F1: Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) Starts This Gran Prix Season Strong
Ferrari (NYSE;RACE) flies into the new Gran Prix season challenging MercedesAMG’s 3-year dominance of the world’s #1 motorsports series.
McLaren cannot to get its racer to do more than limp around the track during Winter testing at Barcelona.
Ferrari and MercedesAMG concluded 8 days of preseason testing Friday with completely contrasting prospects.
Kimi Raikkonen set the best time of the preseason, pushing his Ferrari below teammate Sebastian Vettel’s leading mark from the day before by almost 4/10’s of a sec.
“There’s a good feeling with this car,” Mr. Raikkonen said after completing 111 laps that were interrupted only when he spun out on turn 13 in the afternoon.
“We have been reliable for almost all of these days of testing. We are starting from a stronger base than last year. But it’s really too early to say how fast the car is compared to the others.”
MercedesAMG split the day between drivers Lewis Hamilton and new driver Valtteri Bottas, who clocked the 4th and 5th-best times behind Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso.
Mr. Vettel said Thursday, it was possible MercedesAMG was holding something back and may prove to be notably quicker at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2 weeks.
Mr. Hamilton sized up Ferrari warily and said The Scuderia may also have even more power under its hood.
“It looks like we have a good battle on our hands. Ferrari have been doing a fantastic job. There’s more to come from them but their pace here has really been spectacular,” the three-time former champion said. “Of course, I want a car that I can go out and fight for a championship with. But for the fans it’s best when there’s multiple teams fighting for it.”
Lap times by the most race-ready teams have steadily dropped through the preseason, setting new track records since the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya layout was changed a 10 years ago. That was expected after F1 issued a major rulebook overhaul this winter to make wider, and thus faster, cars.
McLaren showed no benefits.
The former F1 heavyweight had a terrible final day after Fernando Alonso’s car 2X quit and coasted to a stop.
McLaren has endured slow speeds and repeated problems with its Honda engine throughout the tests, and back-to-back stoppages during the session when teams want to be priming their cars for the 1st race is alarming.
Mr. Alonso’s troubled car was already at the bottom of the time sheets when it ground to a halt after 16 laps. After being hauled back on a flatbed to the garage, he ventured out again, only to provoke a 2nd Red Flag when his car stopped after only 2 more laps.
McLaren said the 2 stoppages were caused by “electrical issues,” and that it was not sure if the problem was the same one that had also caused teammate Stoffel Vandoorne’s car to stop 2X too Thursday.
“Today was a disappointing way to end the test,” Mr. Alonso said. “It’s clear we have a lot of preparation ahead of us to be ready in time for Melbourne.”
Honda, McLaren’s engine maker, summed the tests up this way, “it’s been a challenge.”
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had the 2nd fastest time Friday. But that was 8/10’s of a sec off Mr. Raikkonen’s pace, indicating that Red Bull is a step behind Ferrari and MercedesAMG heading into the season.
|NYSE:RACE||65.73||10 March 2017||0.56||65.54||65.86||65.38||326,400|
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for RACE:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
|Bullish (0.49)||Neutral (0.24)||Very Bullish (0.69)||Very Bullish (0.54)|
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