Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Gasly leads Ferrari pair at end of first day in Bahrain

2022 F1 season

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Pierre Gasly put AlphaTauri at the top of the times at the end of the first day of the final pre-season test in Bahrain.

Gasly made use of the C5 tyres, the softest compound available, to set a 1’33.902 – the fastest time of the day. Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc were second and third fastest, respectively, in the Ferrari F1-75.

The day came to a slightly early end with just under 10 minutes remaining after Sergio Perez spun his Red Bull at turn eight. The incident occured during a scheduled Virtual Safety Car period. Having lost control of his car, Perez backed his car into the gravel trap and was unable to continue. The session was red flagged and not restarted before time expired.

After Leclerc set the morning pace in the Ferrari, Sainz was left waiting for the first hour of the afternon as the team worked on the F1-75. He eventually joined the circuit and covered 52 laps in total during the second session to add to Leclerc’s 64 from the morning.

There was an early red flag in the opening hour of the afternoon when the aero rakes on Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin AMR22 collapsed on the rear of the car, littering the back straight with debris. Stroll was able to recover the car to the pits where he was

George Russell took over from team mate Lewis Hamilton in the radically reconfigured Mercedes W13 with its striking ‘sidepod-less’ design. The newcomer to the team for 2022 pressed on in a car which was visibly porpoising down the main straight. However, Russell reported that the bouncing was “not as severe” as he had previously experienced.

Lando Norris had stepped into the McLaren MCL36 at short notice on the morning of the test after team mate Daniel Ricciardo was struck down with an illness. Despite running in both sessions, Norris was only able to cover 50 laps in total after struggling with apparent braking problems during the day.

As the sun set and the cars began to run under the lights, Gasly used the C5 tyres to set his quickest time of the day and the fastest time overall. Sainz improved with the C3 tyres to go faster than team mate Leclerc, but was just under half a second slower than Gasly’s overall fastest time.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Fernando Alonso in the Alpine A522, who was only able to manage 24 laps – the fewest of any of the 15 drivers who participated. When he did get out on the track, Alonso found time to spar with Stroll’s Aston Martin as the pair engaged in an impromptu battle from the main straight all the way through the first sector.

Haas had been unable to participate in the opening session due to delays caused by a late freight arrival, but test driver Pietro Fittipaldi did manage to get 47 laps in the VF-22. He will hand over the car to the returning Kevin Magnussen tomorrow, while the team will be given the opportunity to extend the final two days’ running by two hours to make up for the four hours they lost in this morning’s session.

2022 Formula 1 pre-season testing day four times:

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauriAT031’33.902103
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’34.3590.45752
316Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’34.5310.62964
418Lance StrollAston MartinAMR221’34.7360.83450
523Alexander AlbonWilliamsFW441’35.0701.168104
64Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL361’35.3561.45450
777Valtteri BottasAlfa RomeoC421’35.4951.59366
85Sebastian VettelAston MartinAMR221’35.7061.80439
963George RussellMercedesW131’35.9412.03960
1011Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’35.9772.075138
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’36.3652.46362
1214Fernando AlonsoAlpineA5221’36.7452.84324
1331Esteban OconAlpineA5221’36.7682.86642
1424Guanyu ZhouAlfa RomeoC421’37.1643.26254
15Pietro FittipaldiHaasVF-221’37.4223.52047

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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27 comments on “Gasly leads Ferrari pair at end of first day in Bahrain”

  1. I’m pretty sure Mercedes were sandbagging. They were running most of the time with the flow measurement device.
    I’m not expecting a blistering time from Mercedes until Qualifyng in Bahrain.

    1. @luigismen Definitely, although nothing new in this regard.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      10th March 2022, 17:20

      It’s not sandbagging – it’s just working on things other than outright pace. Every driver and team can go a lot quicker than they have today.

      1. …and deliberately not showing their full pace == sandbagging

    3. Pretty sure Mercedes were just taking things easy, doing a fixed program to compare track data against wind tunnel and CFD. Wait until the last day, that is when they will turn it on and show what the real pace of their car is

    4. I think you have already answered the question. It’s not about sandbagging but aerodynamic tests must be carried on steady speeds.

    5. Today seemed to be about engine temperature and correlation– they even did a run with the engine vents covered. In Bahrain. In the middle of the day.

