Ralf reluctant to predict a Ferrari title charge

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc in pre-season action. Barcelona March 2022

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in pre-season action. Barcelona March 2022

Ralf Schumacher believes the title race will ultimately boil down to being between Red Bull and Mercedes again, believing Ferrari will reach their competitive “limit” early in the season.

Ferrari were touted as one of the big success stories throughout the six days of pre-season testing, completing the most miles in Barcelona and running seemingly without issue for the entire time, showing the reliability of the F1-75 from the off.

Their overall pace looked consistent as well, but team principal Mattia Binotto has tried to temper rising expectations surrounding the Scuderia – claiming they are still “outsiders” compared to the might of last season’s top two finishers in the Constructors’ Championship.

But Schumacher claimed that Ferrari have reached the peak of their abilities early on in weekends in recent seasons, and believes that could count against them as the year goes on.

With that being said, he hopes to see the Scuderia bring a strong car to the grid in 2022.

Carlos Sainz tests the Ferrari F1-75. Barcelona February 2022
Carlos Sainz putting in the laps in the Ferrari F1-75 at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022

“I definitely think they have made a step forward, but will that be enough for the top? I’m not so sure,” the German said, quoted by SPEEDWEEK.

“Especially since Ferrari tends to reach the performance limit earlier than other teams. We often saw that in the Friday practice sessions last year. I would like Ferrari to be at the front, because that’s important for Formula 1 worldwide.”

There have been concerns within Mercedes that they may not be able to challenge for race victories early on in the season, not least from Lewis Hamilton, who is not optimistic about his hopes in the opening rounds of the year.

But there has been a habit in the past few years for the reigning Constructors’ champions to express worries that their testing did not show signs of competing at the front, before emerging at the season-opening race to be in the hunt for wins.

Schumacher predicts this could be the case again as we head towards the 2022 curtain-raiser in Bahrain this weekend, and thinks the season will be set up for another tight tussle between Mercedes and Red Bull.

 

“Of course, Mercedes is not as far behind as the Bahrain timesheet makes it seem. I’m sure there’s still something to come,” he said.

“But we also have to remember that Bahrain has not necessarily been Ferrari’s patch in recent years. Mercedes has its own concept here.

“It’s designed to work well on most tracks. The bottom line will be Mercedes versus Red Bull Racing again.”

 

‘Eight out of 10’ for Ferrari’s pre-season

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