|Grand Prix Barcelona|
By Paul Yates
This year the testing is back and will be taking place from 19 - 22 February and 26 February - 01 March, but dates are subject to possible changes.
It used to be that this test was a really important opportunity for the teams to make the first modifications to their cars after the "fly away" races at the start of the season but there's probably less emphasis on this now. Most of the top F1 teams not only have a race team but also have a full time test team and this test team will be at it hammer and tongs throughout the year just like the race team on a race weekend. This means that the pace of formula one race car development is extremely rapid and not so dependent on availability of drivers and race cars
|Burning tyres at the Grand Prix|
So is that bad news for us? Not at all, it's because there are official test teams and because Barcelona is one of the few nominated test tracks also to appear on the Grand Prix calendar that any chance to test at the Circuit De Catalunya is taken.
It's a great opportunity to get close to Formula One without having to pay the big entry ticket prices for a race weekend, perfect for somebody who wants to experience the noise and speed that F1 brings. The only word of warning I have is that it's easy to get addicted. Once you've seen the tests you may well want to buy a ticket for the final race!
The big test is also an excellent opportunity for the Grand Prix aficionado to see the race drivers (rather than the test drivers) to study the form book before the big day. Race drivers may not be there every day but considering how close it is to the actual Grand Prix most will turn up at some point to get some track time in.