Valterri Bottas’ lap time in the recent test in Spain was nearly 3 seconds than the 2016 pole position time, and is exactly what the FIA are looking for.
Back in 2015 when the new hybrid era began, these sort of times were the stuff of dreams for the FIA. But now, new Mercedes driver Bottas pumped in a 1:19.310 on the Ultrasoft tyres around the Cataluyna circuit. Not only was this the fastest time in testing so far, it was 2.7 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s 2016 pole position, and 5.3 seconds quicker than recently retired Nico Rosberg’s pole time in 2015.
Of course, this is only testing. The drivers have only been driving the cars for a handful of times, and the cars will certainly not be on full power. Once we arrive at the Australian Grand Prix for the first race of the season, we will see the full potential of the cars and clear evidence of how much quicker these cars really are.
Nevertheless, there is clear evidence that these cars will be faster. We may even see lap times that are closer to the lap times before the circuit was modified in 2007. Fernando Alonso set a 1:14.648 in 2006 and while it is unlikely that we will see lap times close to that, we will get as close as we have in recent times.
More downforce, more grip, more challenging cars for the drivers, what could go wrong? The only remaining question is whether these cars will provide more entertaining for the fans. So far, the signs are not good. Lewis Hamilton has come out and claimed that overtaking will be even harder than last year, prompting a annoyed response from the F1 community.
However, there is nothing debatable about this. The lap times are quicker, and more lap records will surely fall this year.
Featured image: https://www.redbull.com/au-en/f1-2017-spain-testing-wrap-red-bull-mercedes-ferrari