There are two sets of pre-season F1 testing in Barcelona again this year. The first starts next Monday, 18 February and concludes on Friday. The second and final tests are scheduled to take place between Tuesday, 26 February and Friday, 1 March. That’s a fortnight before the season opening race in Australia.
Coral and bedfellows Ladbrokes are currently betting on which car or team sets the fastest time during the first four days and they make Mercedes their 19/20 favourites. It's a stupidly short price. A year ago, over the full eight days of testing, Mercedes were the seventh fastest of all teams. Ferrari topped the list but to underline how teams do not use winter testing to showcase their true potential, it was McLaren that posted the second
fastest of all times. Given they completed far fewer laps than Mercedes (421 to be precise) it has to raise an eyebrow. I’m using combined times from both weeks here as the first week was badly hit by snow and frozen temperatures
There’s not any massive changes to the F1 car regulations this year ... wider front and rear wings is the main change ... nothing mechanical. And therein Mercedes and Ferrari do not have that much to test. Red Bull and McLaren do. They're both using new engines having swapped their providers from Honda and Renault. They are the only teams using new power plants in 2019
Given McLaren gave testing their all in 2018, there’s every chance they will push their 2019 car with its new engine to its limits and 66/1 about it going fastest in the first week of testing is huge. Likewise Red Bull will want to explore the capabilities of their new Honda power plant and they have to be of interest at 9/2.