Barcelona winter testing is going to be different this year, starting from its establishment as an official Formula 1 event. Sky Italia and UK will hold exclusive TV coverage rights throughout the sessions, allowing the fans to take a closer look to every nook and cranny of the 2020 pre-season.
The first three-day session is starting on February 19th, the day Alfa Romeo and Haas chose to officially present the team and their 2020 challengers. On Feb 26th teams and drivers will be back in action for the second and last session before the Australian GP.
As the press release reads, “One important element is that teams are no longer allowed to deploy vanity screens at the front of their garages while the track is open in the morning and afternoon. The only exceptions to this are if a car needs to be repaired following a crash or a technical failure”. One of the newest additions to the sporting regulations prohibited any form of hiding/covering car parts on their way back to the pitlane during testing. The aim is clear: allowing media and fans to have a broader access to details that normally would be limited at such an early stage.
Another new initiative that indicates the focus on the media is the introduction of team representatives and drivers’ press conferences during the lunch break.
In conclusion, winter testing is going to feel as an actual F1 round and not as a mere shakedown/tryout session. Therefore, be prepared for rumours (and the silly season) to start spreading even sooner!