The moment of truth

Formula 1 returns with the Bahrain tablet tests. Sainz launches the SF21 a day earlier and Alonso will pilot the Alpine from Saturday.

The-moment-of-truth

Maybe Hamilton has decided on the title in the summer, Mercedes is likely to win every race through the middle of the season again and it is feasible that neither Ferrari nor Alpine will frequent the podium this year as both would hope. But the winter of Formula 1 is the summer of football, there is hope because there are signings and the cars are new. More this year, when maximum equality is expected in the middle sector of the grid and it is hoped that two greats, Red Bull and Ferrari, will cut a few meters from the champion car, more pending the 2022 regulation.

Today the pre-season tests begin in Bahrain (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CET, 'DAZN F1'), intensive for three days. Sainz will return to the Ferrari SF21 on Friday afternoon, he already premiered it this Thursday during a filming day that AS witnessed from Sakhir's stands. Alonso will wait until Saturday to debut the Alpine A521. There is excitement and excitement in returning F1. And there are details to watch out for in all garages.

Mercedes

A Hamilton and Bottas are feared because if their team has found another loophole in the aerodynamic regulations, such as the 2020 DAS, the World Championship may be decided too quickly. The W12 did not show all its technical details in the presentation, they hid the flat bottom.

Red Bull

The only ones capable of challenging Mercedes? Checo Pérez is the new face. He is the second driver, all of Verstappen's teammates are, but his level is much higher than the Albon, Gasly or Kvyat who recently failed in the energy team. That may finally help them get closer to the Mercedes with the RB16B.

McLaren

A Mercedes engine in the hands of McLaren and Ricciardo should serve to consolidate the third position of manufacturers, although with nuances: they finished last season one step behind their direct rivals, with fewer podiums and without victories, and the economic situation in Woking is very delicate. Again, in the hands of its pilots.

Aston Martin

It sounds like a Mercedes, it moves like a Mercedes and it runs like a Mercedes, but it's green and it's called Aston Martin. In sight, this Thursday at Sakhir, Vettel and Stroll's car must be very close to the best. That could lead to Seb fighting for podiums, pole positions or victories after an ill-fated campaign, the last one he had at Ferrari, and it would be a pleasant surprise.Alpine

Alonso promises to take the car to the maximum position it offers. The Asturian returns to F1 at the age of 39, but very few in the paddock doubt his level as a driver. Renault made podiums, that should be enough to suddenly forget the Asturian's last races in the World Championship, with a McLaren that finished 2018 outside the top-15. In France they trust Ocon to get closer to the Asturian. The majority in the paddock predict that the two-time champion will be far, far superior.

Ferrari

Everything that is not improving and fighting for podiums frequently with Leclerc and Sainz will be bad news in Maranello, where they try to forget a regrettable 2020. The SF21 is the most revolutionized car of all that make up the grid, the approach of the designers has been aggressive, they had no other choice, and the engine is completely new. They bet on two young and strong swords that will want to mark their territory. The Madrid native gets the opportunity of a lifetime in his prime as a pilot.

The others

The Russian Haas, with Mick Schumacher and Mazepin, aims for the red lantern of the squad despite the media coverage of their rookies. Williams gives a test day to his tester Nissany (he actually buys it), at the expense of Russell and Latifi. At Alpha Tauri, Tsunoda, the first Japanese in F1 since 2014, makes his debut, alongside an established Gasly, whose future is increasingly outside of Red Bull. And Alfa Romeo hopes to get rid of the caboose with Raikkonen's last flashes in Formula 1, plus the work of Giovinazzi. Everything from today in Bahrain.



Photos from as.com
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