“We are only in the first week of testing and the times recorded have not yet given us a realistic ranking, as we saw with the best times by Renault on the SuperSoft tyres (1’17″393 with Hulkenberg) and Toro Rosso (Albon 1’17″637) against the1’17″8 of Mercedes and Ferrari’s 1’18″0 with the medium mix.”
These were the first comments by Gian Carlo Minardi after the first four days of collective testing on Barcelona’s Montmelò circuit that inaugurated the F1 World Championship season have been filed away.
“Those under special observation were surely the current world champion, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, and Ferrari. Toto Wolff’s men retraced last season’s programme with a number of different trials aimed at development, just as the team with the prancing horse has not yet looked for performance”.
The new racing cars ran the first kilometres and they have already shown important reliability as shown by the laps run. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas took the titles of the workaholics with 610 laps on their account, in front of the Ferrari duo Vettel-Leclerc that completed 598 laps.”
“An important signal comes from the very many kilometres covered by all the teams, with the exception of Williams over which we should draw a veil. It is inconceivable that such a successful team threw away two days of tests. I hope that they can make up the time lost next week.”
Third place for Alfa Romeo Racing thanks to the work by Raikonnen and Giovinazzi who completed 507 laps against the 482 by Toro Rosso’s pair Kvyat-Albon and the 475 by Verstappen-Gasly, both with Honda engines.
“The other fact that came out was how the forces on the field have come closer together. It will be a great battle between Mercedes-Ferrari-Red Bull and a tight battle between Renault-Toto Rosso-Alfa Romeo and Haas. The times are already very close to the best in 2018. This means that in a short time the engineers have already managed to recover part of the aerodynamic load lost with the new regulations.
“Each team knows exactly its potential and especially its position depending on the fuel on board. Next week we will have more significant results in the light of the weekend in Melbourne,” concluded the manager from Faenza.
The drivers and cars will be back on the Montmelò track next week from February 26 to March 1 before flying to Australia for the season’s first grand prix.