Start the new season of Formula 1
The off-season has come to an end, and on Friday the 74th World Cup begins in Bahrain. Although he lost the Chinese stage even before it started, it will still become the longest in the history of “real racing”. This is partly why the season starts so early.
epilogue to tests
This year’s pre-season testing was the shortest ever: just three days. Of course, it’s hard to draw a picture based on your results. After all, the teams worked with different setups, different tires, different fuel loads. But the first sketches of the balance of power can already be made, namely that Red Bull was and remains the main favourite. The RB19, the brainchild of Adrian Newey, is stable, fast and reliable. Sergio Pérez showed the best test time on C4 tyres. And Max Verstappen showed the fastest time among those using C3 tyres.
It is still difficult to say how fast the cars of the other two Big Three teams will be and whether Ferrari and Mercedes will be able to force a fight on Red Bull. On the one hand, Mercedes shed the buildup that had plagued it for a long time and clearly added, while Ferrari lost momentum in testing over a long series of laps. On the other hand, the teams have not yet managed to achieve the results of Red Bull. Therefore, the most probable prognosis is a worsening of the fight between Ferrari and Mercedes, which only plays into Red Bull’s game. And the six great pilots understand that they have options to win the title. For someone the eighth, for someone the third, and for everyone else – the first.
Aston Martin prepares a surprise
Constant work in a long series of circles and Aston Martin’s speed came as a surprise in pre-season testing. The team created a fast car, and alongside the over-motivated Fernando Alonso in AMR23, it’s possible that Aston Martin could intervene in the fight for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, pushing back the troubled McLaren and the not-so-performing Alpin. Furthermore, Newey himself said that Aston Martin was also able to force a fight on the Big Three. Two-time world champion Alonso will certainly not object to such a scenario.
And Woking openly admitted that the MCL60 was not entirely successful. Problems with tire deflectors, loss of speed – all this makes McLaren engineers think about how to quickly work on mistakes. It is rumored that Lando Norris was so upset by the speed of the car that in Bahrain, out of anger, he hit the wall in boxing.
The French team started with the traditional comment that the line-up will become clear only after the first few races. But the correlation with last year’s results so far is also cause for concern.
Alfa Romeo vs Alfa Tauri and Haas, Williams out
Pre-season testing has shown that the fight in the middle of the pack will be even tighter. Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou posted the fastest time on the second day of testing. It’s time to remember Mick Schumacher in 2022, who also got between Verstappen and Leclerc at Haas. The public relations element was never excluded. Zhou drove the best lap on the softest tyres, but somehow Alfa Romeo showed the speed of him. The Swiss-Italian team wants to spend its last (or not the last) season at a high level.
Alfa Tauri also wants to show that Red Bull is not in vain sponsoring its junior team. And at Haas they want to show that their ambitions are worth something.
The exception to this is Williams. Although the team has increased its speed, it is unlikely that it will shed the outsider tag this year. The new director James Vowles, who came from Mercedes, sometimes does not hide his surprise: staff shortages, technical gaps and problems.
However, this is a race, and anything can happen. We will see in November, after the race in Abu Dhabi, how the ambitions of the teams correspond to the real situation.