The Ferrari Formula 1 team is “at least” half a second clear of the rest of the Formula 1 field, concludes Toro Rosso Formula 1 boss Franz Tost after just three days of winter testing in Barcelona.
Ferrari F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc topped the timing sheets on the first two days of Formula 1 testing in Barcelona, while on the third day Toro Rosso-Honda’s Daniil Kvyat led the way, however the Russian was on much faster tyres than the Ferrari’s – who were more focussed on mileage, as is the case for most teams during the first week of testing.
While it has become increasingly clear that Ferrari may have toppled Mercedes from the top of the F1 pecking order when the F1 circus arrived in Barcelona, Franz Tost has provided the first indication of just how clear Ferrari’s advantage currently is. After an analysis conducted by the Toro Rosso team, Tost reckons Ferrari are more than half second clear of Mercedes, who have won the last five F1 titles.
When asked if Ferrari’s F1 advantage was half a second, Tost said: “At least,”
“I think it’s more than that.” Franz Tost continued, as he provided information about the analysis.
Tost wasn’t the only one complementing the package Ferrari brought to F1’s first pre-season test at Barcelona. Lewis Hamilton believes the Ferrari is currently “very, very strong”.
“I don’t think you can put a figure on it but Ferrari are very, very strong right now, as you have seen,” he said.
“They’ve been looking great,” he said. “For us we are just digging deep trying to understand the car, pretty much the same as the beginning of every year.
“The Ferraris always particularly look strong, particularly in the last few years, they have looked strong right at the beginning. So, that is to be expected. For us we are just going about our process. Everyone is working extremely hard so it has been normal.”
Many Formula 1 pundits, teams and drivers have been heavily focussed on Ferrari’s Formula 1 front wing, which they believe is a key differentiator. Many F1 team bosses struggled to understand how Ferrari were making correct strides forward with the type of front wing concept it employed, questioning how it obtains the required downforce, where many suspected there were other non-imminent concepts from where Ferrari were getting more downforce.
“Somehow they must be compensating for that [the front wing]. The question is how,” said Toto Wolff, when asked about Ferrari’s front wing used during pre-season testing.
“The concept looks wrong, but we’ll have to try it out in the wind tunnel,”
There were many suggestions in the paddock that other teams will copy Ferrari’s front wing before the first race of the season in Melbourne, however Red Bull’s Christian Horner has pointed out that there is a further aerodynamic secret inside the Ferrari that is key to the operation of the front wing.
“It wouldn’t work to bolt a Ferrari wing onto our car.” said Horner, when asked about the possibility of Red Bull going Ferrari’s way.