Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) finishes the 1st round of testing after another impressive day at the Circuit de Catalunya.
But in terms of trying to understand the benchmark by which to judge the rest of the F1 teams, the Key man from the session was Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari driver set a 1:18.046 on the middle compound in Pirelli’s range of 5, aka C3, but that becomes a 1:16.800 once corrected to a C5 estimate according to the differences in performance Pirelli estimates between the various tires.
The reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton went quicker than Mr. Leclerc on the outright time, setting a 1:17.977, but set his on the C4, when his time is ‘tire corrected’, he comes in at 1:17:300, 0.5s behind Mr. Leclerc.
Exact fuel loads are 1 of the Key unknowns at this stage of testing, so it is always risky to take a time from the 4th day of an 8-day test schedule and treat it as final. But given that this was the 1st day MercedesAMG turned its attention toward performance, it provided the 1st meaningful comparison of any sort between the 2 teams.
Mr. Leclerc also continued Ferrari’s impressive mileage, accumulating 138 laps over the day, while Messrs Bottas and Hamilton combined for 115 of their own.
Red Bull Racing did not complete a lap that could be considered comparable to the others, with Pierre Gasly’s 1:18.720 a full 0.7s down on Mr. Leclerc.
Like Leclerc, Mr. Gasly set his time on the C3 tire, but Red Bull said it was focusing more on longer and higher-fuelled runs with its new Honda power unit than on outright performance at this stage.
“Overall, the overall feeling for the car is really good even if it doesn’t show it on the lap times,” Mr. Gasly said. “We are testing and we know what we’re doing, so I am pretty happy, and there a lot more tests coming next week.
When asked about Red Bull’s new engine, he said: “I think it’s really good. Looking at Toro Rosso, they have been really fast with the Honda engine, and we are happy with it, as well. There is still some work to be done, but I think Honda did a really good job over the Winter. Still a few things to come next week, but the 1st 4 days have been really good.”
Mr. Gasly’s 146 laps were second only to Antonio Giovinazzi’s 154 for Alfa Romeo. The new Alfa Romeo has gained a lot of admirers in the paddock this week and will be 1 of the cars to keep an eye on next week as the focus continues to shift away from mileage and toward unlocking outright performance.
The 2nd test will begin at the same circuit Tuesday and run for 4 days.
Times at close Thursday, as follows:
Ferrari’s Brand: Ferrari became the world’s strongest brand, with a score of 94.8 out of 100 and an AAA+ rating just last month.
Ferrari is the Aristocrat of the automotive sector.
HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Bullish across the board, and there is very little resistance here and none above 140.26. All of our Key indicators are Very Bullish in here.