As pre-season testing in Barcelona finished last week there seemed to be some troubled faces down the pit lane.
Ferrari look to be in trouble with a possible disastrous year in sight, looking at their times from the last two weeks they do seem to be lacking in pure grip. Exhaust blown diffusers banned this year will surely be hurting Ferrari.
Stefano Domenicali looks worried with Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo wanting results from the season opener. Fernando Alonso has the pace when given the right machinery but with his team mate Felipe Massa questions surely will be asked if he doesn’t deliver this year. Its not happened for a few years but Ferrari have got away with getting rid of drivers half way through the year and surely with Karun Chandhok in the sidelines he would be my bet.
Looking at the times from the testing, the Ferrari can put in a quick lap some 0.3 seconds quicker than the field, but there is no consistency - the times drop off either losing time on exit of the corner or on long runs. Ferrari don’t seem to know why.
My predictions for Australia are that Ferrari will qualify well but will have no race pace.
As for the rest of the field it looks pretty close - Mercedes, Mclaren, Redbull and even Force India look to be in good shape.
I think the star of the show will be Kimi Raikkonen 3 years away from the sport and has been magic on and off the track; we will be in for some fantastic races from him.
As I mentioned Red Bull looked like they were doing respectable times but they are known to be purposely off the pace in testing. Free practice is when they need to show their pace and then in qualifying in Melbourne they will deliver and blow the field away.
McLaren looks like a good car. They opted for a lower chassis than the more ugly nose that a lot of the teams have gone for. Jenson Button clearly out raced Lewis Hamilton last year. With Lewis now living in Monaco instead of Switzerland, I hope he will keep his head on the driving.
In a nutshell we will see some good close racing. Ferrari are still a concern and a bit of the unknown at the moment, but when the lights go out in Melbourne we will see who is quickest.