Date: 12th March 2018 at 11:35am
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Formula One winter testing is now all wrapped up.

After 8 days of testing in Barcelona, everyone in the paddock is now trying to guess how well everyone has done, who are the main contenders and who could be struggling.

2017 proved to be a disappointing year for Ferrari, but the very reason for that disappointment should be their biggest motivation for 2018.

After so many seasons of being adrift of Mercedes, Ferrari finally stepped up to challenge during the first half of the season.

Sebastian Vettel led a title challenge, right up until Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes stepped it up a notch and neither Vettel or Ferrari had an answer.

Ferrari will hope that in 2018 not only can they have a strong start, but maintain their challenge throughout the season.

Ferrari completed 929 laps over the course of the 8 days of testing. Only Mercedes, who are well known for clocking up impressive mileage in winter testing completed more.

That number of laps equates roughly to around 2,687 miles. Considering an average Grand Prix is in the region of 190 miles, Ferrari completed the equivalent of 14 races over the course of the 8 days.

But whilst they didn’t top the mileage charts, they did top the timing sheets.

Four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of all on day seven.

His time of 1minute 17.182s on the hypersofts was not only the quickest of winter testing, but it also set an unofficial lap record for the Barcelona track.

It was also a 1.3seconds fastest then any time Mercedes could record.

But, once you look away from the times and statistics, many in the paddock believe Ferrari are not looking strong at all.

The car suffers from plumes of smoke filling the garage every time the car is fired up, smoke trails continue when the car then exits the garage to drive down the pitlane.

Mercedes also did not set any low fuel laps or set any times on the faster compound tyres.

Once times are adjusted to factor in those observations [not an exact science], its not clear if Ferrari have managed to close the gap at all.

?I?m sure if we want to go faster, we can, but it doesn?t mean anything here.

?In two weeks everybody will know where everybody is. Until then, we are only guessing, like we were before testing started.?
Raikkonen told

?I think overall it?s a strong package. Obviously, there are always things to improve, and that?s normal with any car, even if you win races.

Vettel added: ?I guess you always wishing for a bit more here and there, doing laps and trying things, but it doesn?t matter how many laps you do, you always wonder,?