In 2015, Formula One set itself a target for the cars to be 5 seconds quicker overall by 2017.
A new set of regulations rolled in for the 2017 season including changes to aerodynamics and fat wider tires. This meant the cars would have a lot more grip on the tarmac allowing them to go around a race track faster.
Photo credit : WTF1
On Day 2 of the second test in Barcelona, Mercedes pilot Valtteri Bottas set a lap time of 1:19:320, which was 5 seconds faster than the pole position time at the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix.
So, we’ve done it then? Somehow we’ve managed to achieve our target of making F1 cars 5 seconds faster!
On Day 3, Ferrari pilot Sebastian Vettel went 3/10ths faster than Valtteri’s time and set a mind-boggling lap time of 1:19:024.
But here’s the thing..
Experts who were trackside have reported that Vettel was sandbagging in sector 3 by backing off on the start-finish straight. (Sandbagging is the act of under performing on purpose so as to not reveal true potential and performance).
Let’s look at Seb Vettel’s individual sector times.
Sector 1 : 22:835 s (Purple)
Sector 2 : 29:255 s (Purple)
Sector 3 : 26:934 s.
Seb’s best sector 3 time : 26:691 s.
So, if he could replicate his best S3 time, his lap time would’ve been 1:18:781 s.
Photo credit : motorsport.com
Although it seems like this is incredible news for Ferrari fans that they are flying this year, it would be rather foolish to get carried away.
I don’t believe for one second that Mercedes and RedBull aren’t sandbagging. They have to be.
All of this, however, is collectively great news for Formula One as a sport because this is clear evidence that F1 is a lot faster now, and I can’t wait for Australia.
– Aditya Bhat.