Indeed, based on the results of the opening two tests of the pre-season, most rivals and pundits think world champion Red Bull is still in the lead.
Veteran correspondent Roger Benoit, of the Swiss newspaper Blick, ranks Lotus second in his early 2013 pecking order, followed by McLaren and then last year’s runner-up Ferrari. “The target is to be close together with the leading cars,” Maranello based Ferrari’s team boss Domenicali told Reuters.
“I would be very surprised if it (the F138) was the quickest at the first race. But if we are all close together in a couple of tenths, then the season is really long and everything is possible.” Last year, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso fought back into contention after a dire start, and both the Spanish driver and Felipe Massa have said the F138 is on “a different planet” compared to what they had early in 2012.
Still, their 2013 machine will probably not be dominant, Domenicali warns. “In Australia it is not the end of the championship, it’s just the start. We need to be careful and stay cool,” he added.