McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa says he has been surprised that the pace of this year's cars compares favourably with last year's models.
De la Rosa has been testing McLaren's 2009 MP4-24 at the Algarve circuit this past week, finishing his two days of action in second place behind a 2008 car that was driven by Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi.
And although the Spaniard failed to match Buemi's lap times by a few seconds, he reckons this year's cars, which feature new aero packages and slick tyres, can match the pace of their predecessors.
"I'm surprised how little difference the slick tyres and the aero package have made," de la Rosa told Autosport.
"The car has more grip at low speed, so we are definitely gaining time, but then losing a little bit in the high speed corners.
"I think that the lap times will be very similar. What you lose on the high-speed corners you get back on the low-speed corners.
"The car has a little bit more grip at the front end generally and it is very responsive to steering.
"You have to put everything together - if you put these tyres onto last year's car, we would be three seconds a lap faster."
Source : Planet F1