Champions Red Bull retain pace lead for 2011

By on Monday, February 14, 2011

Feb.14 (GMM) The test timesheets have been confusing so far, but Red Bull is apparently still on top of the formula one world.

Since pre-season group testing kicked off this month in Valencia and Jerez, a plethora of other teams - notably Renault, Mercedes and even Williams - have looked up to the task of taking on Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in 2011.

But Toro Rosso's Franz Tost told Blick newspaper: "Red Bull was clearly the best and the strongest at Jerez."

According to Estado de S.Paulo, Williams' Rubens Barrichello - fastest as the four-day test concluded on Sunday - agrees: "Red Bull are in front."

2010 runner-up Fernando Alonso said in the Spanish press: "On the basis that Red Bull had a half-second advantage at the end of last year, they remain the reference for everybody."

McLaren's pace at present is unclear, after Lewis Hamilton said the MP4-26 is a step ahead of last year's car, before Jenson Button struggled with balance and was notably slow on Sunday.

"I haven't got a clue where we are, really," Briton Button told reporters.

But Red Bull's Mark Webber is adamant: "In general, teams that were fast last year are still fast, us included."

Meanwhile, photographers captured an interesting innovation on the RB7 at Jerez; a much bigger than usual opening at the rear of the Red Bull's engine cover.

Cologne's Express newspaper said the 20-centimetre wide hole is tied up with the channelling of airflow to increase downforce.

"From what I've seen so far, I would say Red Bull remains the favourite," Nick Heidfeld is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

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