Wed, 11 Feb, 2015, 11:32
Ferrari's strong form in the first pre-season Formula 1 test has left rivals wary that it might have made a much bigger leap than expected over the winter.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were fastest on three of the four days of the first pre-season test at Jerez last week.
Their consistent speed throughout the test has prompted speculation over whether Ferrari's speed is a sign of a genuine breakthrough or can be put down to simple low-fuel glory runs.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Williams's Felipe Massa are both adamant that Ferrari cannot now be discounted.
Is Ferrari's recovery real?
Both believe that a similar good performance in the next Barcelona tests would force a rethink about Ferrari's potential for 2015.
Reflecting on the Jerez times in the official Australian Grand Prix podcast, Ricciardo said: "We are aware of the laps Mercedes did and the laptime Ferrari put down, which looked good.
"We expect nothing less from Mercedes to be honest, but Ferrari looked like they came out pretty strong.
[Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Jerez F1 testing, February 2015]
"For now they look good, but it is one of those things. It is still early and Jerez is a place we don't race at, plus we never drive in conditions that are five-to-eight degrees [temperature]. And the track is really, really abrasive.
"They look good but are they going to be the same once we start racing in race conditions?
"I think Barcelona will get us a step closer to that. But not taking anything away from that, they have come out in good form."
Massa echoed Ricciardo's thoughts that Ferrari's potential would be real if Barcelona results were similar.
"We have just seen the first days of testing and we have seen that there is still a long way to go," said the Brazilian.
"I think maybe if these guys that were doing a quick lap time, like Ferrari for example, if they stay the same for Barcelona and impress with laptime, then maybe we start to think they are going to be there. But it's too early."