F1 Testing Diaries: Shaken Down, (not?) Stirred, Barcelona, 2022


Header image & other photos are courtesy of Diego Merino, in association with Clarksport.

09AM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, it’s 9AM and we see new F1 cars on track for the first time in daylight and in the carbon flesh, some of them I like, while some of them I don’t. The weather is nice. I am super listo here for a cup of coffee and a slice of traditional Spanish pie. Sounds like El Plan. Oh, and speaking of the sound: I quite fancy the way every PU is sounding different in 2022. Renault now resembling a proper ICE engine, not a slightly spiced up first gen GP3 car. Mega.

Hunting for coffee in the paddock

You know what, I’d call Merc’s design a rather discreet one but there you have it: the proof is in the pestiños. GR63, my man, his raw speed and dedication (coupled with the Williams years frustration) makes him one of the best of his generation, fist-bumping with HAM, as the champ’s new team-mate, will it give GR some elation?

Screen grab: https://twitter.com/MercedesAMGF1/status/1496442508896874496

11AM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, I’m hungry again. I’m in need of paella pretty badly.

The Bull on the track

Wonder what Linton would have to say about it. Speaking of Linton, please tell him I just orgasmed by staring at the Red Bull sidepod. What a lovely undercut! Places I’d take you.

11AM and a half, 23.02.2022: Sheena, after RBR, I would suppose only Alpine’s sidepod treatment makes me feel the same way. Beautiful industrial shapes! Which one of them is Pink then? Nando or Este?

11.45AM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, Maz Racing are having some issues with the floor at the present moment (instead of wiping the floor in testing with the Alfa and Williams opposition). Da Llara’s design is quite conventional but el diabo is in the detail. They do feature a lot of cosmic wings and winglets wherever possible. I dig that, ooh.


Jr Schu is pumped up. Maz has got hair. Steiner will have dropped about 70 f-bombs by now on the team radio and in the pits, I can clearly see them lying around on the floor.

12.12PM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, remember you and Linton spoke about the good ole Jaguar days with Irvine and de la Rosa? Team Green? Guess what, there’s more green on the grid this year in the form of the artificial Aston Martin team and their chief technical boffin Andrew Green. The Bondiana boys are a bit of a conundrum for me, quite honestly. Have they got what it takes to accomplish the mission, have they obtained their license to thrill at the sharp end of the grid? They sure got Martin (Whitmarsh), however the big question is has he been handing out sweet candies to the mechanics and engineers yet? Finger licking doog.

12.58PM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, I caught a glimpse of Zak Brown in the paddock a moment ago! What an amazing and enlightening experience! Team Zak is doing a good job without Martin’s candies, that’s for sure. With Lando and Daniel wearing the coolest helmet designs on the grid. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of McLaren’s current colours, despite all the heritage memes and tangible Bruce connotations. I do hope they can produce a decent season and for all one knows all this clever suspension pullrodding may pay off nicely, eh?

14.19PM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, didn’t I tell you way back in 1988 that there’s nothing more gorgerous in this world than a NACA duct on a Countach? Chaka-lama? Madonna. Based solely on this fact, the 2022 Ferrari will steal Drivers’ and Constructors’ crowns from RBR and Merc respectively. Mean, Maranello’s two drivers are no slouches either. The two Charlies, one Latin and one of Monaco fame, are both more than capable of becoming the Scuderia’s next first champs since Jody Schecker days. Kimi days, some peeps are correcting me, thank you. And those Holy Grail sidepods aka rainwater heads, ai mamacita! That’s almost a classic Roman sculpture. Red is the new P1. Let those Maranello bells ring-ding-ding once more!

16.56PM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, did the Ligier Team rock our young lives back in the day or what? Tobacco sponsporship was all over the place, with Panis operating at full panis in Monaco in 1996, the iconic blue car. Hence my soft spot for Williams made in the USA edition. They’re sitting firmly in P3 on my sexiest sidepod list of 2022, plus (the added aero bonus) the low Prost nose positively reminiscent of the FW15C, OMG – Team Willie is finally ready fire on all of its six turbo-hybrid Mercedes cylinders under St Jost’s guidance!

Screen grab: https://twitter.com/WilliamsRacing/status/1496493355781570562

16.58PM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, whatever Alfer are hiding under the messy heap of Finnish hunting camouflage, I don’t know what that is! A driverless car perhaps? Not a great day for them due to some technical gremlins or as Kubica and Bottas put it “issues”. Sauber in disguise ought to perform a lot better at the dawn of the new F1 technical era given their focus on 2022 regs and especially if you condsider that Kimi’s 2021 race engineer sounds A LOT like Lecrerc. Can you hear me?

17.00PM, 23.02.2022: Sheena, what’s in AlphaTauri name that’s missing? Minardi? I don’t fully get the main raison d’être behind the Faenza squad in its Red Bull owned incarnation (yeah, I know, Helmut vs YDs). However anything vaguely Italian is decidedly chic and stylish in my book. Lil’ Budokan YT and Pierre the French Terrier are not the strongest line-up out there, but not the weakest either. It’s one of those things, they carry the de Cesaris legacy into the 21st century, “on his day he was unbeatable” kind of thing. It’s a pretty car tho.

PS Stefano Modena legacy?

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