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Mercedes predict key advantage Ferrari could hold in 2022

All 10 F1 teams will take to the track in Barcelona later this week, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff fearing that extra wind tunnel time during 2021 could hand Ferrari an advantage.

Toto Wolff fears that Ferrari could have an advantage of "a couple of tenths" over Mercedes and Red Bull in 2022 due to extra wind tunnel time. Pre-season testing will kick-start behind closed doors on Wednesday, 23 February, with all 10 teams expected to be putting their 2022 cars on track together for the first time. Mercedes will be looking to set to pace as they target a ninth consecutive Constructors' title for 2022, while Red Bull and Max Verstappen will be out to show they can once again cause their rivals problems. But last year's third-place finisher, Ferrari, may head into the new season with a slight advantage, says Mercedes boss Wolff.

Mercedes wary of Ferrari threat in 2022

Out of the title race early last season, Ferrari were able to scrap upgrades on their 2021 car to focus solely on getting a head start for 2022 by perfecting their new F1-75 in the wind tunnel at Maranello. With F1 operating a sliding scale for aerodynamic testing , which gives the worst-performing teams more wind tunnel time, Ferrari had plenty of runs at their disposal after dropping to sixth in the 2020 standings. "The ability of having more wind tunnel time is, of course, something that you need to bear in mind," said Wolff, speaking to members of the media that included RacingNews365.com . "The advantage of finishing sixth versus first over the course of the season is a couple of tenths – and then, of course, you need to catch up. "We are part of these regulations and I think it's good to create competition, and so we shall see wherever everyone is."

Wolff won't rule out a repeat of fairytale 2009 season

Mercedes remain the pre-testing favourites to clinch the Constructors' title for 2022, closely followed by Red Bull and Ferrari. McLaren and Alpine will both be hoping that they too have put together race-winning cars. But Wolff is not ruling out a 2009-style upset this season, when a Mercedes-powered Brawn GP made the most of a regulation change to turn an underperforming Honda team - that placed ninth the season prior - into a championship-winning operation. "I'm not discounting any teams," Wolff went on to comment. "Everyone could be high up in the standings at the beginning of the season, because we've seen it in 2009 with the double diffuser. "If a team has innovated and discovered opportunities that could be game changers, everyone can be ahead at the beginning."

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