Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Why pre-season testing is better than ever for F1 fans

"It's the most wonderful time of the year." So sang Andy Williams about Christmas. But Formula 1 fans might argue that right now pips Yuletide. Yes, pre-season testing at Barcelona has just got underway.

Photo: Octane Photography
Test one stretches until this Friday, February 21, then all reconvene one week on, from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28 February.

The excitement this time of year at the season stretched ahead is inimitable. Of course, in an accompanying annual event, testing will come with health warnings about not reading too much into things. But it doesn't stop us trying...

And there's never been a better time for F1 fans to follow it all. Not all that long ago, testing coverage would broadly amount to a few paragraphs and lap times in Autosport. Even until fairly recently the concept of televising testing was not something of this earth.

Not now. As F1 TV Pro – F1's digital platform – will be broadcasting the six days of testing live from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm (CET). Plus it's added 11 new countries to its roster, bringing the total to 70 which includes the United States.

And if you subscribe to F1 TV during this testing period – from today until February 28 – you will get 25% off. There are more details via this link.

This year we'll get even more to look at too as for the first time the tests are organised directly by F1 which means, among other things, those dreaded screens in front of team's garages are banned, unless they are repairing the car after a crash or failure.

The F1 TV coverage will include the on-track running, pitlane and garage filming, graphics and pit and trackside reporting, plus there's a range of on-demand content.

In another innovation, there will be press conferences with drivers and team representatives, footage available on demand, in every test day's lunch break. F1 TV Pro subscribers also get Sky UK and F1's daily round-up show, produced in the paddock in the hour after testing finishes.

The inimitable Will Buxton will also each day host 'Tech Talk' and on either Friday host 'Paddock Pass'. There also will be round-up 'What we learned' programmes on either Saturday, while on Friday February 28, after the final test concludes, Jolyon Palmer will give his take plus his predictions – no doubt in his usual no-holds-barred style.

Live Timing has also been beefed up and this, as well as features, clips, 'Paddock Pass' and 'What we learned', will be accessible on Formula1.com too.

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