It’s always a bit of a mug’s game to try to make predictions about F1 form from early pre-season tests, but it’s an interesting time all the same. Two things are worth commenting on: one is the variety in the design of the new cars, which have found many different paths for trying to optimise the new regulations – in the season it will likely make the field spread large and the racing dull, but in the pre-season it offers an interesting spectacle; the second is the apparent slow pace of the Renault.
It has been at the bottom of the timesheets throughout this week’s Valencia tests, and GrandPrix.com has reported that a large test team went out a few weeks back doing straight-line aero assessments. It’s a rather slab-like car, and very early indications are that it will not allow Fernando Alonso to mount a title challenge this year. Then again, Honda found some pace just before the start of last season after looking dog-slow – their woes only really began when they got left behind in the development race. So the early indications could be wrong for Renault; all we know at the moment is that they’re not good.