Now is not the time for that.

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Winter testing is in the books, now all eyes are on Australia. Powered by F1reader.com | Close Top Bar. Winners and losers from Winter Testing .

Russia was a big loser of the 2018 Winter Olympics long before the Games even began. Alexander Krushelnitsky of the mixed doubles curling team tested positive for meldonium. As far as figure skating goes, we could go any number of ways with the winners and losers .

Instead, the predominant focus was on laps, laps, laps. Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas split duties throughout each day and blasted the cobwebs away with intense race simulation programmes.

The reliability of the Mercedes is as strong as ever and it feels inevitable, ominous even, that the pace will follow very soon.

Red Bull

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

There were a couple of little bumps in the road for Red Bull at winter testing, but they are heading into the season in a better place than this time last year.

A strong showing in the second week of testing meant Red Bull fell just short of their 100-lap daily target and there are no reported inconsistencies between wind tunnel and track, a problem which held them back in the early stages of the 2017 season.

Gasly: Toro Rosso going in the right direction

  Gasly: Toro Rosso going in the right direction Pierre Gasly believes Toro Rosso is “going in the right direction” as it continued to rack up milage on the first day of the second pre-season test. The Frenchman posted the fifth-fastest time at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, continuing to showcase new engine supplier Honda’s progress over the winter. However, his afternoon running was cut short after a brake system issue, limiting Gasly to complete just one lap to add to his morning tally. Despite the small setback, Gasly was encouraged by the cars performance. “I think it was a really positive day,” said Gasly. “With the fifth-fastest time it’s always nice to set a good laptime. “Of course it hasn’t been the easiest one. We had a small issue on the brake system so we didn’t run at all in the afternoon – which is a little bit annoying. “We didn’t test as much as we would have liked, but I think we are going in the right direction. In terms of set-up we are improving so we need to keep pushing for the next three days.” Asked how confident he felt about the teams performance heading to Melbourne, Gasly reckoned it was still too early to give an indication as to where the Faenza-based outfit lie compared to its rivals. “The good thing is that we are improving day by day,” he added. “This is definitely positive. I think it’s quite early to compare with the others, no-one [has] really shown their full potential. “We just try to focus on ourself, try to maximise the potential we have and I think we will find out in Melbourne who is the quickest.

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Launching what looks like a very impressive RB14 earlier than usual has given them a foundation to perhaps be in a position to attack straight from the off.

The question, as always, is whether the engine supplied by Renault will be capable of going toe-to-toe with the Mercedes and Ferrari power units, but everything under Red Bull’s control looks to be safe and sound heading into Australia.

Renault

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

It seems Renault have made another step in the right direction as they look to become a major player in Formula 1 further down the line. Apart from a gearbox issue on the final day, the RS18 ran reliably and both Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz are upbeat about the new car.

Whilst we know that the Renault power unit is the third quickest, the gap is also trying to be bridged by an increased focus on aerodynamics, with lots of new parts - including a completely new front wing - being trialled in the second week.

Force India need "good step" to return to top of midfield

  Force India need Sergio Perez believes Force India has lost ground on its midfield rivals, but is confident the team can find improvements before the Australian Grand Prix. Force India opted to run an updated version of its 2017 car during preseason testing to allow the aerodynamics team more time to develop the package. The decision has left the squad on the backfoot and Perez believes the Melbourne update will need to be a “good step” to put the team back at the top of the midfield. “We definitely need a good step for the first race and hopefully that will come and we can be competitive from then onwards,”he said. “What we are experiencing these days is probably irrelevant because once we go to race weekends track temperatures are going to be quite different to what we’ve had so far. “Right now, it’s hard to judge where we are but certainly I don’t think we are leading the mid-pack at the moment, but I certainly always say it doesn’t matter where we start, it’s where you are in Abu Dhabi. “We will see in Melbourne where we are, once we bring our package, but I’m very hopeful of what we are going to have for Melbourne. “It’s too early to be disappointed or happy. We have to keep our heads down and working.” Force India has neither lit up the timing screens nor the lap charts. The team managed just 166 laps in the first preseason test, and Perez admitted he’d only completed part of his test programme, but he’s pleased with what has been achieved so far. “We managed to complete part of the programme and it’s been a very positive day in terms of what we’ve done, what we’ve learned and just gathering data it’s been positive today,” he said after the first day of the second test. Perez is scheduled for just one more day of testing before the start of the season.

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It would come as no surprise to see the Enstone team in the fight for fourth spot this season.

Haas

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

One unexpected headline from winter testing was the emergence of Haas as this year’s ‘dark horse’, with their times on the supersofts and ultrasofts catching the eye. Tyre corrected, the VF18 is just 0.5 seconds off the works Ferrari but, at this stage, that is nothing more than a positive projection.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner put the encouraging numbers down to having a good understanding of how to get the tyres to work at the Circuit de Catalunya. It remains to be seen whether that will translate to the tracks all across the globe.

