It is still more than two weeks before the 2017 Formula 1 season commences but talks of old and new rivalries have already started to surface. The most exciting of these is the rivalry between Ferrari and Mercedes. Recent reports claim that Mercedes drivers have been warned about the threat Ferrari poses to their dominance.
Ferrari has kept the liveries to a silent minimum during the launch of the team's new SF70-H racing car. However, the same cannot be said during the pre-season lap tests at Barcelona last week. Many observers, including those from rival teams, have noticed that the Ferrari SF70-H is fast and very reliable.
Ferrari's threat is no longer a new issue to close rival Mercedes. In fact, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas have acknowledged this in a statement saying, "I think Ferrari are looking very good - they seem to be consistent and fast."
Mercedes lead driver Lewis Hamilton appears to concur with his teammate in a statement acquired by Planet F1, "I think Ferrari must be the favorites. I think we can't take our eyes off them because they have been doing such a great job at the moment."
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) March 8, 2017
Mercedes' alarm towards Ferrari's dominance on the grid seems to be unfounded if the lap times are to be considered. After six days of test laps, Bottas posted the fastest lap followed by Felipe Massa of Williams team, according to Sky Sports. Ferrari drivers' Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen took the fourth and fifth spot, respectively.
It is important to note that F1 testing times are extremely unreliable when it comes to projecting real world performances. Nevertheless, the respect Ferrari got from close rival Mercedes is enough to spark speculations of how good the team really is.
The 2017 Formula One season will kick off on March 26 at Australia. The Australian Grand Prix will be followed by the Chinese Grand Prix on April 9.