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Mercedes heading for 'big, big upgrades' in Bahrain while Ferrari hold back

Mercedes are expecting to bring plenty of upgrades to the second week of F1 testing in Bahrain, which is set to get underway on 10 March.

Hamilton Barcelona wet
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes are tipped to be bringing "big, big upgrades" to next week's second Formula 1 test in Bahrain, with Ferrari expected to run the same car that they did in Barcelona.

F1 action will return to television screens on 10 March for the official pre-season test ahead of the 2022 campaign, set to be staged at the Bahrain International Circuit.

That venue is where the season's competitive action will begin just nine days later, when cars take to the track for qualifying on 19 March.

That is when fans will get their first true indication of which teams have best managed to tackle the sport's new regulations and succeeded in clawing back the most downforce.

Cars across the grid are expected to bring changes to Bahrain, but few more than Mercedes which, according to Tom Clarkson, the host of F1's official podcasts, have plenty planned.

"We're getting a big, big upgrade for Bahrain from Mercedes, so it's gonna be different," said Clarkson, speaking on the F1 Nation podcast.

"Ferrari believe it's more of a B spec car, a bit like they did back in 2019 when they turned up with a very basic car for the first test and then an almost completely new car for test two.

"Ferrari are expecting Mercedes to be doing that again this year."

Ferrari are heading down a different route in Bahrain

While Mercedes are tipped to bring almost an entirely new car to Bahrain, Ferrari are set to run the same as they did in Barcelona, with minimal tweaks.

Their F1-75 appeared fast and reliable at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, even though the team claim they were on "high fuel" and "not [in] the best engine mode".

But Ferrari are confident they will continue to grow over the final three days of testing by focusing on improving the car they learned so much about in Spain.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said: "I think that the first step for us will be to optimise what we have.

"We are still far from the best performance, not only because we are running high fuel and not the best engine mode, but simply because there is a lot to exploit more from the car itself.

"Let's wait, let's see what the others will bring.

"Certainly as Ferrari we are always concerned on upgrades of our competitors. And I'm pretty sure they will be very, very strong by then."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: All you need to know after the first pre-season test

At the end of the first pre-season test of 2022 in Barcelona, Dieter Rencken and Thomas Maher discuss the on- and off-track developments so far.


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