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Lessons from pre-season

A total of 822 laps, and a fastest time of 1:18.363.

But what does it all mean?

Well, in isolation, not a lot. Fuel loads, tyre life, energy modes, track temperatures - there are so many variables that impact on the overall lap time. For a new partnership between Toro Rosso and Honda, one of the main areas of focus was to establish the working relationship and get as much mileage as possible for the STR13.

So cold temperatures, rain and snow were not the warm welcome that any of the teams were hoping for during the first week of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Toyoharu Tanabe

F1 Technical Director

“We could spend some time in the garage to prepare for a racing situation. So we tried to use the four days as best as possible to prepare for the future. So not only running but also things like communication and team structure together.”

Snow during pre-season testing.

Fortunately, the second test was a much more productive affair for all involved. Warm and dry conditions provided the platform for much more representative running, and the team was able to tick off the main items it wanted to ahead of the first race in Australia.

“The main focus for this test was race preparation. By race preparation I mean practice, qualifying, race, long runs, and then the procedures like going to the grid, race starts, pit stops, that’s what we have been simulating during the second test. Now we will need to review what was wrong, what was good and where we need to improve - both Toro Rosso and Honda.”

That work will go on behind the scenes at Faenza, Milton Keynes and Sakura, and any further improvement will not be seen on track until Melbourne. There is plenty of data to work through, and the mileage was important not only for Honda’s future development but also for two drivers experiencing their first pre-seasons in F1.

Toro Rosso Honda car out on the track during pre-season testing.

Brendon Hartley was behind the wheel on the final day of testing and could see the progress over the two weeks in Barcelona, saying the team is in an encouraging position heading to the first race.

Brendon Hartley


For Hartley’s team-mate Pierre Gasly, the harmony within the team throughout testing provides confidence for the way the new partnership will work in the season ahead.

Pierre Gasly


All that remains to be done now is go racing...