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Which team have Sky Sports F1 selected as their pre-season favourite?

After a hectic pre-season testing schedule in Barcelona and Bahrain, there's one standout team heading to the season opener, according to Sky Sports F1.

With Formula 1 gearing up for the 2022 season opener this weekend in Bahrain, the Sky Sports F1 crew have looked back over the six days of pre-season testing in Barcelona and Bahrain to pick out the team they believe are favourites. Having set the pace on the final day of testing in Bahrain, it's perhaps no surprise that it's Red Bull that caught the attention of Martin Brundle and Anthony Davidson. "Red Bull for me came away as the clear favourites," Brundle told the Sky Sports F1 website. The veteran commentator said that really only came about as Red Bull introduced a raft of upgrades on the final day in Bahrain, which propelled Max Verstappen to a time seven-tenths clear of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. "I have absolutely no doubts in my mind that the aero package on the Red Bull took a significant step forward [on Saturday]," said Brundle. "Red Bull have moved the game on in terms of raw pace, long-run pace. They've been smiling all day. I think the pieces they put on the car suddenly made the whole car look better." Davidson agreed with Brundle, saying: "They found something with the ride of the car and it looks very good."

Ferrari, not Mercedes, as Red Bull's nearest challengers

With Ferrari ending the test in second place, behind Verstappen, Brundle also picked out the Scuderia's F1-75 as being the closest challenger for Red Bull. "Red Bull have got a race on their hands with Ferrari," he said. "That's a frontrunner, that's a contender, no doubt about it." For now, neither Brundle nor Davidson believe that Mercedes have the capability to fight with either Red Bull or Ferrari at the head of the pack. "The [Mercedes] car looks a handful but who would you put in front of them?" said Brundle. "I'd go Mercedes [in third]. "Don't write them off Mercedes. I'm sure when they turn up - even in race one - they'll be quite a bit faster." Davidson said it might be a case of waiting for Mercedes to figure out their porpoising issues if they wish to join in the fight at the sharp end. "I still feel like there's more in it," Davidson commented. "But it just doesn't look good to drive and sparked by the bouncing issues they have."

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