(F1 racing news) The final night in Abu Dhabi 2021 still seems to have not faded in the minds of Formula 1 fans by its drama after more than 3 months. The Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir in the Middle East is the start of a new season with pivotal changes.
After the first test drive in Barcelona. Just a week before the Bahrain GP took place, the racing teams had a very important 2nd test at Sakhir itself.
There is no comparison between early season car testing and an official race. But Bahrain is the first race of the new season, so in order to evaluate the correlation of forces between the opponents, they must partly rely on their own performance in the weekend test.
Mercedes vs Red Bull – Will it be a duel…
* Look at the Mercedes mirror design
Mercedes is giving the car a second test drive with a sidepod design that sets it apart from all, let’s not say its legitimacy or not, and is expected to give the car high speed around corners. Although in the past, the German racing team was often said to never show true strength at the early car tests of the season.
But it seems their performance in Sakhir during the weekend was not as good. The car does not operate as expected, maybe lowering the ground clearance is not enough for them to be able to improve in terms of speed, especially when moving to the curb.
Usually, analysts do not use the best performance of a lap to evaluate the ability of the car, because the racing teams do not show it all. But based on racing simulation data, that should be the number that says a lot about real performance. At this indicator, Mercedes has not yet created trust for the fans!
On the other hand, Ferrari is also considering opposing Mercedes’ mirror design, when they think that this device is mounted on aerodynamic details. The specification states that the mirror support should first be a bearing structure for itself, and then it can be an aerodynamic function. Racing teams always take advantage of the limits of technical instructions, considering what they do not violate the bans.
Mercedes will probably have a hard time, when their rearview mirror is an aerodynamic part. Ferrari has a reason to turn this into a complaint to make it difficult for opponents, because in 2018 they used to mount mirrors on Halo, although it was not illegal, but they also had to remove this design. I don’t know how effective it is, but if you can make it difficult for your opponent, just do it…!
Anyway, there is still nearly a week left for Mercedes to be able to repair and “transform” to return to competition this weekend.
* Another ambitious target of Red Bull
Red Bull has had a solid and effective preparation period for the new season. But it brings skepticism to fans when it doesn’t really show a part of its strength in most of the test.
Then at the last test day, an upgrade appeared on the track, they became a challenging racing team. Vertappen set the fastest time in the Bahrain test, with 1 minute 31,720 seconds, almost 0.7 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Leclerc in 2nd place!
A point worth noting, with what Red Bull is showing, they have another advantage when the champion driver Verstappen after the 2021 victory, clearly competes with much less pressure than he has to endure. during last season in an “unprecedented” rivalry with Hamilton.
Now, in addition to the goal of defending the individual championship, the Austrian team has one more goal: the team championship (the last time they won was the 2013 season), an achievement they have never been close to. Thus in the past season, from the 2014 Hybrid era until now, Mercedes is unique with 8 consecutive championships.
… or even the presence of Ferrari!?
* Question mark for Ferrari
The past 14 years, which is a time when only 2 teams race on the championship, plus 1 championship of McLaren 2008 and 2009 of Brawn GP (the predecessor to Mercedes now), is the period when Ferrari is thirsty for the title. more than ever.
The Italian team took the lead on the leaderboard for almost two tests, before being overtaken by Red Bull on the final day. But not because of this result that they are disappointed. It is still too early to say that it is Ferrari’s turning point at this point, but at least it shows that the “war horse” is really competitive.
As is known, at the end of last season, Ferrari’s power system (Power Units – PU) is said to be less than Mercedes and Red Bull by more than 20 horsepower. And the 2022 technical regulation clearly states that racing teams will have to “freeze” engine development in the period 2022-25. So if the Red team can’t solve the PU power problem, they won’t stand a chance!?
But it seems, Ferrari has started the season through 2 tests with almost equal performance to the competition. Although the test data cannot accurately reflect the true strength, but at least shows an optimism from the racing team.
Some experts, based on the collected data, judge that if everything matches the initial analysis, then it can be said that the Italian team’s PU is almost the strongest. Engine power is not a prerequisite for victory, but Ferrari has reason to be confident in the next 4 years, a time when engineers are prohibited from “poking fun” into PU.
