Established top four still top, says Schumacher

Michael Schumacher has moved to give some indication of what the 2010 form is today by saying that he believes the established top four of Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and his Mercedes team are out in front.

The German said there was a clear performance discrepancy visible on higher fuel loads between the four and the other teams, although he conceded that tellin exactly how fast the teams were would be difficult.

“It’s very tough for all of us to understand what is the order of teams,” he said. “We have four that I think are the major teams, and others that look very interesting such as Sauber, the car is quite quick, and the Renault – there is a question mark how quick it is.

“If you look at other teams [on long runs] you have a certain drop off, that is tyre related. The good teams sort of stay all in the same window.

“But we are not able to be precise because you can play so much with the fuel load, and even with the ballast if you want to. So there’s a lot of speculation going on, even for us, but it’s very interesting.”

The seven-time champion also said he was pleased with how the first Jerez test had gone.

“We had a good day,” he added. “The weather handicapped us a bit in the early stages but we used it very sufficiently after that.

“We got the programme through that we wanted to do, we understood the car quite a step more, so it was a good day for us.”