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Formula 1

F1 writers Q&A – Testing special

by Matt Beer
3 min read

On day two of 2020 testing at Barcelona, The Race’s Formula 1 writers Mark Hughes, Scott Mitchell and Edd Straw took to Twitter to answer readers’ questions.

Here’s the full transcript of their Q&A.

How much lap time do you think the teams have gained on average compared to last year? Will we witness the fastest ever F1 cars this year? – @Qarzak

@eddstrawf1: They will be the fastest on peak lap time. The gain from Abu Dhabi 2019 will vary, could easily be half a second. If you want to compare 2019 to ‘20 testing, there’s also in the in-season gain of as much as two seconds for the likes of Mercedes.

With Pirelli abandoning the specification of tyre they wanted for 2020 due to the teams not liking it. With drivers struggling to get grip in the tyres this morning, would it have been better on the abandoned spec? – @jonesy_laaa

@eddstrawf1: The teams will find it easier with the tyres as they are because they are a known quantity. It means one area of uncertainty is largely eliminated.

What do you reckon of the new Williams? Looked quite planted to me with good overall aero stability – @NishantF1

George Russell Williams Barcelona F1 testing 2020

@sportmphmark: On track it looks well-balanced, though still down on sheer grip. It looks like a good foundation, one which should allow the team to at least be competing not to be last.

What are the rules regarding the number of PUs during testing? Can a team use as many as they want? Are they sperate from the season’s pool of PUs? – @grant_widseth

@eddstrawf1: These are unregulated in F1 testing and independent of the pool for the season.

Is there ANY way the likes of Ross Brawn/F1 can reduce the voting power the teams have regarding any/all future proposals put through? I’m tired of seemingly good ideas for spicing up the racing ALWAYS vetoed by the teams. Should be “these are the rules” like em or lump em! – @MJD49580661

@sportmphmark: I think it’s set to be more like that in the 2021 agreement, not quite as extreme, but with the teams having less say.

What’s with Renault’s retro style nose? – @the_carr_fan

@SMitchellF1: A departure from the norm is good to see. Whether it works is the big question. Renault is carrying over a lot of under-the-hood tech from last year with the emphasis placed on changing surface components. The nose is part of what it calls “a completely different car”, along with suspension geometry.

Is the new Racing Point good in the tight twisty sectors like the Mercedes of last year? – @cheesy_dionysus

Sergio Perez Racing Point Barcelona F1 testing 2020

@sportmphmark: It’s not stand-out there, no. The Racing Point is using the same aero philosophy of the Mercedes and shares mechanical components, but it will not have the full array of tricks that were present on the Merc.

The Merc advantage in sector three last year was also exaggerated by Ferrari overheating its tyres on that part of the lap.

Just seen that @f1elvis has noticed that “Merc steering wheel is moving back towards the driver, to reduce drag on the straights, then away again under braking for corners.” #F1 – @mrthomsonalex

@SMitchellF1: This has been the big talking point from day two of testing. What’s the device for? How’s it used? Is there a real benefit? And is it legal? We’re getting the first clues already. It’s worth reading Gary Anderson’s take, and why Mercedes thinks it is legal/safe. But what a lovely little innovation.

Based on what you’ve seen, do you think the gap between the front 3 teams and the F1.5 teams will close? – @GraemeMarsden

@eddstrawf1: It should close, but not by enough (unless one of the big three really drops the ball). From ‘18 to ‘19 the midpack was about 0.2% closer, and a similar step, or fractionally bigger, will still mean there’s a big split.

Keep an eye on The Race on Twitter for more Q&As with our star writers

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