The game has already started. The Formula 1 preseason tests started with a first surprise that nobody expected: the champion team, Mercedes, the most reliable and fastest, winning it all since the start of the hybrid era in 2014 with tremendous dominance, started the first day of official testing in Bahrain with gearbox problems after his first lap installation, something that made the Brackley, with Bottas at the wheel, lost 3 hours and 20 minutes of the 4 total of this first morning session. This meant that the star team had to focus at the last minute on performing work that the rest of the teams had done in the first moments of the session, collecting data with a sensor grid located at the rear of the car.
However, this should not be a major setback for the star. If the tests are useful for something, it is to find setbacks and solve them so that they are not repeated when the real fire starts, in the races. Mercedes, with such a superior car, is still the clear favorite to win it all with Hamilton, who will pilot this Friday afternoon after Valtteri Bottas I could only do 6 laps, hoping I could have a clean afternoon session after overcoming that reliability failure.
Mercedes and Aston Martin, innovative funds
Mercedes started from the bottom, and another bottom that must be talked about a lot about the star is precisely its flat bottom. Those of Brackley made it clear in their presentation that they did not want to show images of this part, crucial this year since it has been changed by regulation, narrowed by the sides of the rear area. Adapting to these new regulations has been one of the most important tasks for all the teams during the winter, especially to try to recover the load lost due to this modification in other parts of the car. And precisely there, Mercedes surprised by presenting four curvatures in the middle part of this area, something that surely all the teams are already studying at their headquarters. A similar concept in its Aston Martin ‘brothers’ also attracted attention, with a more pronounced double wave.
It was being a good morning for Ferrari, with Leclerc at the wheel of the new SF21 before Carlos Sainz will hit the track in the afternoon. The Monegasque was complying with the planned program, collecting data with a sensor grill in the rear area, one of the main changes of this car compared to 2020, and analyzing the air flow of that part with paraffin, all with the objective of confirming the correlation between the runway data and those of the simulations. Leclerc had 59 laps, the fourth car with the most laps of all morning. However, with only 10 minutes to go, he noticed that something in his Ferrari was not working. correctly and decided to park his car at turn 4.
Alonso, on the wall following the evolutions of Alpine
For its part, Fernando Alonso, just one day to get on his Alpine A521 for the first time, followed from the box, and later from his team’s wall, the work done by Esteban Ocon, which did a total of 55 laps, finishing in fourth position. Despite this, times, led by Ricciardo in his new McLaren (with a Mercedes engine), are not important. They are not usually so in all tests, and less in the first morning session. The important thing is to have the least number of problems, complete the planned work, collect data to check the correlation of the wind tunnel data and that the drivers adapt to their new cars.
In that sense, the day for Alpine was very positive. There is still a lot of fabric to cut. At the moment, Daniel Ricciardo surpassed a Pierre Gasly by 28 thousandths, which was the one that made the most laps with his Alpha Tauri, with a total of 74 laps. At 42 thousandths was Verstappen, with 60 laps with his Red Bull. The fourth position went to the Alpine de Ocon, 0 ”756 behind the best time with 55 laps, and at 1 second we found Leclerc with the Ferrari.
Vettel, with a Aston martin who is expected to be fighting for third place in the Builders World Cup against Ferrari during the course, started in the seventh square, still not wanting to show any of the potential that your green car hides. For its part, Mick schumacher, debutant this course with Haas, he was ninth at 3 ”924, still with a lot to learn, in the middle of learning his car and a new category, the queen class.