According to Sky Sports F1, one outstanding team is heading to the season opening following a tough pre-season testing session in Barcelona and Bahrain.
With the 2022 Formula One season kicking off this weekend in Bahrain, the Sky Sports F1 team has analysed the six days of pre-season testing in Barcelona and Bahrain to identify the team they believe is the favourite.
It’s probably unsurprising that Red Bull drew Martin Brundle and Anthony Davidson’s attention after setting the pace on the penultimate day of testing in Bahrain.
“Red Bull for me came away as the clear favourites,” Brundle told the Sky Sports F1 website.
Red Bull provided a slew of modifications on the last day in Bahrain, pushing Max Verstappen to a seven-tenths-of-a-second lead over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, according to the seasoned commentator.
“I have absolutely no doubts in my mind that the aero package on the Red Bull took a significant step forward [on Saturday],” said Brundle.
“Red Bull have moved the game on in terms of raw pace, long-run pace. They’ve been smiling all day. I think the pieces they put on the car suddenly made the whole car look better.”
“They found something with the car’s ride and it looks very good,” Davidson said, agreeing with Brundle.
Red Bull’s main rivals are Ferrari, not Mercedes.
With Ferrari finishing second behind Verstappen in the test, Brundle identified the Scuderia’s F1-75 as Red Bull’s closest rival.
“Red Bull have got a race on their hands with Ferrari,” he said. “That’s a frontrunner, that’s a contender, no doubt about it.”
For the time being, neither Brundle nor Davidson think Mercedes is capable of competing with Red Bull or Ferrari at the front of the field.
“The [Mercedes] car looks a handful but who would you put in front of them?” said Brundle. “I’d go Mercedes [in third].
“Don’t write them off Mercedes. I’m sure when they turn up – even in race one – they’ll be quite a bit faster.”
If Mercedes wants to join the fight at the front, Davidson believes they should wait until their porpoising troubles are addressed.
“I still feel like there’s more in it,” Davidson commented.
“But it just doesn’t look good to drive and sparked by the bouncing issues they have.”
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