Fun and games ahead as Formula One testing starts

Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:00am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Photographers will be out in force when Formula One's new cars start testing on Monday with team boffins looking closely at the pictures to try and answer a key concern: Have they missed a trick?

The Circuit de Catalunya provides the first proper live action of the year, with those cars seen so far either glimpsed online or in blurred images captured from afar during private filming sessions.

The moment the garage doors are opened, and the cars rolled out in front of the assembled media, observers will get a chance to scrutinize the models even if much remains hidden under the skin.

"One of the games that we are all playing behind the scenes is waiting for those launch photos," Paddy Lowe, technical head of world champions Mercedes, told Sky Sports television.

"Our particular aerodynamicists will pore over those and see whether there's something interesting there that we hadn't thought of or whatever. So it's a great time of year to look out for that stuff.

Mercedes, the dominant team for the past two years, will be keeping a close eye on the new Ferrari as the car most likely to pose a threat but the new 'Silver Arrow' will be the one everyone wants a look at.

The regulations have not changed significantly but there are always details that can be improved, new ways of packaging the whole. And teams will want to know who has done something different.

"With all teams testing openly together and being forced to keep garage doors open in the pitlane, it's easy to think that the days of espionage and public misdirection are long behind us," wrote former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley on the Sky website.   Continued...

Formula one cars wait in the pitlane during the third practice session of the Austrian F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria, June 20, 2015. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh