A stunned Felipe Massa has admitted that Ferrari are behind Brawn GP and that the rebranded Honda team are now the fastest car on the grid.
While it remains to be seen if Brawn GP will enjoy the reliability required to turn their incredible pace at the Barcelona test into race wins once the season starts, Massa has acknowledged that Ferrari are currently unable to keep up with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello regardless of fuel levels.
Asked point-blank if Ferrari could match the lap times that saw Brawn GP on top in Spain, Massa told the Formula1.com website: "No. And I think nobody can do.
"Many people were running on a low fuel load, not just them. I think their lap time is just much quicker than everybody else can do."
Brawn GP are currently running without the KERS device and one theory - perhaps made optimistically by teams shocked to find the Brawn GP car so fast straight out of the box - is that they may be running without ballast. Massa, though, believes that is unlikely.
"First of all I am not an engineer, secondly I never saw the Brawn car, so I cannot say if they have ballast or not. I believe they have because there's no point coming here and being quick and then going to the first race and being slow. But I would say that even if they have no ballast on board and they put ballast on in Melbourne they will be quick anyway. They are really surprising - and I can say for us, that if you take away the Brawn, we are very competitive."
There is, however, one consolation for Ferrari fans shocked to find the team apparently trumped by a car that has undergone just a handful of days of testing.
"To be honest, we have never seen McLaren so far back," observed Massa. "In many years I have never seen that."
Source : Planet F1