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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

PF1's Team-By-Team Guide To Winter Testing; Part 1

The new season is just a few weeks away and so it's time to ask just who has been starring in winter testing and who has been flopping. The answers require a bit of guesswork - but that has never stopped PF1 before...

There's no credible evidence of a dramatic breakthrough to speak of despite the 'dream team' alliance of Adrian Newey and Geoff Willis but at least the RB4 has proved more reliable over the winter than its gremlin-friendly predecessor.

Nonetheless, they apparently remain adrift of the second-tier of Williams/Renault/BMW and that constitutes a grave disappointment.

What They're Saying: "I think that anyone who expects anything different than McLaren or Ferrari to be setting the pace at the beginning of the season, I would be extremely surprised. What's not clear for us at the moment is where we fit into that mix, with BMW and Toyota and Renault and all those guys. And it might not even be completely apparent in Melbourne because it's a particular track. But I think by the time we're gotten through the first three grands prix, in Melbourne, Malaysia and Bahrain, we'll have a very clear picture of who are the pacesetters and what the pecking order is down the field" - David Coulthard.

Threatening to keep pace with the mother team, Red Bull, without offering much of an impression on the rest of the grid. Still, if winter testing is any guide, the battle between the two Sebastians, Bourdais and Vettel, should be good fun to watch.

What They're Saying: "The testing we've done so far indicated we are around the middle part of the grid. This means two things, the first very positive and the second one needs to be verified: first of all we are already almost ready for the first race in Melbourne, but at the same time we must consider that our rivals will further improve in the meantime and this must keep us on our toes" - Team manager Massimo Rivola.

The winter's big improvers. The FW30 has frequently finished above Renault and BMW in the timesheets - although Nakajima's table-topping effort in Barcelona last week was courtesy of a near-empty fuel tank. The team is attempting to dampen down talk of a resurgence, especially after Nakajima suffered a front-wing failure in Spain, but it would be no surprise if Sir Frank's boys are the third-fastest outfit in Melbourne. And the great thing about Williams is that the certainty that, even after their recent travails, being third-fastest will still be regarded as failure.

What They're Saying:"The car is better and faster than last year's. But we can still see there is a good gap between Ferrari and ourselves, so we have got a lot of work to do" - Patrick Head.

Author: Pete Gill

Some pictures of the testing and practise in Jerez and Valencia!

pic 1: David Coulthard Red Bull R28 testing at Jerez (13-02-08)

pic 1: Mark Webber Red Bull R28 testing at Jerez (13-02-08)
pic 2: Mark Webber Red Bull R28 testing at Jerez (13-02-08)

pic 1: Nico Hülkenberg Williams FW30 Testing at Valencia (24-01-2008)
pic 2: Nico Hülkenberg Williams FW30 Testing at Valencia (24-01-2008)

pic 1: Nico Hülkenberg Williams FW30 Testing at Valencia (24-01-2008)
pic 2: Kazuki Nakajima Special Williams FW29 testing at Jerez (14-01-2008)

Source for pic: F1-Fansite

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