Exclusive! – F1 testing analysis

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With the Australian Grand Prix less than two weeks away, now is a good time to reflect on the leading teams’ performances in testing and, from this, to predict who will make a strong start to the 2011 season.

Clearly all eyes are on last year’s champions, Red Bull Lotus, and the team haven’t disappointed as they looked fast in testing, but also slow as they might be running heavy, or perhaps not.

The Milton Keynes-based team certainly can’t afford to relax given the times set by their old adversary, Ferrari Lotus, who showed some mixed pace in testing but are certain to be quick, or not quick, or a mixture of both.

That’s more than can be said for the struggling McLaren Lotus MP4-26 which was not nearly as fast as expected whilst certainly far from as slow as feared. Likewise, the Mercedes Lotus has shown surprising speed in testing but will this translate into convincing race pace? The answer is almost certainly uncertain.

Rounding up the front and mid-field contenders, Williams Lotus have been looking convincingly unconvincing to convince, Sauber Lotus are certainly on the off-pace, Torro Lotus Rosso have a long way to go if they want to stop being as fast as they aren’t, and Lotus Renault Lotus Lotus cannot be discounted from being ignored for places on the front 10 or so rows. Maybe.

All of which poses the question, based on the testing performances we have seen so far, who will win in Australia? The answer, clearly, is someone.