Defending F1 World Champion Jenson Button has suggested that Ferrari is the team to beat heading into the 2010 campaign at Sakhir in Bahrain in just under three weeks' time – as he praised the F10's consistency over long runs whilst assuring that for its own part, McLaren-Mercedes is 'getting there'.
Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has rated the Scuderia's
new baby as 'the best car I've ever had' [see separate story – click here
], and though the Prancing Horse gave best to McLaren, Renault, Sauber, Force India and Mercedes Grand Prix on the final day of testing at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain on Saturday, still Button reckons the scarlet machine has stolen an early march on its rivals.
“I think the Ferrari is very strong,” the McLaren star told reporters. “If you look at their runs, they're very consistent and I think they have better consistency than anyone else at the moment. The Ferrari looks good on the circuit.”
Button himself wound up on top for the first time in 2010 two days ago, but well aware that pre-season testing times can be significantly misleading, the 30-year-old Frome-born ace is under no illusions that the Woking-based outfit has the fastest car out there – not yet, at least.
“It's always interesting to observe what [other teams] are up to,” the seven-time grand prix-winner went on. “I followed a few drivers [during the test] – Fernando, Michael [Schumacher, Mercedes]. It's always interesting to see what's happening; the Mercedes seems like it's a little bit twitchy at the rear and locking the rears under braking, but if they're on 150 kilos [of fuel] that's understandable.
“I think our pace is good, but there are still areas we need to work on for me to be happy with the car. Over one lap, our car is getting there; we're improving step-by-step and on the long runs we're improving with every one we do. There's so much information we've got from [the test] – more than any other test so far, for me anyway – and we're going to go through all of that.”
Pre-season F1 2010 testing will conclude with a four-day outing around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya later this week.