Who should be worried after 2022 Barcelona F1 testing?

Who should be worried after 2022 Barcelona F1 testing?

28-02-2022 09:47 Last update: 11:23

After the first week of testing it is often not possible to make a real ranking, but cautious signals that a team has made a jump forward or backward can often be noticed after three test days. For example, after last year's test we knew it was going to be a difficult year for Haas. This year the cards seem to have been shuffled again, thanks in part to the major changes in the regulations.

Based on times, it is often impossible to tell. It is unclear how much fuel is in the car and how hard someone is pushing. What gives more clarity is the number of laps done by a team. Reliability will also play a major role this year and moreover, with more laps you also collect more data. Based on this we can make a cautious ranking after the first test week in Barcelona.

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1. Mercedes

Based on time, it is logical to put Mercedes on top. The big comment here is that both times were set on the last day and on the softest tyre. Except for Sebastian Vettel, no one else set the fastest time on the softest C5 tyre. But also looking at the number of laps, Mercedes stands out. As it looks now, it will be incredibly close between Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.

2. Red Bull Racing

Just like last year, the battle between Red Bull and Mercedes will be hugely exciting. When looking at the lap count, Red Bull is in fourth place, but that is mainly explained by the problems on Thursday. Then Sergio Perez stalled and a large part of the test day fell into the water.

On Wednesday, Verstappen had almost 150 laps to his name. So Red Bull's reliability is good. This year they will not only have to keep an eye on the Silver Arrows but also the red of Ferrari will be a challenge.

3. Ferrari

Ferrari have done its homework well. Both drivers didn't get the maximum out of the car in lap time, as the fastest time of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were both on the yellow C3 tyre, but nevertheless, they are on top looking at the number of laps. As the only team to manage more than 400 laps in three days of Barcelona, a lot of data was collected for the team, which will help them towards Bahrain.

As an engine supplier, the test week was a bit less for Ferrari. Although they drove 439 laps with the Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Haas together managed to do 335 laps. At Ferrari, they had probably hoped for some more data to optimise the engine.

4. McLaren

Just like the Constructors' classification of 2021, McLaren are for now in fourth place. They too drove a lot of laps in Barcelona and did not run into any major problems. They even seem to have found the solution against porpoising, the bouncing of the car on the straight. This makes them an outsider to be very successful this season.

5. Williams

Just like last season, the midfield will be incredibly close, although there will be some shifts. Williams, for example, are going to make another leap. They were already on the rise up the ladder in 2021 and there is a good chance that they will now be fighting for points on a regular basis. With Alexander Albon as the new wind within the team, they have a driver who knows what it's like to work in a top team and that could just help them make even more steps towards where they were at the beginning of the hybrid era.

6. Alpine

Alpine openly disclosed that they were without DRS and ran with a lot of fuel on their test days. Problems on Friday caused their test week to come to an early end, but with BWT as the new main sponsor and the accompanying new look, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon will be seen in the midfield just like last year

7. AlphaTauri

It was a good test week for Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, with no big surprises. Apart from Gasly's crash, the week went without a hitch and within the team, they were also very pleased with Tsunoda, who is entering his second F1 season this year. Seventh place is on the low side for AlphaTauri for now, but it will be so close in the midfield that several teams should actually be in the same spot.

8. Aston Martin

There were problems for Aston Martin in Barcelona. Sebastian Vettel had to work as a fireman and they crashed out on Friday with engine problems, so like Alpine they had to stop earlier than planned. Something clearly needs to happen at the Silverstone-based team in the coming weeks if they are not to fall back into the rear.

9. Haas

Although they drove the least number of laps in Barcelona, it looks like Haas have moved away from last place. They spent the entire 2021 season working on this year's car and although the times don't suggest that yet, they seem to have made a move. Whether it is enough to be part of the midfield will have to be seen in Bahrain. Too little is known for that at the moment.

10. Alfa Romeo

It will be hard for Valtteri Bottas. From first place in 2021, he goes to the team that will probably occupy the last place next season. With Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou as a teammate, things are not going well at Alfa Romeo yet. On Friday, Zhou caused no less than two red flags and Bottas' performance was also not yet up to par. Work to do for the Swiss team!