Robert Kubica has insisted that no firm favourites should be named for this year's Formula One campaign until the action gets underway in Melbourne just over a fortnight from now.
Speaking as the latest group test, in Barcelona, drew to a close, the lanky Pole admitted that little could be concluded from the results of the various winter sessions, with all ten teams getting to grips with the new mandatory technical package, and having all had different amounts of time in which to hone their respective machines.
While the new BMW Sauber F1.09 has shown promise on its outings in Bahrain, Jerez and Barcelona, Kubica admits that trying to compare the car to its rivals is a tricky business, with the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and, most recently, the week-old Brawn GP teams all taking turns at the top of the timesheets.
''It's difficult to say,'' the Canadian GP winner claimed, ''There was very little between the top teams in testing, but whether that will also be the case in qualifying will doubtless depend very much on how well the teams are able to prepare for each race track - and that's become harder with the restrictions on testing.
''Winter testing is always important. This year, it is even more important because of the drastic changes in the regulations. It is hard to say if the direction is right because every team starts with a completely new package from zero. As always, testing can only give you ideas on where you are - and it can also mislead you. Our goal is to be best prepared for Australia, and I think we are on a good path, but we have to wait until Melbourne to really see where we are. The qualifying will give all the teams a first impression about the balance of power.''
Once the cars hit the track in Melbourne, teams will be restricted to using the Fridays of each grand prix to continue their physical development programmes, with the FIA and FOTA having agreed to outlaw all in-season testing. Kubica admits that he is in two minds about the move.
''On the one hand, I'm pleased that there will be a bit less travelling and that I'll maybe have more time for myself, but, having said that, over previous seasons, testing has played a very important role in pushing forward the development of the car and setting it up for the next races,'' he conceded, ''A major factor will be how effectively the car and driver work with the tyres. There is some uncertainty here as well, as the new tyres mean we can only use data from the past to a limited degree. I can't be sure yet whether we will be able to be as effective during the testing permitted on Fridays of each race weekend.''
An early critic of the revised aero package imposed upon the teams this season, in particular the 'snowplough' front wing, Kubica admits that he is getting used to the new look, but still predicts problems when it comes to wheel-to-wheel combat. He is also wary about predicting whether the changes, and the addition of KERS, will improve the show for the fans.
''I've got used to the larger front wing now, but the tricky thing about it is that you can't see its outer edges from the cockpit because they are hidden by the front wheels,'' he explained, ''I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the first corner at the Australian Grand Prix - I can imagine that we will see a lot more damaged front wings than in the past when things get tight.