Therefore, in the race to open the new season, not only Mercedes but also Red Bull, need to take them into account. Before, it was just a “two-horse” war, all calculations would be much easier. If there is indeed a ‘three horse’ rivalry of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari, it would be a precious gift for global Formula 1 fans.
McLaren is the strongest in the latter group, or will face a challenge from Haas.
* Many opponents promise surprises
2021 brings a lot of “pairs” to compete in the rankings, such as Mercedes and Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, Alpine and AlphaTauri …… And as expected, 2022 brings the racing teams closer together, instead of competing. compete for the top 3 or top 5 strongest racing teams, now filled with a collection of many opponents that can surprise.
Haas is a typical example, everyone knows that last season they worked hard just to score points and ultimately failed. The American racing team almost sacrificed last season to focus on developing the car this season. And maybe now they have the right to dream of results.
They may not be listed as strong opponents, but scoring is completely within their grasp. Who knows, at the right time, the first podium will come to them. Believe it, with what the team has shown in both tests, even though sometimes things don’t go as planned.
Going to Bahrain GP, Haas will make it difficult for many teams to race in the middle. And the thirst for points for more than 2 years, maybe it will be filled right at Sakhir at the weekend.
McLaren had difficulty in the last car test, Ricciardo was positive for Covid, so Norris alone had to “plow” last weekend. In addition, the problem of ineffective brake cooling has greatly affected their racing schedule. Rated highest in the middle group, but the disadvantage is that Ricciardo failed to test drive the car. It will be difficult to deal with recognized tough opponents like Alonso/Alpine, Gasly/AlphaTauri or even Schumacher/Haas.
Alpine is not favorable in Barcelona, but going to Bahrain is a different story. Performance and reliability are very stable. The speed of the car is also really competitive, by having laps in the top lap last weekend. But the challenge is, other racing teams in this top also show more or less strength, so Alonso and Ocon will have to make great efforts to be able to overcome.
AlphaTauri did not face great difficulties during the test runs. They also benefit from using PU that Red Bull has developed so effectively. The “Italian Cow” should have been the biggest challenger of this group. But in reality, they are the most underrated, at least at the start of the season, to get the best results in the middle group.
Looking further, in terms of a long-distance fight, Gasly could still bring home most of the points, but if Tsunoda doesn’t improve, reaching the 6th place of the team like last season will be a tough fight. !?
Nico Hulkenberg replaced Vettel at the last minute.
It would be a bit forced, when commenting on Bahrain GP and Aston Martin in the last group. In terms of speed, they may be in the top 5, but still not on par with rival McLaren despite using the same Mercedes engine. The performance of the AMR22 may still be a mystery, so it is necessary for Vettel to show its full ability to make a difference in scores. But on the last day, before the test session, Vettel missed the first race after testing positive for Covid. The driver of choice is the reserve driver, Nico Hulkenberg.
Alfa Romeo, after parting with champion Raikkonen, was replaced by another experienced Finnish driver, Bottas, plus rookie Zhou Guanyu, who continued to use Ferrari engines.
They had quite a few problems in Barcelona, and improved in Bahrain last weekend. But the opportunity to break into the top is still impossible. Many reviews of them empty-handed at Sakhir weekend is obvious. And the opportunity to improve the 9th place of the racing team last season is still difficult.
Even though Williams is the 8th team in the 2021 season, at the opening stage, they are “recognized” as the worst team. If there’s one thing to hope for, it’s only test data, while other teams set their best laps in cooler weather, they do it when the racetrack temperatures are at their highest! Other than that, everything is showing, scores are a luxury at the start of the season.
Formula 1 is getting more and more attractive, 2022 seems to be meeting this expectation. Will the season start with close competition at the top, or is it still a two-horse race!? All will have the answer at the opening race of the season in Sakhir, with Bahrain GP 2022, the tournament will start with the first test session at 19:00 on Friday, March 18.
(Sports news, F1 racing news) It has been 98 days since the last race of 2021, the historic moment when Max Verstappen won the world championship for the first time in Abu Dhabi. And now…