Ferrari tops timesheets in F1 testing, plus latest news
FERRARI showed strong form as eight days of pre-season testing for the 2017 Formula One season concluded last week.
Kimi Raikkonen’s best lap of 1:18.634 on Friday morning was the fastest set in testing up to that point and Ferrari also enjoyed good reliability and long-run pace.
Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel was cautious about the team’s prospects, however, saying: “The car is much better than last year because the nature of the formula has changed, but it’s early days.”
He continued: “If you look at the amount of laps Mercedes has done, if you look how slow they go in the testing, how much they are able to ramp it up for the races... it’s clear. They’re very fast if you look at their long-run pace. They’re the ones to beat.”
After a strong start, Mercedes faltered somewhat, with some development parts not working as hoped. “We have had so many different upgrades and some of them haven’t been perfect,” said Valterri Bottas.
“Some have been overperforming, some have been maybe slightly underperforming. But I’m confident we’ll find most out of the package and it’ll be as good as planned.”
Red Bull also looked competitive as a clear gap emerged between the top three and the rest of the field. But the Milton Keynes squad was hampered by Renault engine issues, which also affected Toro Rosso and the Renault works outfit. Elsewhere, Mclaren-honda’s engine woes from the first test continued. A frustrated Fernando Alonso told the press: “We have one problem: the power unit. There’s no reliability and no power. We’re 30km/h down on the straight, so it’s difficult to have a feeling on the car.”
Mclaren team boss Eric Boullier said the relationship with Honda was now at “maximum strain”. It was also revealed that Honda has parted company with consultant Gilles Simon, who previously worked on Ferrari’s engines in the years of Michael Schumacher’s dominance.
Vettel and Raikkonen fast Alonso slams Honda engine
■ FRUSTRATED Double champion Alonso (right) says Mclaren’s Honda engine has “no reliability and no power”