In its review of the first three days of testing, Mercedes said that they could not accurately predict the performance levels of their rivals based on the available data, but added that Ferrari did not use the same engine power as their customers Alfa Romeo and Haas.
Ferrari had a rather quiet and somewhat problematic start to 2020 F1 testing since speed was not at the expected level (eighth best time among ten teams, 2.4 s behind Mercedes), and not so perfect reliability led to only eight place among ten teams when it came to the number of laps completed.
Ferrari drove 354 laps, 71.66% of Mercedes’ laps (494), placing them only eighth ahead of Williams (324) and Haas (316). When it comes to engine mileage, Ferrari is at 92.01% of Mercedes’s mileage with both teams having two customers.
Team boss Mattia Binotto has admitted that he is not as optimistic as last year and that rivals from Mercedes and Red Bull are currently faster, but he is not ready to surrender and says the season is the longest ever and the trend can be reversed.
At Ferrari, they are determined to focus on the first week of testing to determine aerodynamic maps and correlation between CFD simulations, wind tunnel data and on track data, with no focus on performance.
Mercedes says that they see in their data that Ferrari was running their PU consistently at much lower levels than Alfa Romeo and Haas.
“What, then, can we say about the leaderboard after three days?,” states Mercedes in their press release.
“This is where life gets tricky because all these estimates are lower bound estimates. You can say with some confidence that your competitors are “at least as fast as X”, but you do not know for sure how much faster they could have gone.”
“No-one wants the egg on their face of claiming that they are faster than another team, because they can never know for certain what was hidden or what is coming next.”
“For example, will Red Bull bring a significant upgrade package to the second test? Why have Ferrari spent this test running their PU consistently at much lower levels than their partner teams?”
“What we can say is that we predict the battle in Melbourne at the front is going to be tight.”
“We can also see that the midfield have closed on the front and that there is some considerable midfield swing compared to last year’s competitive order.”
“Testing times are not meaningless, they are a goldmine, if you’re prepared to sift through them with care and caution until a clear picture begins to emerge…”