Red Bull boss Christian Horner has tipped Ferrari as the team to watch this season, but believes Mercedes have not quite shown their hand yet.
Ferrari have been the standout performers throughout pre-season testing, regularly finding themselves at the sharp end of the timesheets.
Red Bull have also looked quick with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez setting fast times in both tests. The team were even quoted as saying they were “competitive without even trying” at the end of the second day in Bahrain.
Mercedes, however, with their new and dramatic narrow sidepods, have not looked as quick on track and barely troubled the top of the times. However, Horner believes the World Champions may be hiding their true potential.
“For me, the car that looks the most settled on circuit is the Ferrari at the moment,” Horner told reporters.
“They have had a very strong testing period so far both in Barcelona and Bahrain. I would say they have looked extremely competitive on track.
“But you have to remember these cars are still very immature.
“The rate of development will be fast and intense and I expect that to change and Mercedes will be a huge factor in this championship, I have no doubt.”
Red Bull entered the third and final day of pre-season testing with an upgraded car that helped them top the timesheets in the morning with Perez and again in the afternoon via Verstappen.
But with the new regulations for 2022, it has become extremely difficult to predict the true pecking order of the grid. Many teams look quick, with Horner praising McLaren and even Alpine.
Horner was wary of making any predictions and expects to get a full picture during qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend.
“I think what you can say is it will only be next Saturday you will get the first snapshot when the fuel comes out, people run as close to the weight limit as they can and we will see how competitive they are,” explained Horner.
“We’ve a completely clean sheet of paper. I don’t think Mercedes have fully shown their hand here.
“I think Ferrari are the form team, you’d have to say at the moment. Hopefully we can be in there as well. It looks like McLaren have a strong car, Alpine have been quick, so it’s impossible to predict.”
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