Long-standing F1 journalist TRETHAM SLEAVES reports from pre-season testing
There’s a crackle in the air here in the paddock at Jerez. It’s the excitement of the new, combined with the comfort of the familiar, blending together into a heady cocktail called pre-season testing. Of course, you can only quaff this particular brew if you are here in person, which of course I am.
Pre-season testing is a curious and fascinating mistress, teasing us with her wiles in the run up to the main event. I reflected on this last night as I dined alone in the agreeable restaurant at my hotel of choice and I was reminded of something my dear friend Frank Williams once said to me. ‘I’m sorry, I can’t remember your name,’ he quipped. ‘But pleased get out of my office.’ Priceless!
What, then, of the action upon the hallowed tarmac? What fascinating nuggets of information and glimmers of early form can one discern if one has a trackside seat in the thick of the action, as of course I do? Well after one day we can already see that the Ferrari looked fast, the Mercedes was surely strong, the Sauber seemed promising, the Williams had potential, the Red Bull was getting up to speed, the Toro Rosso could show pace, and the McLaren was struggling. What does this tell us about the forthcoming season, if you are a seasoned F1 expert, as of course I am? There is so much to glean, so many aspects to analyse, such a myriad of nuances to inspect and dissect in details. So what can we tell about the new season. In a very real sense, absolutely nothing.