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.