Following the winter pre-season testing session, which took place a few days ago at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, the focus of the grid now shifts to the first round of the new F1 championship, as the battle for the race win begin to take shape. Red Bull are ready to set the pace, after an impressive display of reliability, balance and efficiency. According to many F1 analysts and paddock insiders, the Milton Keynes side will once again be the team to beat.
Scuderia Ferrari, for its part, did not completely disappointed: the most important positive aspects were the great speed on the straights, the excellent time on one fast lap and very good reliability.
The Maranello team has certainly changed its design philosophy: this year’s car is more aerodynamically efficient, but tends to sacrifice performance in fast corners for higher top speed on the straight. Charles Leclerc himself had confirmed it: “I think we have a car with less aerodynamic resistance, it should be better this way. This, however, had an effect on other characteristics” – the Monegasque pointed out.
One of the key issues that came to light on the Sakhir track was tire management: the SF-23 devours the soft and medium compounds, while it doesn’t have too many problems with the hard ones. If this trend is confirmed, there could be serious trouble for the Italian side.
Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur was questioned on the matter by Motorsport’s Roberto Chinchero. The new manager didn’t want to provide to many details regarding the issue: “We completed many tests, trying different things. Some have worked well, some not so well. We already have developments planned for Jeddah or Melbourne, but I think the same is true for everyone” – the French manager pointed out.
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For Frederic Vasseur, the key point of these pre-season testing session is being able to lap without too many problems: “I’m quite happy with what we have done in these three days. The most important thing in the winter tests is being able to cover as many kilometres as possible, because when for some reason you don’t succeed, it’s a disaster” – the new Ferrari boss explained.
Indeed, Scuderia Ferrari has mainly focused on long runs. Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz carried out various race simulations, with every type of compound available, with particular attention to the C3. It cannot be said that the Maranello team explicitly attempted to for the fastest lap in any of the three days spent at the Bahrain International Circuit: “We continued with our program, it would have been a mistake to change it because Red Bull was at the top of the timesheets,” explained Frederic Vasseur.