Wednesday 11th March 2009
At least four different teams will start the 2009 season ahead of McLaren unless the Woking outfit can produce a sudden improvement in performance during the few remaining days of winter testing, according to F1 broadcaster James Allen.
Now an observer rather than a commentator following ITV's exit from the sport, Allen attended the opening two days of this week's test in Barcelona and departed concluding that McLaren are currently trailing Ferrari, Toyota, BMW as well as Fernando Alonso's Renault.
'I come away from the Barcelona test feeling that this is going to be a great season of racing, but in a very different way from the McLaren vs Ferrari battles of the last two years,' he wrote in a blog on his website, jamesallenonf1.
'The testing performances we have seen so far suggest that McLaren has, if not a mountain, then certainly a big hill to climb, while Ferrari, BMW and Toyota look very strong, one might almost say equally strong.
'If the performance we've seen here is carried over to the early part of the season, as it has been in recent years, then you could see Kubica, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Massa, Trulli and Glock fighting for wins and podiums early on. I don't think it will be too long before Alonso joins in either, as the Renault team made a big step forward this week thanks to a new front wing and underfloor parts. They started behind and are still a bit behind, but closing in fast.'
McLaren's repeated insistence that they are satisfied with their performances in testing has convinced few and it would appear that they are having particular problems with the rear-wing on their MP4-24.
Lewis Hamilton will be behind the wheel of the McLaren for the final two days in Barcelona, with the team then scheduled to return to Jerez next week for the final major test of the winter before the season begins in Melbourne at the end of the month.
Source : Planet F1