F1 Pre-Season Testing Revealed… We Know That We Know Nothing
“I know that I know nothing” is widely known as the Socratic paradox, attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. This philosophy can also be applied to the 2021 Formula One pre-season testing campaign. The three-day event was held last week at the Bahrain International Circuit. And what it revealed was that we all know that we know nothing. But we do know that the fastest lap time was two seconds off the ultimate lap record. Which indicates we know that we know nothing. Actually, the lap times do reveal most teams are not interested in setting the timing charts alight. Possibly to preserve the longevity of the engines which are limited to three for the entire season. Using basic common sense we can extrapolate that the days of setting benchmark, headline-grabbing, sponsor-pleasing lap times are gone.
That is why many in the paddock opted for reduced stress testing of power units. We know that Mercedes suffered a number of technical setbacks which limited precious running time. It’s to be expected in testing, better to emerge now than later. We also know Mercedes struggled with balancing and handling issues and that alone will have season-long implications. We also know that Red Bull had a trouble-free test campaign and is emerging as early championship favorites. However, because lap times were two seconds off the pace we still know that we know nothing.
And what of Ferrari? we know that we know nothing about the cover-up and denial deal with the FIA. Can Ferrari find form? or will they continue to exist in the wilderness of the mid-field? McLaren has switched to Mercedes power and looked strong particularly with a driver pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. Based purely on paddock speculation, we can assume Mercedes and Red Bull appear to be heading for a battle royale. Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin (nee Racing Point) will fight among themselves.
However, we can not really be sure because pre-season testing revealed nothing conclusive. It could well be that Mercedes end up flooring the opposition at the opening race. But as we said before, we are certain we know that we know nothing.