Friday, July 1, 2022

F1 Testing: All the track action in Bahrain live on Sky Sports F1 as teams look to assert dominance

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The final F1 test is live on Sky Sports F1 from this Thursday

F1 is speeding into the crucial final days of 2022 pre-season preparation from this Thursday, and Bahrain Testing is set to provide a much clearer picture of the pecking order – with the sport’s leading lights all seemingly in the hunt at the front – ahead of the opening race.

In a boost for fans, all eight hours from all three days – from Thursday morning through to Saturday afternoon – are live on Sky Sports F1, while there will also be a nightly Ted’s Testing Notebook.

Though there has already been one three-day test in Barcelona, that was billed as a ‘shakedown’ by F1 and the teams are expected to bring plenty of upgrades to their all-new cars for the change of venue at Sakhir – which is key as it’s also the host of the season-opening Bahrain GP next weekend.

“Anyone who says they can see a pecking order are kidding themselves a little bit,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle on the opening test. There are, however, signs already that certain familiar names have made strong starts.

As Brundle added: “Inevitably the top teams will get there first after the rule changes.”

How close are F1’s ‘big four’?

 Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren all appear to be in the hunt at the front

Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren all appear to be in the hunt at the front

A lot of the talk coming into the season was whether the rules refresh and the fact teams had to design new cars from tip to toe for this season – with the aerodynamic overhaul aimed at improving overtaking – could completely shake up the pecking order we’ve come to expect in F1.

The early signs, and they are very early signs following the Barcelona test, are that Mercedes and Red Bull are in fact still strong despite their 2021 title battle. It does also, however, appear that Ferrari and McLaren – F1’s most successful teams but distant from the top two last year – have significantly closed the gap.

“The top four appear to have kept up their standard,” said Sky F1’s Damon Hill, while Karun Chandhok gave his first-test verdict: “The big teams are still going to be the big teams.

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz looks back on the final day of Formula 1's first pre-season test from Barcelona.

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Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz looks back on the final day of Formula 1’s first pre-season test from Barcelona.

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz looks back on the final day of Formula 1’s first pre-season test from Barcelona.

“I think we’d all be pretty shocked if Red Bull and Mercedes are not at the front. But I don’t think we can rule out Ferrari, and I think McLaren are also in the hunt.”

The final timesheets from Barcelona saw Mercedes and Red Bull at the top thanks to a last-day surge, although Ferrari and McLaren had led the way earlier in the week and many believe they had the better start.

The fastest laps of pre-season testing (Barcelona) per team

Team Driver Test Day Time
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Day Three 1:19.138
Red Bull Sergio Perez Day Three 1:19.556
McLaren Lando Norris Day One 1:19.568
Ferrari Charles Leclerc Day Two 1:19.689
Aston Martin Sebastian Vettel Day Three 1:19.824
AlphaTauri Pierre Gasly Day Two 1:19.918
Williams Alex Albon Day Three 1:20.318
Alpine Fernando Alonso Day Three 1:21.242
Haas Nikita Mazepin Day Two 1:21.512
Alfa Romeo Guanyu Zhou Day Two 1:21.885

Sky F1’s Anthony Davidson continued: “Red Bull and Mercedes were fighting until the last lap of the championship last year and a lot of resource, a lot of energy went into that.

“It left Ferrari and McLaren not having to worry about that kind of thing and putting more resource, more time into a brand new car, so I do think it helped them.

With the new season fast approaching, relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last year.

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With the new season fast approaching, relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last year.

With the new season fast approaching, relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last year.

“But it also doesn’t look like it’s hurt Red Bull or Mercedes either, it seems like they’ve still got a very good package.”

David Croft said of Ferrari: “I had a sneaky suspicion that Ferrari would be raising eyebrows among the Red Bull and Ferrari engineers, and I think they did.” While Johnny Herbert noted of McLaren: “Straight away did quick lap times, and I think as a base that was quite telling”.

