Testing clarifies F1 pecking order: slow teams not as fast as faster teams, say experts

Ladbrokes: Following the completion of the brief but intense testing schedule held at various Spanish tracks last month, the relative performance differentials amongst the contenders for the 2010 F1 season have finally crystallised to the traditional sets of contenders and also-rans, writes our punditry correspondent, Chipston Sexwand.

Sessions at Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona saw all of the intended 2010 challengers, minus the tuppeny-haypenny-surely-this-is-a-joke entries of Campos and USF1, circulate the Iberian tracks100s of times, fine tuning their latest models in time for the season-opening race at Bahrain in just a few days’ time.

F1 teams have been busy plying their trade in Spain

And despite seemingly constant deluges of rain at all 3 venues, the gradual picture that emerged was unmistakable as drivers from the 11 functioning entrants strove to make their fastest times count during the sporadic moments of Iberian sunshine and subsequent dry track running.

“The pattern is now clear”, Scott Twat of Autosquat told those journalists not busy at the time listening to their own voices, “apart from Lotus and Virgin – who are shit – the Ferrari is very fast as is the Mclaren. The Sauber, the Mercedes, the Red Bull and – sometimes – the Torro Rosso, not to mention the Renault whilst other teams have also been quick. But clearly those teams are the fastest, unless somebody else is”, he added authoritatively.

As is usual with such contentious matters and given the nature of the audience however, plenty of other journalists disagreed vehemently.

“I disagree”, Matt Grot of rival magazine F1 Tugger squawked, contentiously. “whilst Lotus and Virgin are undeniably shit, I believe everyone else – with the exception of the slower cars – is fast, unless they were running with a lot of fuel in which case they were fast as well but in a disguised way”, he triumphantly concluded.

The disagreements illustrated how new fuel rules have played havoc with the normal process of smug number crunching and hopeless guessing masquerading as analysis with lap times varying amongst the same cars by several seconds; the difference between full and empty tanks now that the cars are no longer allowed to stop for fuel during the race.

Motorsports writers hone their latest analytical pieces

“The new rules have made our usual finger-in-the-air, lazy guesswork and partizan speculation much harder than usual”, Rolf Bang of Auto Clit mit Semf und ein Hartgecochtesei told us. “Before, a fast car was fast and a slow car was slow but now nobody knows nuzzink and vee are hence in danger of lookink like zer big dumkopf!” he said in a comedy German accent, before adding, “but Lotus and Virgin certainly look like der big Scheisskopfs”.

Yet despite such difficulties, it didn’t stop the assorted weekly and monthly specialist motorsport’s press editors from enforcing the traditional pre-season witless conjecture.

“There will definitely be winners and losers from all sides”, continued Scott to an emptying room, “you mark my words. The winner will have 2 arms and 2 legs, the car 4 wheels, painted in various colours interspersed with advertisements and powered by an internal combustion engine – make no mistake about it,” he conjectured.

“And in case I hadn’t mentioned it, Lotus and Virgin will definitely be utter shit”, he added.

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