In the ongoing discussion over how fast – or not – the McLaren MP4-24 is, this video shot at the Barcelona test session earlier this week has attracted a lot of attention:
It shows Heikki Kovalainen in the McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari doing simulated starts together. Although Raikkonen starts behind the McLaren he is well ahead as the two head out of sight.
This has being seized by some on as conclusive proof that McLaren have massive rear grip problems and are going to be annihilated at Melbourne in two weeks’ time. James Allen describes the Ferrari’s “fantastic grip off the line and it’s the first part of the start which makes the difference.”
But it looks pretty clear to me that the Ferrari begins its start before the McLaren does. At 0’12 on the video Raikkonen is moving but Kovalainen isn’t.
Even if the start was being controlled by the lights on the gantry (it’s not clear if it is or not) that doesn’t necessarily mean Raikkonen didn’t make his getaway first – perhaps to put a bit of psychological pressure on his fellow Finn.
To the list of things we don’t know about this video we can the following: what if Raikkonen’s start was aided by a fully-charged KERS and Kovalainen’s wasn’t?
The debate over McLaren’s form is going to rage on until the season finally gets going. From the testing times and reports it does look as though all is not well with the MP4-24. But I’m not sure this start is quite the damning piece of evidence some think it is.
What do you make of the video?