But one thing is for certain: everyone will be looking out for them to see what they are capable of from the get-go. Haas can quite often go under the radar because of their relative infancy and their lack of big-name sponsors; not this time.

Toro Rosso

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

If Haas were a pleasant surprise, then a lie down was most definitely needed after witnessing the reliability of the Honda engine.

Alonso hopeful McLaren resolves reliability before Melbourne

  Alonso hopeful McLaren resolves reliability before Melbourne Fernando Alonso says he hopes McLaren will be able to overcome its latest reliability woes before the first race in Australia but assures the team has the issues “well under control”. The double world champion ground to a halt on the second day of the second test with what appeared to be an oil leak – the latest in a series of setbacks for the Woking outfit. Alonso completed 47 laps before the stoppage, setting McLaren’s fastest time of pre-season testing during the morning session. Asked his thoughts on the the team’s breakdowns across the six completed days of testing, Alonso said: “I think this is more or less normal in every new car. “Maybe you are new to this but I’m in [my] 18th winter testing and I keep discovering things ever since then. “It’s the same not only in winter testing, before the test was completely free so we were testing between races. So I remember from Monaco before Canada going to Paul Ricard, doing maybe a 20-lap day and there was no coverage. Now I understand there’s a 100-plus media so every red flag, something like that, attracts a lot of attention.” Although the Spaniard admits McLaren’s situation is not ideal, with just two days of testing remaining, he insists the British marque is working hard to resolve any concerns. “There is nothing fundamentally wrong in the car,” he added. “The issues we have, they are well under control.

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Let’s look over “The Winds of Winter ” and see who thrived, who dived, and who just made it through the longest episode in Game of Thrones history, and who might have done better if it hadn’t been for those last ten minutes. Winner , Winner , Chicken Dinner.

Sure, there were a few coughs and splutters along the way, but that was more than manageable compared to the destructive virus suffered at testing last year.

Honda used just one power unit throughout the entire second of testing and finished a very respectable third on the mileage charts, completing on average over 100 laps a day.

Doubts remain over whether the Honda engine will be anywhere near quick enough to compete for points, but both Toro Rosso and Honda are off to an excellent start of their relationship and could well end up being a match made in heaven.

Losers

Ferrari

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

12 months ago, Ferrari verified their pre-season progression with a long overdue victory in Australia; but, this year, you will not find many in the paddock who feel lightning will strike twice.

Sebastian Vettel obliterated the unofficial track record at the Circuit de Catalunya and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was only a tenth away from doing the same. Yet that headline time of a 1:17.182 on the hypersofts has been faintly written with a pencil and not with a bright red permanent marker.

There seems to be very little buzz and excitement surrounding Ferrari, even though they were only second to Mercedes in the mileage charts (929), and that lack of enthusiasm is rooted in the race simulation data which has them off the pace of their major rival...and Red Bull, too.

Hartley: Toro Rosso 'definitely' in the fight for points in Australia

  Hartley: Toro Rosso 'definitely' in the fight for points in Australia Brendon Hartley believes Toro Rosso’s ‘better than expected’ pre-season testing means the Italian outfit heads to Melbourne in contention for a points finish. Toro Rosso emerged as the surprise package in testing having switched to Honda power this year, with the Japanese supplier showing a vast improvement in reliability. Hartley completed over 150 laps on Friday as testing came to a close, adding to an impressive haul of milage for the Faenza-based squad. The Kiwi says there is a “positive vibe” in the camp after the team exceeded its own expectations, and while he predicts the midfield battle to be “tough” in 2018, Hartley is optimistic Toro Rosso can fight for the points-paying positions from the outset. “The initial brief from Toro Rosso was that Melbourne might be tough but actually after these test days we’ve exceeded our own expectations and we are definitely in the fight for those points,” Hartley said. “There’s a real positive vibe that we can keep improving this car during the season. First we have to score a point in Melbourne, that’s the goal. “Those last points are really hard fought for. Obviously there can be crashes and there can be reliability issues up front and sometimes and sometimes those fifth to 10th places become available or even higher. “Toro Rosso got a fourth place last year and we know that we have won a race in fact so you have to be opportunistic and you have to take those points when you can. That’s why that midfield battle is so tough. “There’s definitely those three teams that are going to be fighting for the championship but the midfield battle for those last four points scoring places is a really tough one. But we think we are in the fight.

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A few trades of note. A flurry of contracts for setup men. So much more work to be done. Yet the Winter Meetings still projected a However, because the Meetings feel like a five-day season of their own, some people and groups departed Disney World as winners , others as losers and still others in limbo.

