Rea­sons to be cheer­ful

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

At least Alonso found it within him­self to ac­knowl­edge the wider thrills that re-set F1 2.0-17 will of­fer, for de­spite McLaren Honda’s tra­vails, else­where there are rea­sons aplenty to be cheer­ful about what lies ahead.

The al­ways-thrilling tingle of an­tic­i­pa­tion that ac­com­pa­nies that rst sight of new F1 pro­to­types be­ing ragged hard was gid­dily fullled, as it dawned that new­gen F1 is fast. Fast against the stop­watch, yes – Valt­teri Bot­tas’s 1:19.705 beat the fastest ever pole time for the Cir­cuit de Catalunya in this congu­ra­tion, Mark Web­ber’s 1:19.995 of 2010 – but also fast to the eye and vis­ceral in a way that hasn’t been seen for sev­eral sea­sons.

Watch­ing on the Mon­day af­ter­noon of the rst test, be­tween Turns 6 and 7, I inched and jumped back from the guardrail as Seb Vet­tel’s Fer­rari SF70H ham­mered down from the exit of T5, through T6, at around 270km/h, be­fore hard brak­ing – with a trig­ger-fast four-gear se­quen­tial drop – into T7. F1 hasn’t de­liv­ered that kind of punch for years; maybe not since 3-litre V10s were out­lawed at the end of 2005. It’s breath­less stuff.

That was just from the out­side. Those in the hot seats re­turned from the fray with gi­ant grins. They ad­mit­ted to be­ing bat­tered by the 25 per­cent in­crease in down­force de­liv­ered by 2017 cars and G-load­ings that have made slow cor­ners quick and quick cor­ners at, but were speed-drunk and wide-eyed. “I’m like a kid on a roller coaster,” gushed Hamil­ton as he raved about the cor­ner­ing grip and brak­ing ca­pac­ity of his W08. Mean­while, Seb Vet­tel said high down­force and fat tyres had “xed ev­ery­thing”. And Max Ver­stap­pen al­layed fears that ex­tra cor­ner­ing speed and re­duced brak­ing dis­tances had di­min­ished over­tak­ing. “I think it’s the same as last year,” he said. “I’ve done some over­tak­ing, so it’s okay. It works.”

FOR DECADES, BERNIE ECCLESTONE’S F1 OP­ER­ATED UN­DER A CLOUD OF FEAR. WARY OF REPRISALS, FEW WOULD SPEAK OUT ABOUT F1’S SHORT­COM­INGS

Down­force is up by 25 per cent and de­spite the bat­ter­ing driv­ers take from in­creased G-forces, they’re wildly en­thu­si­as­tic about higher speeds

For­mula 1 is sud­denly more ac­ces­si­ble, with teams now al­lowed to post their own F1 footage

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