Formula 1

Winter test dates confirmed for 2018 F1 season

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Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing - Hungary in-season test 2017. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

As the in-season test session in Hungary completes, the FIA have confirmed the dates for next year’s pre and in season test days.

The 2018 Formula 1 Championship season will start on March 25, and prior to that two four-day winter test sessions will be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The first test will run from February 26 to March 1, with the second taking place from March 6-9.

Barcelona was once again the favoured venue to carry out winter testing by F1 teams, and given the go ahead despite one team suggesting the Paul Ricard Circuit should be utilised ahead of the re-instated French Grand Prix next season. That idea did not carry enough sway however, and the Spanish track was penned in.

Despite the general consensus being that you cannot look too much into what transpires in pre-season testing, this years running saw Scuderia Ferrari emerge on top, and it was hard to ignore their improved performance.

It brought hope that we would be in for a close fight at the top in 2017, following the three-year dominance of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and when the new season began, we were not disappointed. It can therefore sometimes be a real eye opener!

In addition to the winter tests, there will once again be two in-season test sessions, which will take place over two days, in the week that follows the Spanish Grand Prix in May, and the Hungarian Grand Prix in July/August. Teams will be obliged to run a young driver on two of those four days, as per the sporting regulations.

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