Because they know that they know nothing. At least not much. That is the conclusion that even Formula 1 insiders draw after the last test drives in Bahrain before the start of the premier class season at the same place next weekend. AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost explains to ABMS why the results of the practice drives hardly go beyond reading the coffee grounds.
But what Tost and Co. don’t know is how much fuel a competitor’s car had on board and how much power was being drawn from the engine. Background: This season, the Formula 1 cars, whose minimum weight with driver was raised from 795 to 798 kilograms for a short time, start with a maximum of 105 kilograms of petrol on board. However, the rule of thumb in the premier class is: Ten kilos of extra weight make a car about three tenths slower in one lap. In other words: 40 kilos of difference in weight add up to 1.2 seconds.
One thing is certain: Only the last of six test days cleared the fog a little. Only then did all the teams more or less simulate the upcoming race weekend. And that’s where Red Bull looked best. Motorsport boss Helmut Marko reveals ABMS: “Our car corresponded to the next week in Bahrain for the most part.”
The Red Bull analysis without guarantee shows: You are ahead of Ferrari, an estimated three tenths of a second per lap. Then comes Mercedes. Behind it will be very close. Marko doesn’t quite trust the peace yet: “We know that Ferrari has built a compact car that is also very reliable. But we also know Mercedes: They always whine during the test drives and then it suddenly goes boom. That was in the last one Year the same. They also had problems during the test and still won the first race.”
Alone: From a German perspective, there is reason for hope. Sebastian Vettel seemed very happy with the driveability of his car. Aston Martin didn’t go chasing times yet. Vettel: “We focused on other things.”