|© Paul Gilham/Getty Images/Red Bull Racing
With Red Bull topping just one of the 12 days in the pre-season tests, it has emerged that the defending champions may either be sandbagging or simply struggling to keep up with the pace this year.
Question marks have arisen about Red Bull, although largely believed in the paddock to remain as frontrunners, indicating that this year would be the most challenging campaign at the top.
After the FIA disapproved Renault’s engine maps for this season, it has been suspected that all teams powered by the French manufacturer could be on the backfoot.
High tyre degradation is another factor that has been hindering the champions.
"We didn't tick all the boxes that we would have liked to and the last two days (of the final test) were not as good as we would have expected,” Sebastian Vettel was quoted saying by Autosport.
"It was extremely difficult to read some set-up changes and find a good direction with the car because the tyres were simply not good enough," the dissatisfied German admitted.
Ferrari echoed its rivals’ opinions about the Pirellis suggesting in Melbourne “there will be a few surprised people and a few shocked people.”