Champions MercedesAMG suspect Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) are considerably faster than the Italian team let on in F1’s 1st pre-season test in Spain, with the gap between the Top 3 and the rest closing.
Teams have 6 days of testing before the season-opener in Australia on 15 March and the engineers have lots of data to crunch at the halfway stage.
On paper, MercedesAMG were more than a sec quicker than the next team at the Circuit de Catalunya and also covered the most distance.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto told reporters he was less optimistic than last year, when his team’s pace was evident to see.
“The others are faster than us at the moment, I believe,” he said.
MercedesAMG are chasing an unprecedented 7th successive title double this year with Lewis Hamilton also out to equal Michael Schumacher’s record 7 crowns, did not crow.
“No-one wants the egg on their face of claiming that they are faster than another team, because they can never know for certain what was hidden or what is coming next,” the team observed in an assessment on their website .
“Will Red Bull bring a significant upgrade package to the second test? Why have Ferrari spent this test running their PU consistently at much lower levels than their partner teams?
“What we can say is that we predict the battle in Melbourne at the front is going to be tight. We can also see that the midfield have closed on the front and that there is some considerable midfield swing compared to last year’s competitive order.”
Valtteri Bottas’ fastest lap Friday was 1:15.732 secs, compared to Sebastian Vettel’s best for Ferrari of 1:18.154 Thursday.
Ferrari 8th fastest of the 10 teams.
However the quickest time by a Ferrari-powered car was Kimi Raikkonen’s 1:17.091 for Alfa Romeo, on the same C5 tire as Bottas, when the Y 2007 champion was Top on day 2.
Alfa was 2nd fastest overall, just ahead of Renault and Mercedes-powered Racing Point.
Ferrari did not hide the fact that they were taking a different approach to last year when they sent expectations soaring with their testing times only to see MercedesAMG win the 1st 8 races.
“This year we’ve decided to focus more on ourselves, trying to learn the car as much as possible in the first few days and focus on performance a bit later on and see if that pays off,” Charles Leclerc said Wednesday.
Teams can run whatever fuel load they want in testing and also try out concepts and devices that would be illegal in race conditions.
According to figures published by Pirelli, MercedesAMG did 494 laps over the 1st 3 days while Ferrari completed 354. That placed them 8th overall, ahead of only Williams (324) and Haas (316).
“It has been a good first week, the car has been broadly reliable, and the performance has been reasonably good throughout the week,” said technical director James Allison.
Enzo Ferrari’s iconic Italian Supercar manufacturer claimed the title according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 2019 report launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Neutral to Bullish, there is resistance 176.62, and Key support is solid at 169.46, the stock has established strong long term support. The MACD is Very Bullish in here.
Ferrari finished at 172.79, -5.06 Friday in NY.
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
Have a terrific weekend