It is well known that conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya are usually at their best in the morning, with the track getting slower and cooler as the day goes on.
That means MercedesAMG’s Lewis Hamilton’s race simulation was completed in better conditions compared to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Mr. Leclerc was comfortably quicker than Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz who completed race simulations at the same time on Friday afternoon. It should be noted MercedesAMG who power Racing Point were running all of their engines at lower levels to protect reliability, having suffered a series of issues across the 6-day test. However, it does suggest there will be a decent gap between the Top 3 and the rest again.
Adding more downforce over the Winter was a high priority for Ferrari and they seem to have done that. But, they have also added drag and lost speed on the straights, which might explain why Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) Boss Mattia Binotto moved to play things down at testing.
“I am not as optimistic as I was last year,” he said. “We are certainly not the fastest car, at least here in Barcelona during winter testing. Our main competitors are certainly faster. But there will be time to address the development where we believe we are too weak.”
He rated the test as an 8 out of 10, based on the fact they completed the mileage and program and spent a lot of time mapping the car to understand the lap time and avoid a repeat of last year where they were fast in testing but then slow from Melbourne, but downgraded to a 6 when talking specifically about performance.
There are positives when you analyse the cornering data.
Sebastian Vettel in his final testing briefing said they are “faster in the corners by quite a chunk”. And the data backs it up. Slow corners were Ferrari’s enemy last year, but they held a 0.3sec advantage in these types of turns at Barcelona over the rest of the field. That is a huge performance swing.
Ferrari believes correlation is good, based on the data, while Mr. Vettel adds the car is a “step forward”. Mr. Vettel is a glass half-full kind of guy, so perhaps it is not surprising that he was staying positive as the test drew to a close. “We believe come race day, the car will give us an advantage in the way it is set up,” he said.
Albert Park will give us our 1st clues, but it will not be until The Scuderia has completed Bahrain, Vietnam, Zandvoort and Barcelona that we get a true picture. Tune in…
Here is what our sources have to say about the coronavirus health situation that F1 is facing up to this weekend, as follows:
4 days out from the Australian Grand Prix, 3 F1 team members have been placed into isolation over concerns they may have contracted coronavirus.
1 member from McLaren and 2 from Haas were evaluated at the Albert Park circuit isolation unit after showing fever symptoms on Wednesday. They have been tested for the virus and placed under self-isolation at their hotels in Melbourne.
“Personnel were showing some symptoms so they got themselves checked out and have put themselves into self-isolation, as they should, while they await results,” a Haas team official said.
The team members in isolation had reportedly been mixing with other personnel on the paddock. Therefore, a positive result for coronavirus may incite calls to cancel the Australian Grand Prix, which is scheduled for Sunday.
There are over 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia as of Wednesday, including three deaths. Although Australia has prohibited Italians from entering the country, Italian personnel from Ferrari, AlphaTauri and Pirelli were already in Melbourne before the ban was announced.
On Sunday, it was announced the F1 season’s second race in Bahrain would go ahead without fans in a bid to prevent a spread of the deadly virus, which has forced a growing number of sports events to be cancelled, postponed or played behind closed doors.
But Australian Grand Prix Corporation Boss Andrew Westacott said that would not be happening in Melbourne.
“Not at all,” he told Melbourne radio station SEN when asked if barring fans was being considered.
“When you look at 86,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last night, and the footy the week after, we’ve got to go around things sensibly and keep moving on through life while taking the necessary precautions.”
Skywriting of the words “STOP F1” appeared above Sydney Wednesday in protest of F1’s inaction towards the virus. It was estimated more than 300,000 fans attended last year’s Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
The coronavirus outbreak has already forced the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix initially scheduled for 19 April. There are also some doubts the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix, the 3rd race this season, will go ahead on 5 April.
The F1 series, like other sports, is threatened by the global spread of the virus. With 22 races on the calendar, the governing body of motorsport has created a select group which will meet every 2 days and assess the situation.
HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Neutral to Bullish, there is Key resistance 164.07 and support is NIL, 1 of my Key indicators the RSI has turned Bullish as the stock is very oversold in here.
Ferrari finished at 142.40, or -3.30 Wednesday in NY, and shares were raised to Buy from Hold at HSBC.
Ferrari will continue to create value in the long term. Ferrari is a quality 1st long term luxury products investment, and I have called it at it at 200+/share long term, adjusting it to 200/share short term and siding with BAML to 230 long term for now.