Jenson Button used to drive for both Williams (his first year in 2000) and Mercedes (when it was known as Brawn, and he captured the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship).
He pegs those two teams, and not his own McLaren squad, as front-runners heading to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix next week.
“It has been a messy winter for a lot of people in terms of mileage on circuit. The two that you would pick out that look strong and consistent are Mercedes and Williams,” Button told Sky Sports.
Button doesn’t know whether their pace would translate to Melbourne. But the reliability aspect is something those two teams have got down.
“Those two are the teams that I think looked strongest over winter testing, whether that will be the case when we get to Melbourne – it is a very different circuit to Bahrain – we have to wait and see.”
The Englishman also said Red Bull, which has had a rough winter, could still surprise on one-lap pace. He also said F1’s two newest teams – Caterham and Marussia – stand a good chance of scoring their first career points if they can make the finish.
In 14 prior Australian Grands Prix, Button has three wins (2009, 2010 and 2012). He finished ninth in last year’s Australian Grand Prix, in the first race with what proved to be a troublesome 2013 chassis.
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.
Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.
“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”
Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.
But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.
Monday was IndyCar team owner Michael Andretti’s 53rd birthday and son Marco was nowhere to be found – but with good reason.
The younger Andretti and Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay were both testing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio.
Also taking part in the test was Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s James Hinchcliffe.
It was Hinchcliffe’s second successful test since recovering from his horrific crash during practice for this year’s Indianapolis 500 in May.
Hinchcliffe’s first test was last week at Road America in Wisconsin.
Monday’s test session was not open to the public or media, but a Honda source told Motorsportstalk that drivers and teams reportedly focused on testing aerodynamics for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.