      Better cooling, less drag, probably a few kilos of body-weight less… This car has the potential to be scary.

      They’ve gotta fix the porpoising, though. Looked kinda brutal under braking at the ends of the straights.

      1. There’s a lot of unfinished wrk on the merc. The rather primitive way to fix the floor and avoid flexing looks like a temperary measure.
        Jumping from the a spec to the b spec shows a lot of questions.
        The fact this version has an extreme porpoising shows its pre development stage compared with the other teams.
        For now an interesting step.

        1. Is not a primitive way to fix the floor it’s the same as everyone else does it, there’s is just more visible due to the lack of sidepods.

          Mercedes and other teams confirmed this very thing.

  2. I have to say that having watched todays running & i’m not talking aesthetically here but I just don’t think these cars look especially good out on track.

    In fast corners they look fine but in slower corners the size, weight as well as the way ground effects work at low speeds just make the cars look really slow & cumbersome. I think it’s going to be painful to watch some of the slower speed circuits & sections of circuits this year as the cars are just going to look awful at those speeds.

    Martin Brundle also said something in commentary today about how bad the cars look at slow speeds when standing trackside but it’s not really much better on TV.

    I also think the stiffness of the cars making them bounce around so much also looks really dumb & when they start to porpoise it just looks even worse. I was watching some of the races from the early 1980’s that are available on F1TV recently & it was the same with those ground effect cars, They just bounce around in a really extreme way that I think looks really silly.

    1. @PeterG Admittedly, I share similar sentiments.
      Most notably, Monaco, Singapore, Mexico, & Baku, besides straights, will be painful.

    2. Get rid of the slow corners then!

    3. Lowes Hairpin.

      Not gonna be pretty.

    4. The Mercedes onboard looks like a proper wide boy compared to the rest of the field, the carbon fibre part of the floor has so much volume. From the outside, people often talk about a coke bottle shape, the Merc looks like a squashed 2 litre bottle shape. And I call those mudguards wheel guards, I think the cars would look better without them and I’d love to hear the proper reasoning as to why they’re there.

  3. A good day for sidepods.
    Not sure I like the precedent of extra time being granted. I bet the marshals are delighted…

    1. The extra time is fair, it was F1’s vendor who was at fault and it could have been any team that had their car and equipment on that plane. Happened to Haas. Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t been an issue before when there are back to back races.

    2. It was voted on, and it’s about as fair as they could be. An extra session on Sunday would be expensive, whereas keeping the lights on and the track running for an extra hour or two a night isn’t as bad.

      It’s not like HRT in 2010 that showed up with non-running cars that spent the weekend in the garage.

      Or USF1 that forgot to show up at all.

  4. RocketTankski
    10th March 2022, 17:32

    Ah that’s the bloomin’ championship over then. Gasly winning everything. So boring! Might as well not bother :-D

  5. Martin Brundle correctly identified that the drivers were struggling to unlock tyres that had locked up under braking. This makes engineering sense, as I’ll try to explain.

    A whell/tyre’s ‘rotational weight’, technically termed its mass moment of inertia, is what resists a given torque from accelerating its rotational speed. It is proportional to its mass x radius x radius. So mr^2. The tyre’s raidus is 9% larger this year, so supposing the tyre/wheel is a perfectly homogenous solid material (i.e. with no space for air), the mass moment of inertia would be 19% larger.

    The good news is that the torque produced by the tarmac sliding below a locked tyre has 9% greater radius, which at first glance seems to cancel out the moment of inertia’s squaring of the radius. So for the above simplified model of the wheel/tyre, it initialy appears that it is 9% more difficult to unlock and spin back up a locked tyre.

    However, when an object is not a homogenous solid, the mr^2 calculation is done by breaking down all of an object’s tiny parts according to their individual mass and their radiusus of their centres of gravity from the rotattoinal axis, and adding them all together. The 2022 front brake discs are 19% larger radius, resulting in 41% more inertia, and the wheels are 38% larger radius, yielding 92% more inertia.

    I don’t know how heavy the tyre, wheel and brake disc are relative to each other, but when their inertias are added together, I’d estimate tha assembly has roughly 50% more inertia due to its size increase.

