Last week was a very good week, as the brand new F1 cars hit the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for their first spin out on track this year. It wasn’t just the real-life cars that were being put through their paces, of course – you may have seen that we had some VIP playtesters visit Codies HQ to put their virtual counterparts to the test… but more on that later!
What’s going on here 👀 pic.twitter.com/0EY9NwXgLt
— Benjamin (@Tiametmarduk) February 27, 2017
The second week of testing is underway, and it’s Williams on top of the timesheets, with both Massa and Vettel driving over 100 laps in the first day. For those of you who missed the first pre-season test of the year, though, we thought we’d give you a whirlwind recap of what happened out on track.
We know that pre-season testing isn’t the be-all and end-all for setting the tone of the season; after all, those who were fastest in testing last year, weren’t necessarily the fastest throughout the season – and it’s true that there’s still plenty of tweaking and tuning to be done in this week’s pre-season testing too. With our first glimpse of how the new cars perform under the brand new regulations for 2017, the temptation to take a little something from the on-track action is just too irresistible.
Throughout all four days of testing, what became apparent was Mercedes’s ability to hit the ground running, managing to cover an impressive two-race distance on the first day alone. The Mercedes cars looked phenomenal on track, although slightly different to their 2017 car reveal – the eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted a certain fin had been added to their chassis.
Even though Mercedes seemed to find form pretty quickly, both the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were never too far behind – with Kimi ending top of the timesheets after Tuesday’s testing and Thursday’s wet-weather testing. Whilst Ricciardo’s Red Bull gave us the first red flag of 2017, Verstappen had better luck on the second day of testing, with the Red Bull in the top three in three out of the four days available. If you want to catch up on the first week of testing, check out this video here.
All in all, the first week of testing shows promising signs for the start of the season. With the second week of testing starting right now, we can’t wait to see how this season fares!
If that’s not enough, then you can also check out our Facebook photo album of the week’s testing activities too. Seeing those new liveries and shark fins up close really put the changes into perspective!
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya wasn’t the only place testing was afoot! Early Monday morning last week, 12 of your favourite, fastest F1 community members arrived in Birmingham to help us playtest. See if you can recognise all these names in the picture below: @_aarava, @AlexZAfRo, @Alex_Gillon, @IntoTheBarrier , jinCHEZ , @Noble_2909, @Sutil69FU, @Tiametmarduk, DauntingConch, @TRL_Limitless, @VincentKenter, @xMattyG!
After Creative Director Lee Mather and Paul Jeal, Game Director gave our community members a presentation on what to expect, and what we’d like them to delve in to, it was straight to work. With a variety of pads and wheels (helpfully provided by our friends over at Thrustmaster), testing began. Each day our testers arrived early morning, and each day was a new area to focus on. These guys are serious about testing: at the end of every day, we stopped and collected their feedback in sessions that lasted about 2 hours each.
Having a bunch of keen racers all together in one place, we couldn’t help take the opportunity to see their racing prowess in real life – and what better way to do that than with some indoor go-karting? We brought along Codemasters’ Senior Games Designer David Greco and Experienced Game Designer Steven Embling to challenge our playtesters, and our community guys brought their best A-game. Our group of 14 was separated into two groups of seven for three 10 minute races, but, after an evening of putting the pedal to the metal…
(We’re not joking, just check it all out below)
F1 YouTubers, League Racers and forum users go karting this evening. pic.twitter.com/eItmIvK7IB
— Lee Mather (@TheLeeMather) March 1, 2017
Highlight of my week (apart from ’17) was Karting. The final race we had was just insane..all bunched up and divebombing everywhere! 🏁 pic.twitter.com/cyIHOMLYex
— Benjamin (@Tiametmarduk) March 3, 2017
…there could only be one winner. With David Greco and Steven Embling taking up second and third places respectively, the winner was none other than forum frequenter and speedster jinCHEZ.
We always love to give our visitors a go on the D box, and our last day of testing presented a great opportunity to give our community members their final challenge: a time trial competition around Autódromo José Carlos Pace on F1 2016. Each driver was allocated five practice laps – but after that, they only had one chance to put a time on the board, and the results were incredible. We’re delighted to confirm that Ben, the so-called professional bottler, shook off his reputation and bagged an ever-respectable third, with Vincent taking a valiant second. However, with a time of 1:10.942, it was Noble_2909 who took the top spot!
A little friendly F1 2016 time trial competition, to round off a great week. pic.twitter.com/DDg8cMkFWR
— Lee Mather (@TheLeeMather) March 3, 2017
Keen readers of our blog will remember that last year, we had eight people in for three days’ worth of testing on F1 2016 – but if you’re not familiar with that, or if you want to remind yourself of what went on, head here. This year, we’re very happy to say that our playtesting has been bigger and better; not only have we increased the number to 12, but we’ve also given our community more time to test, with a full five days. The result? An incredible amount of feedback, tweaks, suggestions and thoughts for us to put to very good use. A step we can’t wait to carry on with our beta tests in the near future.
What an awesome week we’ve had in the Custard Factory, thanks to all of those who took the time to come and test with us!