Pedro de le Rosa fears Ferrari could dominate 2019 season
Former Formula 1 driver and Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa says he fears the Italian team could enjoy such a performance advantage with their SF90 that they dominate in 2019.
Ferrari are odds on favourite to win the opening race of the season in Melbourne next weekend, with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton believing they hold a half second advantage if pre-season testing is anything to go by, despite posting a very similar laptime to Sebastian Vettel.
De la Rosa was hugely impressed by the SF90's performance after watching from trackside, but also noted how tight the field is overall.
"I leave the track very happy for several reasons," he told El Confidencial. "There is tremendous equality. I have never seen such a tight pre-season. Really, it's spectacular. The only team that is a little off the pace is Williams. The others are covered by a handkerchief.
"The speed with which I saw Ferrari in the first corner, when releasing the brakes, it's spectacular. The pace of this car is beastly.
"The most incredible thing is that it turns like that with so little front-wing. The wing of the Ferrari and the Alfa [Romeo] are tiny. It is so agile. The only thing I do not like about Ferrari is the matte colour," he joked.
"My only fear is that Ferrari dominates. I've seen how beastly it is in the corners. We could have another Mercedes, only we have changed colours."
The Spaniard, who has driven for several teams during his career including Jaguar, McLaren, BMW Sauber and HRT, was also impressed by the "very brave" designs in the midfield, some of which he believes are "more daring" than those of the leading teams.
"They have been very brave with their aerodynamic design, such as Alfa Romeo or Toro Rosso, they are quite daring compared to Mercedes, and even Red Bull. I leave this pre-season thinking that behind the first three, I dare not say who can be the fourth team. I've seen them all perform very well.
"Watch out for the Alfa Romeo. I really liked the stability in the middle of the corner, when they put gas on the car does not move. In Turn 7 I liked it very much. I really liked McLaren too. I'm happy because I saw a McLaren that has gone from less to more, with each passing day they were doing more and more race simulations and getting better."