F1's winter testing season is always notoriously hard to read given the degree of secrecy most teams adhere to and this year remains no different.

However, it's clear to see that Red Bull again appear to have an inherently competitive car in the shape of their Adrian Newey-designed RB8, while McLaren looks in a much more comfortable position with its MP4-27.

The RB8, debuted by Mark Webber over the past two days, has looked quick out of the box, immediately topping the '2012 classification', albeit ending day two second behind the 2011-spec Mercedes driven by Michael Schumacher.

Jenson Button and McLaren, on the other hand, have happily remained mid-table and have quietly gone about their business, getting to know their new challenger as opposed to the panic and despair of last pre-season.

Both teams, meanwhile, intend sticking to their own philosophy on testing.

McLaren team manager, David Redding mirrors the perception of their initial running and seems at ease with the team and car's progress so far in the hands of the 2009 world champion. Reliability worries obviously not an issue at this present moment.

"It's still early days, and this was very much an exploratory day, but we were able to get a useful understanding of how the car behaves and reacts out on the track," he stated.

"It's satisfying that Jenson's been able to complete more than 600km of trouble-free running over the past two days; that puts us in a good position for the rest of the week."

Although Red Bull has seemed to hit the ground ahead of McLaren, head of race engineering Ian Morgan admits that the week hasn't been without its 'niggles'.

"After yesterday's brief delay [waiting for parts delayed in transit], we had a pretty full programme to get through today and I'm pleased to say we got through the majority of it," he explained at the of Wednesday's session.

"There were a couple of minor niggles, but nothing major, so we didn't really lose any time, as Mark did some work evaluating the available Pirelli tyre compounds."

Morgan now looks forward to the hectic remainder of running at Jerez as world champion Sebastian Vettel takes to the RB8 for the first time.

"Sebastian is in the car [on Thursday] and we have a large programme to get through with him," he confirmed, "We will get Seb settled and up to speed and then work through some more aero and tyre evaluation. There's another busy day ahead."

by Simon Evans


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