No…seriously, Ferrari made a big step but McLaren left hoping

As the second test of the winter season continues today, the inevitable questions we had about performance gains from the firs test still linger on. Who made significant performance advances for 2015? Who has made the most of the off-season engine development and who, ultimately, will be the fastest in a few week’s time in Australia for the first race of the season?

If you listen to Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg, then you might be inclined to think that Ferrari’s performance in the first test of 2015 may not be just a one off or due to Mercedes having sandbagged the session. Rosberg said:

“The lap times are surprising to us and it seems Ferrari has made the biggest step at the moment.”

Rosberg says Mercedes are clearly concerned over Ferrari’s new pace for 2015 so far and consider them a threat. The sentiment is perhaps echoed by Ferrari driver and mono-sylabic media monk Kimi Raikkonen who said:

“There is a good atmosphere,” the Finn told reporters. “We’ve done a good job over the winter and I think we’re going in the right direction in all areas.

“Obviously it’s still early days but so far it’s not too bad and it’s enjoyable.

“We do our own stuff and we’ve been pretty happy with how things have gone.”

I think the easy-going Sebastian Vettel and scorched earth management policy recently engaged by Ferrari have made a lot of things different this year.

This also leaves us considering McLaren’s current situation as it faced a shotgun wedding between their 2015 chassis and their new Honda engine. How is it going? Not as well as the team would have liked and new driver and 2-time world cham, Fernando Alonso, says they may not be ready for primetime in Australia:

“We will arrive to Australia hoping Australia was in June or July, but it’s in March and I don’t know if we will arrive completely ready,” Alonso said.

“But what I’m sure is we’ll arrive in the best conditions we can.

“There are only six days of testing between now and Australia, so it’s time for us to raise our game and start learning about the car.

“Today we had some new parts and re-enforced parts for the problems we had; tomorrow there are more coming.

“There is only 20 days to Australia; we’ll see how prepared we arrive, but I’m happy with the progress we made.”

Not a fun story to be telling but the upside is that he sees lots of potential and that ought to be enough of a proverbial carrot to keep the boffins in Woking noodling away at the details. Hope, however, isn’t a very good game plan in racing.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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