So yes, it does look like Ferrari and McLaren are closer to the front than the midfield, but keep your eyes peeled for what the top two – and particularly the reigning eight-time champions – bring to Bahrain.

“Mercedes looked like the most unadventurous car of the lot in Barcelona, but let’s see what they do in Bahrain,” said Hill.

Martin Brundle says the new regulations should improve racing as Formula 1 enters a new era.

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Martin Brundle says the new regulations should improve racing as Formula 1 enters a new era.

Martin Brundle says the new regulations should improve racing as Formula 1 enters a new era.

Do Mercedes have trick up their sleeve for Bahrain?

Due to it being the final test as well as the venue for the opening race in just over a week, teams are expected to bring more advanced packages to Bahrain this week, which should give us a better idea of who is leading the way.

And there are rumours swirling that Mercedes may be bringing a significant upgrade to the desert, possibly even one that gives them around one second per lap extra.

That sounds ominous, although rival teams may also be bringing much more performance.

Damon Hill says Formula One's new regulations should mean cars are able to run far closer to each other and therefore produce more exciting racing.

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Damon Hill says Formula One’s new regulations should mean cars are able to run far closer to each other and therefore produce more exciting racing.

Damon Hill says Formula One’s new regulations should mean cars are able to run far closer to each other and therefore produce more exciting racing.

“I think they’re playing games to a certain extent,” said Sky F1’s Paul Di Resta. “I think both Red Bull and Mercedes, what you’re seeing and what you’re hearing, are saving a lot until the end.”

Ferrari and McLaren have intimated that they’ll be focusing more on optimising their current setups, but it would still be a surprise not to see notable improvements.

“I think both visually and the way they perform, the cars will be very different in Bahrain,” said Davidson.

“You could also see the pecking order change just from circuit based. I’m sure for the test we’ll see different iterations of the cars.”

With the first race of the season firmly on the horizon on March 20, the next three days are crucial – and you can follow all the action with Sky Sports F1.

Watch Testing live on Sky Sports F1

You can watch the second and final pre-season test all live on Sky Sports F1 from Thursday as Formula 1 2022 ramps up with three days of action in Bahrain.

With coverage starting early morning on March 10 and running through to Saturday, Sky F1 will be the place to be to watch the eight hours of live track action from each day – plus a nightly Ted’s Testing Notebook.

Sky F1’s Martin Brundle, David Croft, Ted Kravitz, Anthony Davidson Rachel Brookes and new arrival Naomi Schiff will be out in Bahrain to help tell the story of each day’s track running and all the big stories of pre-season.

Former W Series driver and Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador Naomi Schiff joins the Sky F1 team, co-presenting the new 'Any Driven Monday' show.

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Former W Series driver and Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador Naomi Schiff joins the Sky F1 team, co-presenting the new ‘Any Driven Monday’ show.

Former W Series driver and Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador Naomi Schiff joins the Sky F1 team, co-presenting the new ‘Any Driven Monday’ show.

In addition to the Sky F1 channel, subscribers can also watch the live action on their mobile by logging in with their Sky iD on the Sky Sports App.

The Sky Sports website and app will be the place for the live digital blog with updates, timesheets and free-to-view video clips of key incidents and interviews, while there will also be updates on Sky Sports News.

You can also follow the latest updates via the Sky F1 social channels.

Thursday, March 10
6.50am-11.05am: Day One Morning Session LIVE!*
11.50am-4.10pm: Day One Afternoon Session LIVE!*
7pm: Ted’s Testing Notebook – Day One

Friday, March 11
6.50am-11.05am: Day Two Morning Session LIVE!*
11.50am-4.10pm: Day Two Afternoon Session LIVE!
7pm: Ted’s Testing Notebook – Day Two

Saturday, March 12
6.50am-11.05am: Day Three Morning Session LIVE!*
11.50am-4.10pm: Day Three Afternoon Session LIVE!
7pm: Ted’s Testing Notebook – Day Three

*simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event





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