Formula 1® giants Ferrari look set to make a splash early in 2022 after a strong performance in pre-season testing; that's the prediction from respected Formula 1® TV pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz, who features on the latest episode of the In The Fast Lane podcast.
Kravitz, who has been working in the sport for 25 years and will again feature as part of the Sky Sports Formula 1® coverage seen on Australian TV this season, feels Ferrari's progress in the pre-season sets it up for a stronger performance in Bahrain, which will host the opening race of the 23-round Formula 1® world championship this Sunday, 20 March (2 am Monday AEDT).
Red Bull, with defending world champion Max Verstappen, set the fastest time of pre-season testing on the final day in Bahrain last weekend, but Kravitz feels Ferrari look best placed to capitalise on their interpretation of the new rulebook set to debut in Formula 1® this season, which features heavily redesigned cars aimed towards aiding overtaking and larger 45cm (18-inch) low-profile tyres.
"There is genuine optimism (at Ferrari)," Kravitz said of the team that has won just three races in the past two seasons and is without a world championship since 2007.
"They're more developed and further down the road than anyone else. I can see a Red Bull being on pole but Ferrari winning in Bahrain, and even potentially in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) because the Ferrari engine is strong now.
Ferrari's rivals for third in last year's constructors' world championship, McLaren, go into the season's first race this weekend with ground to make up, with Daniel Ricciardo missing the entire second test in Bahrain after contracting COVID-19, and braking issues hampering its pre-season mileage.
Kravitz believes while Ricciardo will be compromised after just one-and-a-half days of testing McLaren's new car in Spain last month, his experience will alleviate any concerns.
"He's definitely on his back foot, and if he were a lesser driver I think he'd struggle," Kravitz said.
"But three practice sessions in Bahrain will see him up to speed. There was no point in running in the heat in the middle of the day in Bahrain (in testing), and he was also saved because (teammate) Lando (Norris) had a brake problem (McLaren) didn't see coming.
"Danny Ric will be on his back foot, but it's nothing he can't recover from."
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