Many teams finished Formula 1’s period of eight days of pre-season testing with confidence, but one team is pleased with their potential to be at the front end of the grid.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel believe that their new SF70-H car is an improvement on their 2016 model which took the Scuderia to third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Both drivers spent time on top of the timesheets during the Barcelona tests, with Raikkonen fastest on three days and Vettel fastest in one. Raikkonen also set the fastest time of testing on the final day, a time of 1:18.634, over 3.3 seconds quicker than the 2016 pole position time set by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn said that he doesn’t know where the team is compared to their rivals, but he is comfortable with his new car ahead of the first race in Australia on March 24-26.
“There’s a good feeling with this car and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “We have been reliable for almost all of these days of testing and that is another good sign of the great work the team has done over the winter.
“We are starting from a stronger base than last year: but it’s really too early to say how fast the car is compared to the others. Perhaps even Melbourne won’t give a 100 per cent precise picture of the situation, because the first race is always a bit unusual.
“We might have to wait until China. Either way, I’d like to thank everyone in the team because they have always managed to step in and sort out all the small problems that testing is supposed to resolve.”
Vettel believes that the team is in a better position compared to 2016. Ferrari was the only team last season to claim points from every race, claiming 11 podiums in total.
“The important thing is that we have completed a lot of laps and, compared to a year ago, we feel better prepared because of that,” he said. “At this point lap times don’t mean anything: we followed our program and made progress but there’s still room for improvement.”
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