But two break-in sessions showed that although the championship switched to completely new revolutionary cars, it was not possible to completely reset the old order. The same big three favorites remained in the top – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
Max Verstappen pleased the fans with the best total test time – he brought everyone over half a second. Charles Leclerc in the scarlet Ferrari F1-75 was third, the newcomer to eight-time champions George Russell was fifth. Mick Schumacher on the Haas and Fernando Alonso on the Alpin also burst into the top of the table – however, Mazepin’s former partner tore the cooled down and faster track alone.
In general, due to the large differences in the moment of establishing the best times, it is always incorrect to compare cars head-on: after all, asphalt temperatures and adhesion levels were constantly changing. You can study the summary table in more detail here, but it does not guarantee a fundamental understanding of the balance of power: the winning car in Formula 1 is determined by a race of 50-70 laps, and not by one fast dash. Therefore, it is still more important to roll over and pace at a long distance.
The Scuderia did not break down, systematically developed the aerodynamic package, skated with a margin
“One of the best pre-season tests of my career,” Leclerc told the official F1 website. – There were no problems, although with a new car you always expect them. But everything went smoothly. We managed to improve the car.”
“Ferrari is often called the “test champion”, because the Scuderia often led the tables in the run-in, and then again and again lost to the Mercedes. But now, it seems, the situation is different – the Italians just worked according to plan. Insiders warned in advance: Maranello is happy with the F1-75 and is going to further reveal its potential while rivals are preparing radical updates – exactly what happened: the W13 and RB18 have changed radically, but the scarlet car looks the same. And she did not start to lose sharply to the new products of Mercedes and Red Bull.
It just seems that the Ferrari car engineers are now one step ahead of their opponents – while they are studying the extreme possibilities of new cars, in the pits of Leclerc and Sainz “they work most of all with small details of the aerodynamic body kit – often on things that are absolutely invisible from the side,” according to the technical story F1 TV expert Sam Collins.
But Red Bull and Mercedes have a margin for speed
When evaluating Ferrari’s rivals, you need to remember: they approached the second test with a completely different program. As the Italians delved deeper into the possibilities of the F1-75, Mercedes started over with a “nearly no pontoons” concept, and the Red Bull F1 team only seriously changed the side part on the last day. Therefore, Max Verstappen, for example, traveled in shorter segments compared to the Scuderia – he seemed to be a little faster than Leclerc on them, but the logic of the Anglo-Austrian checks turned out to be clearly different, and, besides, Charles could also add if the distance was reduced.
Moreover, the results of the last day reset the previous Red Bull times a little. After all, according to the revelations of the Anglo-Austrian adviser Helmut Marko, the new form of radiators helped to restructure the flows and change the balance to a more convenient one.
The best motor – all of a sudden at Alpine F1
Nevertheless, Alonso still has a reserve – on the penultimate straight, as you can see, the acceleration of his car even stopped (the power plant obviously went into the hybrid energy accumulation mode), but still retained the advantage. Bet on power after years of focus on reliability has already played out.