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What each team needs from pre-season testing

-- Archived from 01/02/2021 --

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Mercedes
Mercedes are aiming for that eighth title in a row, but to do that I think they’re gonna need their record-breaking driver in Lewis Hamilton. So first things first, get him signed. If that doesn’t happen, it’s a bit of a disaster - Mercedes need him more than he needs them right now. They’ll also have a big challenge on their hands from Red Bull if Checo is up to scratch, so they’ll be looking to Valterri to be putting in massive amounts of laps, and working on his consistency, as his qualifying is mostly good enough for the team.
Goal: Most laps of all teams

Red Bull
The Bulls have had some serious issues with second drivers in recent years, but with Vips and Tsunoda looking stunning in their driver academy, and Sergio Perez stepping up, they’ll be looking to see if they can challenge at the top. Toyoharu Tanabe, director of Honda F1, wants to aim for the title, and so they’ll have big goals to match the Mercs on pace and distance. With testing at Bahrain, it’ll be a very good litmus test as to whether the new engines are up to the job. 
Goal: Verstappen and Perez faster than Bottas

Mclaren
Mclaren aren’t going to step up to the standard of the Class A teams this year, although I think they can keep closing the gap this year. They’ll be looking behind as Ferrari try to come back and Aston Martin keep pouring in the big bucks. With a new engine deal with Mercedes, they will be looking to use the time as best as they can to bring the whole package together. Of course it will be a great opportunity for us as fans to see how Lando and Daniel can get on. The ‘bromance’ is maybe the media focus, but don’t forget they’re both there to make a name for themselves on track, not off it. 
Goal: Mix it up with Ferrari and Aston

Aston Martin
The new British team only expected to be in the sport with new regulations, but plans went awry and they’re in an unexpected spot. This may take the pressure off them. If I were Otmar Szafnauer, I’d be looking to make sure my car works for their newly-signed four-time world champion. If he ends up with the tail happy car he so struggled with last year, it might be a disastrous start for the British team, based at Silverstone. 
Goal: Vettel faster than Stroll

Alpine
The shock departure of Cyril Abiteboul a few weeks ago, and the introduction of MotoGP star team boss Davide Brivio must be the main talking point here. Renault never quite got to where they claimed they could, and it’ll be important for the renamed squad to make sure all of its parts are oiled and working appropriately. With Fernando returning to the team, and Esteban Ocon attempting to prove himself after a comeback to the sport last year, how the team dynamic works could very much set the tone for years to come. 
Goal: Both drivers in top 10

Ferrari
Mattia Binotto has been very upfront about what his team needs to achieve next year. Top 3 is the goal for the Italian marque, and to get to that point, they will need a far better engine than what they could drum up last year. Bahrain is the perfect place to pile on the pressure, so they’re going to have to impress there, or they’ll be bringing Binotto’s coffin out to race instead. 
Goal: Be quick in the speed traps

Alpha Tauri
Alpha Tauri have set their sights on becoming a sister team to Red Bull, rather than a B team, starting with a top 5 by 2022. A move to the Red Bull’s main wind tunnel is all we’ve really heard out of the Faenza-based team recently, so expectations aren’t too high, so I think there best plan is to work on getting their two young drivers as much experience as possible, and see if they can hang onto them by the end of the year. 
Goal: Stay 7th

Alfa Romeo
Alfa have their own driver academy now, but they’re still waiting on good drivers. Gio and Kimi are bringing in money, not lap times. The Alfa branding is also there for money, so it’s odd that they don’t seem to care much about marketing. They seem in trouble, and they need to make sponsors interested. Without the social media aspect they seem to be lacking, they need to show off on track.
Goal: As much TV time as possible

Haas
Haas are at a crossroads. Last year was their worst in the sport ever, and the signs aren’t looking great for them in the future. With a pay driver in one seat, and an improving Williams hunting them down, they need Schumacher to build for the future. On top of that though, is race pace, which was their biggest issue last year. They should aim to improve reliability, pit stop timings, and make sure they have a good team to move forward with into 2022. As an added kicker, they won’t get to start engines until the day of the first test.
Goal: Run race-length stints without any major issues

Williams
The bottom team on the grid at the moment have a job to do to improve. Perhaps 2021 shouldn’t be their goal, but they need to make sure they have a strong car for the year after, as there’s a very good chance the talented George Russell will be leaving by then, one way or the other. Latifi isn’t going to pull them into the midfield, and rumour has it that they wanted to hire Magnussen, but he wasn’t happy to take the downgrade. With new Mercedes parts and more investment from owners, they need to look to beat the Ferrari-powered cars.
Goal: Russell leads Class C cars
 

 

-- Archived from 01/02/2021 --

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