Former F1 driver turned pundit Karun Chandhok reckons Ferrari could be the “big” threat this season.
Formula 1 has already has its first look at the all-new 2022 cars, the drivers taking to the Circuit de Catalunya last week for a three-day group shakedown.
While the first two days saw Ferrari and McLaren trade P1s, it was last year’s championship contenders who came to the fore on the final day, Mercedes pipping Red Bull.
In years gone by the mantra has been it is only testing and no one knows the real story, this year it is fair to say that is even more apt.
The cars that were run in Spain are unlikely to be the cars seen in Bahrain with many of the teams expected to take massive upgrades to the Sakhir circuit, both for this week’s test and the season-opening grand prix.
That hasn’t stopped fans or pundits alike talking up Ferrari’s chances.
“I think Ferrari is the big one,” Chandhok told Sky Sports.
“They have had a big advantage in terms of development but they also made some big steps last year.
“They had a pretty diabolical 2020 to be honest but the way they bounced back from being sixth in 2020 to third and actually getting podiums on merit last season was seriously impressive.
“They introduced a big power unit upgrade in Russia, which I think was four or five months ahead of schedule, which is not a thing you’d normally see in Formula 1. It bodes well.”
We really do have the best livery on the grid.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) March 3, 2022
Ferrari go into the new season having had more time than the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull to develop their F1-75, the Scuderia having had more R&D time.
Last year F1 introducing a sliding scale for CFD and wind tunnel time based on the previous year’s standings with Ferrari a lowly sixth in 2020 compared to Mercedes’ P1 and Red Bull’s running-up result.
Ferrari returning to championship-fighting form would be good for both Formula 1 and Ferrari’s tifosi says Chandhok.
“I think you know wherever we go even today, despite the Mercedes Red Bull battle, the biggest fan base is still a Ferrari fan base so that’s going to be great to see if they can get themselves in the fight.”
Even Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff wants to see Ferrari involved in the battle for the championship titles.
“As a fan, I love Ferrari,” he said last month. “They they are the greatest name in Formula 1, and it cannot be that Ferrari is not competing for race victories and titles.
“Winning championships is something different, many things have to come together to achieve that, but I think for all us fans of the sport Ferrari needs to be in the mix and we’ve missed them in the last few years.
“The passion of everyone at Ferrari and also the tifosi in Italy, it’s important to see that the car is competitive. So I hope there will be a few of us who are able to win races and [are] fighting hard on track.”