Ferrari has made a strong impression in testing so far. The F1-75 runs reliably apart from minor problems. With the new engine, the Italian engineers are said to have made a decent progress in terms of power - despite the switch to E10 petrol.
You should still be careful. The first test days do not have much significance. Especially with cars that only took over the steering wheel from the previous year. Nobody knows who is doing what on the track. Who drives with how much petrol on board. Who calls up which engine settings. If you still have something up your sleeve that will only be unpacked in Bahrain. Direct comparisons are difficult to make, even if the teams' assessments are usually close to reality thanks to the empirical values of recent years and their simulation tools.
What everyone in the paddock agrees on is that Ferrari makes a very good impression after two days of testing. 153 laps on the first day, 150 on the second. The load is practically evenly distributed. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc covered similar distances. Ferrari is neatly sorted out at this early stage. The car has no teething problems. And if a problem does arise, it's quickly solved and the red car doesn't stay in the garage for long.
All manufacturers with new engines
Not only the car is completely new, but also the engine. This is not only due to the switch to E10 petrol. From this season, a ten percent share of biological waste must be added to the fuel. That costs about 20 hp on paper. The entire combustion process had to be adapted for this. However, the manufacturers would have designed completely new engines even without the new petrol. Because it's the last opportunity to upgrade until 2026. That's how long the engines will be frozen starting this season.
In a first step, the V6 turbo and the electric machine MGU-H will be homologated on March 1st. With the MGU-K, the battery and the power electronics, the manufacturers have until September 1st before the components are frozen. After that, only interventions that serve to ensure reliability are permitted.
Mercedes states that it has never done so much work on its power unit from one year to the next. In the paddock, people are saying that the world champion team is not yet at the level of performance of 2021. A few HP should still be missing. Red Bull Honda also said in winter that they had not yet made up for the losses caused by E10.
Maranello is taking all the risks
Ferrari, like the competition, cannot elicit any concrete figures. However, one hears from the ranks of the Italian national racing team that they have made a big leap with the new engine. Even bigger than from 2020 to 2021. If that's true, it would be a big step. We remember.At that time, Ferrari lost a lot of power after the FIA rapped the Scuderia on the knuckles.
There were irregularities with the power unit in 2019. Ferrari had to scale back massively. The power unit therefore lagged behind by around 50 hp in 2020. In the previous year, Ferrari reportedly shortened to 20 to 25 hp. A new hybrid system that debuted late in the season brought another one to two tenths.
With a show of strength in winter, Maranello wanted to close the gap to the previous class leader, Mercedes. Ferrari took the full risk for this. Tenor from the team: You had to do that to be competitive. The reliability can be improved, but not the performance over the next four seasons. Ferrari's customer teams are satisfied with the progress made, which so far does not appear to have come at the expense of reliability.
The competition applauds: "We have the feeling that Ferrari currently has the most powerful engine," says Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. But you have to classify the whole thing: Only two test days have been completed. Ferrari shouldn't be praised too soon. Winter tests can be deceiving. Team boss Mattia Binotto knows that, too, and says: "We're not the favourites, we're the outsiders."