Mar.20 (GMM) Alex Albon is not surprised that Formula 1’s new era kicked off in Bahrain with pole position for Ferrari.
The British-born Thai, now at Williams, was closely involved in Red Bull’s intense battle against Mercedes last year for the 2021 world championship.
But while Red Bull has emerged with a fully competitive 2022 car, the same cannot be said of Mercedes.
“We have fundamental problems,” said Lewis Hamilton on Saturday after qualifying fifth behind both Ferraris and Red Bulls.
“A simple setup change won’t help. This bouncing is a problem I have never experienced before in Formula 1. They’re just not designed for that.”
Teammate George Russell, a distant ninth, confirmed that Mercedes’ “whole focus” is on the porpoising issue.
However, there may be other problems – such as with the Mercedes engine.
“Ferrari and Honda have definitely do a good job there done, but I don’t see any massive differences in the engine,” team boss Toto Wolff insists.
“We have a lot more problems sorting out the chassis than needing to look for milliseconds with the power unit.
However, the other Ferrari-powered cars – including Valtteri Bottas’ new team Alfa Romeo – are also highly competitive, with the Finn just behind Hamilton on Sunday’s grid.
“I sent Toto a message that said I’m looking forward to competing with you tomorrow,” Bottas smiled.
“I’ve seen Lewis too and we smiled at each other. Tomorrow will be fun.”
As for world champion Max Verstappen, he was clearly hoping for pole but is still tipped to win the race as Ferrari has concerns about tyre wear.
And when asked about his old nemesis Mercedes, the Dutchman said: “Once they get their bouncing out of the way, they will have a fast car.
“These new cars still have so many unexplored areas.”
Finally, after a tough few seasons for Formula 1’s most famous name, Ferrari is deservedly enjoying its return to the spotlight with a strong 2022 package.
Williams’ Albon is not surprised.
“We can’t forget that Ferrari gave up halfway through the season last year,” he told Viaplay. “Since then they were developing like crazy for this year’s car.
“Red Bull was in a mega fight with Mercedes – they both tried so hard to win that championship. So if Red Bull is this close already, then we already know from the past how well Red Bull develops throughout the season.”