THE Circuit de Cataluña in Barcelona saw rubber hit tarmac for the first time in 2020 for the first Formula One test of the year.
The test give manufacturers a chance to show off a full off season of developments and also gave viewers a chance to see the cars in their new 2020 outfits.
After three intense days of testing, the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets putting the brand new Mercedes W11 in first and second, setting an ominous tone for the rest of the season.
Bottas took control of the third session early on as he lapped his C5 shod Mercedes at a near race pace of 1m15.732s.
Hamilton took over in the afternoon using Pirelli’s softest tire available but couldn’t top Bottas’ time, ending the session 0.784s off his teammate’s benchmark.
The third day was littered with red flags as both Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo took trips into the tyre wall.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon finished the test in third in his brand new RB16 after putting in a marathon stint, focusing on race distance performance and setting the second most laps over the entire three days.
Lance Stroll continued Racing Point’s impressive preseason form as he ended the test in fourth with an impressive time of 1m17.338s on C4 tyres, again focusing on long runs.
AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat was the next quickest, ahead of Alpha Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, Ricciardo and Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen.
Talking point of the test was the discovery of the brand new DAS (Dual Axis Steering) used by the Mercedes squad.
Onboard footage revealed the new technology where drivers Hamilton and Bottas can change the toe angle of the steering by either pulling or pushing the steering wheel.
The technology is developed to improve stability during entering and exiting corners but has been met with scepticism from both rivals and the FIA’s technical team alike.
Whilst the new tech will likely be deemed viable by the FIA board, parc ferme are still looking into the legalities of it regarding what can and can’t be altered on the car after the flag.
As the curtain draws on preseason testing, the teams now load their flight cases for Australia for round one on March 15.