Add those concerns to the mysterious plumes of smoke that emanate from the garage every time the Ferrari engine is fired up, as well as the difficulty of taking another big step forward on the path to catching Mercedes, and what you are left with is a team that looks vulnerable.

McLaren

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

The little gremlins that blighted McLaren in the first week turned into big, menacing monsters by week two. Five on-track breakdowns in total, engine changes, hydraulic issues, oil leaks, overheating bodywork and a calamitous pit-stop practice made this another winter test to forget.

McLaren chiefs Eric Boullier and Zak Brown were insistent that the team are not in crisis mode and problems were expected given that they have adopted an aggressive design philosophy for this year.

But even the most passionate McLaren fans will struggle to believe that the plan all along was to miss hour upon hour of precious track time and finish bottom of the mileage charts again.

Fernando Alonso’s last-session dash on the hypersofts to put him P3 on the overall standings had a hint of desperation about it, papering over the cracks that are still there even after ditching Honda.

If it was not clear before, it has become abundantly apparent now that an unfair proportion of the blame went to the Japanese manufacturer.

Force India

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

It is not a good sign when both of your drivers are hoping that the car they tested with does not show up in Melbourne.

The VJM11 clocked the most mileage outside of the top three in the second week but did not look particularly exciting out on track despite its vibrant pink livery.

Hulkenberg: Years experience 'a good advantage' for first race

  Hulkenberg: Years experience 'a good advantage' for first race Nico Hulkenberg says his previous years experience with Renault will prove “a good advantage” heading into the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The German will contest in his second year with the Enstone outfit having switched from Force India in 2017, finishing his first season with a top 10 position in the drivers’ championship. Renault goes into 2018 in good shape compared to previous years, with the team enduring a competitive pre-season as it aims to consolidate its position as the fourth-fastest team on merit. Hulkenberg is yet to brush off the unwanted record of most races without a podium finish, nevertheless, the 30-year-old is eager to hit the track and drive the car in anger for the first time in Melbourne. “I’m ready to go and I can’t wait to get the season underway,” Hulkenberg said. “Australia is one of my favourite races because Melbourne is a great city, and the fans are always fantastic, knowledgeable, passionate for motorsport and know a lot about Formula 1. “I really enjoy Melbourne as it’s a comfortable and very relaxed atmosphere there. It’s a good way to kick-off the season as everyone is pumped and very excited to get into the car and race.” Having alternated driving duties with team-mate Carlos Sainz in testing, Hulkenberg believes, from his time spent behind the wheel, Renault has made clear gains from last year over the winter. Asked if he was heading to Melbourne confident of a strong result, Hulkenberg said: “I feel positive.

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The baseball world gathered at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego last week for the annual Winter Meetings. JimBowden_ESPN) and Jim Duquette (@Jim_Duquette) handed out their winners and losers of the meetings on MLB Want to give SiriusXM a test drive? Visit siriusxm.com/freetrial.

It is solid and reliable, but will that be enough to hold on to fourth in the Constructor’s Championship this year given the expected rise in competitiveness from the rest of the midfield?

There is a suspicion that not much progress has been made with the car compared to what they finished last season with and there is still lingering uncertainty off the track, too.

The name change has not happened yet and the reports of a takeover are not going away as current owner Vijay Mallya continues to fight extradition back to India.

Sudden signs of life will need to appear in Australia.

Williams

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

After eight uninspiring days of testing with arguably the most uninspiring driver line-up on the grid, Williams look primed to take the role of fallen giants completely away from McLaren and keep it all to themselves.

It ran reliably, but the FW41 finished bottom of the timesheets on six of the eight days of testing and had all the grace and elegance of Bambi on ice out on the track.

There are several reports of the car being very unresponsive through the corners and Williams’ chief technical officer, Paddy Lowe, has confirmed those witness statements by saying on record that the handling is the main “limitation”.

News also broke at testing that Williams’ long-term major sponsors Martini will be leaving them at the end of the season. Given the current state of affairs, they could be the first of many to jump ship.

Sauber

  Winners and losers from Winter Testing © Getty Images

Let’s just say first of all that Sauber are in a much better position than they were last year. They have a new, current-spec Ferrari engine and that has made them a much more attractive team to be associated with - the vast array of new sponsors that have arrived in the off-season are testament to that.

But while progress has been made, it looks like that there is still a long way to go still before Sauber can think about climbing up from the bottom rung of the Formula 1 ladder.

The C37 suffered more offs than any other car in Barcelona and it does look an absolute devil to drive, especially through the corners where it is very twitchy.

There are a lot of new concepts that have been introduced to the new Sauber car and, on initial viewing, it is going to take a while for those to be fully understood.

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