It is still early days and the first test is never a benchmark for the season but we can assume a few things as always with this test. In an historic season which will see 6 World Champions on the track with the comeback of Kimi Räikkönen, the season on paper looks to be the most exciting season. 2007, 2008 and 2010 were the most exciting season in recent times while the dominance of Red Bull and Vettel was too much during the course of last season that even Mark Webber in a similar car to Vettel could just not match his pace.
This season the likes of Ferrari and McLaren have said that they will be challenging RBR right from the start while Mercedes & Lotus wants to challenge the big 3. So far based on the times, we can say that right now Red Bull once again has the car which everyone has to beat but then the difference between theirs and their challengers could not be determined and it is still early days. McLaren over the last few seasons despite not having the best of starts eventually catch up with speed towards the end of the season. This is good news for the team with regard to the development pace but then too many times the lead is just too much that the team realistically just cannot catch with the Championship team.
Ferrari is having a sense of Déjà vu of the early 90s’s as they once again do not have the pace to beat the best team but then they are better than the rest. Ferrari has promised something different for this season but unless they do something drastic in the next few weeks they will not be race winners during the 1st half of the season. The F2012 has problems and they need to be solved quickly. Lotus may not be able to do a Brawn but they do have a car which can consistently fight for podium finishes. Which is actually good news for the team where last season they were nearly caught by the Force India.
Mercedes may have topped the timing but it was with a 2011 car and the team needs to show that it has in it to fight the top 3 teams. This could be Schumacher’s last season and though a win may be very tough a few podium finishes could be good while Rosberg needs to show that he is actually a driver capable of a World Championship as given how he is in his career it could either go the Button way or the Heidfeld way!
Force India aspires to come 5th in the Championship and they certainly have the most existed driving pairing in recent times so if the car is good then they can challenge the likes of Lotus and Mercedes. But then the team does needs funds and given the current size they are punching well above their weight. They have new sponsors in Sahara who do have bucket loads of cash while with UB in a mess don’t expect too much from VJM this season.
Among the others STR looks most likely to finish ahead of Sauber who are short of funds while Williams now are quickly going down the original Team Lotus route. The team missed an opportunity to sign Kimi and even though they have Renault engines now, Williams are right at the bottom and they need to be careful as the likes of Caterham will be looking to beat them. Maurussia will have a car but HRT is one team which should not be allowed on the grid. The team’s flawed principle on how it views F1 is not a good thing for the sport. Would rather see David Richards and his Prodrive team or even ART GP instead of this team.