‘It’s great news for Spain’: Alonso tips Sainz and Ferrari to have championship run in 2022

Fernando Alonso has tipped Ferrari to be the quickest team in 2022 after three days of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso believes that his former Ferrari team have put together the best package ahead of the 2022 season.

All 10 teams headed over to Spain to complete three days of pre-season testing last week, and Ferrari notched up 438 laps between Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in a promising week, as they seek to get back to winning ways for the first time since 2019.

Alonso, who claimed 11 wins in five seasons at the Scuderia, has echoed George Russell’s thoughts that they look particularly competitive going into the new campaign, which he sees as “great news” for compatriot and friend Sainz.

“Ferrari seems to be the fastest car, which is surely a surprise. For Carlos it’s great news and for Spain in general,” he told TVE.

However, he disagrees with Russell and indeed his team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton in their indications that Mercedes have fallen behind, saying “Mercedes has also turned [out] fast.”

Ferrari and McLaren in particular will have spent a significant amount of last season preparing for this year while Mercedes and Red Bull piled their resources into the 2021 title battle, and the Maranello squad installed a new engine into the car at last year’s Russian Grand Prix, helping Sainz to two podiums and points in every race between then and the end of the season.

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn was in charge of the Honda team when McLaren and Ferrari themselves were locked into a fierce battle for the titles in 2008 and, when Honda folded and became the Brawn team, the new regulations introduced in 2009 saw the previous year’s title protagonists fall down the order, while Brawn and Jenson Button took both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships respectively.

Brawn GP then became Mercedes in 2010 and, as the Brackley-based team ploughed their efforts into their constructors’ efforts and Hamilton’s pursuit of the drivers’ title in 2021 against Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the tables have turned and McLaren and Ferrari are now the ones who could take advantage of a major rule change.

Brawn believes that the new technical regulations in 2022 could be of detriment to last year’s top dogs, but admits he does not believe it will have a tremendously high impact – at least not to the extent of 2009.

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“Mercedes and Red Bull could be impacted,” he stated.

“Last year, human resources were devoted to fighting a very intense world championship. Some of the teams further back didn’t have that consideration.

“If I had been Ferrari or McLaren in the very early part of last year, I would have put everything into the 2022 car.

“That is what happened in 2009. The year before there was a big battle between Ferrari and McLaren and they fell flat on their faces. I don’t think it will be that severe but is a good point.”

The teams will head to Bahrain for the second test between 10-12 March, before contesting the first race of the season at the Sakhir International Circuit a week later.