I’ve never been a fan of covering Formula 1 pre-season testing.
All of the ‘experts’ and pundits are open about the fact that they have learnt nothing whatsoever from the testing period.
Testing allows the F1 media world to put out plenty of content, due to the aportioned or categorised nature of media these days.
Yet, we know hardly anything new.
The one aspect that was have learnt is that Mercedes may possibly have a better car this year.
Yet that is also a guess!
Ferrari ‘seem’ quick, yet are far from happy.
McLaren ‘seem’ to have very good pace yet also inconsistency.
Red Bull must still have a fast car. Their car’s advantage will not have disappeared.
The reason why they focussed so much on their passive DRS system and straightline speed is that this is going to be more important for them this year.
Yet – that does not mean that they have ‘lost’ any of the advantages that their car had!
Their strategy had focussed on qualifying speed, and then leading the race.
Leading the race on these annoyingly shit Pirelli tyres means that there is much less degradation, and a spread of the pack meant that it was less likely that a rival car could get into a straight-line drag race with them.
Yet, from last year, because there were few rule changes, other teams managed to get closer to the Red Bull in terms of qualifying.
This meant that the Red Bull was in the pack and lacked straight-line speed, which hurt it during the race.
Obviously Adrian Newey still won the WDC, because the McLaren was ridiculously unreliable, in car and team.
If Hamilton had won from his P1 positions in Spain, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, that is obviously worth 100 points (plus less points for his rivals at the same time).
The bottom line out of this is that the quickest car will still be Red Bull. McLaren may also be said to have ‘the quickest’ car, but that seems to be more based on ifs and buts.
If they can understand their car, if their drivers can understand their car and the tyres, if they do not make horrendous errors in strategy or reliability – then, yes, McLaren have the pace.
Ferrari are also playing the PR game. Their car will be better than last year’s confused and complicated waste of time.
Predictions, as always, are useless. Even if you make the right ones!
But, Alonso in a ‘better Ferrari’ always seems like a safe bet.