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Horner gives his take on F1's current pecking order

On the final day of F1's 2022 pre-season testing, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner thinks it's still impossible to predict the form book for the year ahead, but picked out several teams as potential contenders.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says it's impossible to predict which team will be on top at next week's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. With teams running different tyre compounds, fuel loads and engine modes as they go through a range of programmes, pre-season testing is a notoriously inconsistent barometer of outright competitiveness. However, Horner did namecheck a few teams that had caught his eye on track in Sakhir. "I think the one consistent thing you see is every time the Ferrari is on track, it looks competitive," Horner told F1 TV . "The McLaren, when it's running, [also] looks competitive. Mercedes, I think, haven't shown their hand yet, and the car looks a bit of a handful to drive. "But then there's surprises, like the Williams pace on the long run looks quite competitive, so the form book is impossible to predict."

F1 pre-season no guarantee of success

Red Bull came into the 2021 season strongly, and Max Verstappen ultimately won out over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in the battle for that year's Drivers' title. However, despite appearing to be the class of the field in pre-season testing, Red Bull lost out to Mercedes in the first race of 2021. "We were pretty happy [in testing] last year, and then Mercedes came back at the first race and won it and were very competitive, so it just goes to show that testing is testing," noted Horner. "There's no points for the six days of testing, they start in a week's time [at the Bahrain Grand Prix] and I think, especially with these new regulations, it's very, very difficult to predict."

Horner says F1's new cars are like "boats"

Horner also touched on how the different dimensions of the 2022 cars would affect their driveability and outright pace. "These cars are massive, like boats," he commented. "They're 50 kilos heavier than last year – they're bigger, they're longer. "In high-speed corners, they're as quick, if not a little quicker [than the 2021 cars], so those low-speed corners is where the big difference is, and there's actually more time in a low-speed corner than there is in a high-speed corner. "So, of course, they're having to adapt to learn the characteristics of these cars, but it's amazing how quickly these drivers can adapt."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Free Practice 3