    But my analysis forgot to account for the whole assembly being much heavier, as it’s bigger. Its mass would generally tend to increase to the square of radius, so if we assume it’s 45% heavier, that makes the total rotational inertia about 118% greater.

    So given the tarmac’s dragging force having 9% more leverage, I conclude that this year it is about twice as difficult to get a tyre spinning back up after it’s been locked up.

    I wonder whether this was why George Russell kept on running wide at turn 8. He’s a smart chap, so was probably teaching himself how much more you need to ease off the brake to recover the situation.

    I hope Pirelli’s tyres are more robust, or else the drivers will have to leave a bit more margin to avoid locking up, as they’ll damage the tyre more as well as running wider.

  6. I’m not still sold on the legality of Mercedes’ sidepots. I mean, do we know whether the crash structure can be literally just the bare bone with no other protection on the side of the driver? If there’s a heavy side impact in the part of the car where the crash structure isn’t sticking out, isn’t the cockpit practically unprotected?

    1. @pironitheprovocateur I have had similar thoughts although I do think their side pods are likely legal, as I’m sure it is as TW has said and indeed FIA has ok’d them throughout the process. Still, it just looks like the drivers are very exposed. That was my very first thought.

    2. This is a good point. The “crash structure” is only protecting from an impact that is focussed on a very small area.

      Having said that, the likelihood is that all the other designs have very little substance to the bodywork that surrounds the crash structure, so the real-life difference in protection will be minimal. It’s a matter of perception.

      Would I rather drive a road car with a wraparound plastic bumper, or one with only a couple of deformable posts that are aligned with the impact zones of the EuroNCAP tests?

    3. Quick approach a team for a job, you are clearly far more knowledgeable than the Merc engineers and FIA who they submitted all their designs to to be checked. Ross Brawn too.

  7. After seeing the cars on shorter and longer runs today, the picture of the competitive order is getting a little clearer.

    Aston Martin and Williams aren’t looking good at all. Neither on longer runs nor on shorter runs their cars showed particularly good pace. Williams suffered from high tyre wear during their race sim today.
    The RB looked solid on Pérez’ race sim today, but nothing more. In terms of consistency it didn’t look too bad, but his lap times, especially during the first stint looked rather slow (or the times are generally much slower with these cars). Let’s see what Verstappen can do with that car, as he’s the real benchmark.

    Mercedes and Ferrari were fast in two contrasting ways. While the Ferrari seems to have a lot of raw pace (especially at the start of a longer run), it had more trouble with tyre wear than the Mercedes. On Sainz’s 10-lap long run on the C3 in the evening, he started very fast, but gradually lost time over his stint, lapping about 1.5 sec slower on his final lap compared to his opening lap. Russell’s 10-lap long run on the C3 was overall slower (with 7-10 kph slower top speeds on every straight compared to Sainz), but more consistent (especially in S2). The Mercedes only lost about 0.7 sec from his first to last lap.

    As for the rest, Alpha Tauri look quite solid. Putting Gasly’s quick laps aside (shorter runs than Ferrari, higher top speeds, softer tyres), his longer runs looked decent. Not in Ferrari or Mercedes territory, but still not too shabby.
    Alfa and Haas didn’t look too bad either. The Alfa seems to have a little trouble with high tyre wear over a longer run, but the raw pace seems promising. Haas were definitely running a lot of fuel today, because their times and speeds through S2 (T12 in particular) were quite a bit down on the rest. I expect a big jump in performance from the car when Mick Schumacher takes over.
    McLaren and Alpine are very hard to judge after today’s running. There were flashes of performance from both cars, but they didn’t put in many consecutive laps on their runs to draw any kind of conclusion from that. Though I have more faith in McLaren than I do in Alpine. Hopefully they do more laps tomorrow.

    1. @srga91 Someone who missed the first day of testing that gave a good picture what happened and what we can maybe expect if this is the case.

  8. F1 drivers always complain about not being able to see anything in their mirrors, most often when they’re involved in an incident by a car coming behind them about to overtake. Why has F1 never put a dual camera (one in front as normal and one on the back) and then put a video indicator on the steering wheel? There is the technology and it would make the fighting far more interesting, Verstappen would love it!

  9. Looks a lot like last year. Ferrari are definitely not looking good.

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