Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull: F1 teams' pre-season testing rated out of 10


A frantic 3-day test period took place in Bahrain over the last weekend as F1 teams got their only real chance to put their new cars through their paces before the season gets underway.

It's always stressed that testing provides only half the picture when it comes to predicting who'll be the winners and losers in the year to come.

Teams can be holding back on their true performance and hiding new parts which they don't want to unveil until the racing starts for real.

However, there were still some fascinating headlines to come from the running in the desert and so here we are to rate each team's test out of 10...

Alfa Romeo - 7/10

Alfa will be pleased overall with their running across the three days with them managing 422 laps - the joint-most with AlphaTauri

They also saw one of their drivers in the top six in each day of the test in terms of lap time and, though they might not be a top-six regular during the season to come, they'll be pleased with the reliability of their car and the added stability new aerodynamic parts offered.

Cause for optimism for sure.

AlphaTauri - 8/10

AlphaTauri had a fine time of it out in Sakhir and they'll be hugely optimistic that they're going to be towards the front end of the midfield battle when the lights go out later this month.

Both Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly looked assured behind the wheel with the Japanese rookie setting an impressive time towards the end of the test on Sunday - making him the second-fastest driver across the weekend.

Of course, it's very unlikely we'll be seeing them on the front row of the grid much this year but the car looks a strong package and they'll be hoping for a season of more progression after a decent 2020.

Alpine - 6/10

A solid test for Alpine if nothing more.

The team saw Fernando Alonso returning to an F1 car and immediately looking at home - something not surprising but nevertheless impressive from the two-time world champion.

They clocked up just shy of 400 laps across the weekend and their ability to rack up long runs without any real reliability problems will give them a good basis on which to build between now and the rest of the season.

Aston Martin - 5/10

There was naturally a lot of hype around Aston Martin's name returning to the grid as they took over from Racing Point but it proved to be a fairly tough weekend - only Mercedes recorded fewer laps than them.

Several issues struck the green machines with gearbox, turbo and electrical issues all blighting the Aston's weekend as they sought to make a statement.

It was tough for Sebastian Vettel, too, who clocked up the lowest amount of laps of any driver over the weekend - though he cut a relatively positive figure when it came to his hopes for the coming season.

Ferrari - 6/10

Solid but unspectacular for the Scuderia.

The car certainly looks a step on from the 2020 model - though it would have been a real concern if there hadn't been much progression after what was a tough season last year.

The new, widely discussed, Ferrari power unit appeared to offer them more speed and reliability over the course of the test and clocking up over 400 laps with a sub-1:30 lap time at the end of the weekend will at least give some cause for optimism.

Haas - 5/10

Haas showed decent reliability but were the slowest across the three days and, though testing is only a rough guide, it does seem fair to assume they will be the back-markers in 2021.

Haas has opted to limit developments this year and focus more on 2022 and, though we saw a few new parts running over the weekend, we shouldn't expect much in-season development.

After a brief hydraulics issue for Mick Schumacher early on in the test, the car ran consistently so that's good news in its own right, it's just hard to see how they become much faster than they are at the moment.

McLaren - 8/10

McLaren will be pretty pleased with how testing went, without a doubt.

A new Mercedes power unit has come into the car after replacing a Renault one and any idea of that causing a few teething problems was quickly dismissed with some really solid running from the papaya-clad team.

The car looks quick and stable in the hands of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo and many suspect there's a real optimism within the team that they can regularly challenge for podiums this year.

Mercedes - 4/10

It was a very tough weekend for the reigning champions.

A gearbox problem on Friday limited running badly before stability problems reared their head with Lewis Hamilton twice spinning over the course of the weekend.

They managed the fewest laps of any team with low-fuel runs causing a bit of concern in terms of where they expected lap times to be.

You'd be silly to write the champions off on the back of this, of course, and some suspect they've got plenty to add to the car to unlock more performance for the season itself but, even so, a frustrating few days for the team.

Red Bull - 10/10

Whilst Mercedes struggled, Red Bull excelled.

Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez looked at home quickly behind the RB16B which, in fairness, looked bolted to the Sakhir circuit such was its grip and levels of stability.

It looks fast, too, with the new-improved Honda power unit helping Verstappen record the fastest time across the weekend.

It ran well, it ran quick and it looked a joy to drive - they'll be very happy with how it all went with them claiming it was their 'best ever' test in F1.

Williams - 6/10

Many want to see Williams beginning to get back into the midfield fight this season and the test was solid enough for them.

They recorded over 370 laps which, compared to some recent test years, was a decent achievement.

George Russell showed some solid pace - though he tempered expectations by saying he wasn't sandbagging on his fastest run of the weekend.

The car looked a little unstable in the windy conditions at Sakhir but there is hope that, at tracks that present less of a challenge in that regard, the Williams might be able to compete for points.

Massive strides no, but decent reliability with hopes there's further performance to be attained.

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