Brawn again

Felipe Massa was quite jovial in yesterday’s mini-press conference in the Ferrari team’s mobile HQ, after the F1 test in Barcelona: “The Brawn? We could not catch them. We were quick until they turned up,” he said with a smile.

A Euro journo asked, but surely they’re running light? To which Felipe replied: “Everyone’s run light, yet still they are fastest. And what would the point be in coming here and running light, without ballast? They need the data.”

That there is the most important thing to Brawn right now, even more than quick, headline grabbing times to attract sponsors (which there’s no denying they hope and should do with this week’s results).

But working out how and why and where the car is quick is key, and happily Brawn have got more testing to do in Jerez next week to build on the past four day’s achievements. Achievements which included both Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button beating the track’s pole lap record.

Either way you look at it, Brawn couldn’t have hoped for more in their first test. It was only this time last week that they ran the BGP 001 in its first shakedown after all.

McLaren are another team who will be hoping to make vast improvements next week at Jerez – along with Renault and Brawn, they’re the only three teams with any more testing time left before Melbourne weekend starts on March 27th.

McLaren have been posting seemingly poor times all week at Catalunya, and even though team boss Martin Whitmarsh has admitted they’re not quick enough, it would be a surprise if they didn’t decide to hold back a bit this week and break out the quick stuff when Ferrari aren’t around in Jerez.

Saying that, their times are also raising question marks about Lewis Hamilton’s ability to develop a brand new car. Last year he worked on tweaking the MP4-23, that Alonso had done such a good job of making fast the previous year in MP4-22 guise, don’t forget.

That was refining, this year it’s hard graft development. Although if I was booed and whistled every time I parked up at my garage, that might serve to put me off of my game slightly too.

Anyway, we’ll see a clearer picture at the end of next week and besides, everyone knows you can’t really tell anything from test times.

Other than the Brawn is fast of course. If you’re quick, you can still get odds on Jenson winning in Melbourne at 8-1 and Rubens and 12-1. Now that’s got to be worth a tenner…

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