Luca Badoer is making very favourable noises about the Ferrari F2005. He has been extensively testing the new car, and reckons it to be considerably superior to the hybrid car Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have been racing. Between half a second and a second a lap, according to one quote from Italy. On the strength of what we saw in Malaysia, it will need to be that - and more - if Michael and Rubens are to challenge seriously for this year's world championship.
Before we get too carried away, however, let's remember the early part of the 2003 season, when Ferrari again chose to begin the year with 'old' cars. Three races in, Schumacher had only eight points, but he then won the European opener, at Imola, and dominated at Barcelona, where the new car made its debut.
That said, Ferrari does appear to be in more fundamental trouble this time around, and it's perhaps no surprise that few in the paddock are shedding tears. For one thing, prior to the start of this season, the team had won 58 of the 86 grands prix run in the 21st century, and folk were getting a touch bored. For another, Ferrari's 'I'm all right, Jack' attitude to the sport has recently been arrogant beyond belief, and the fact that in Malaysia they were not all right, Jack, prompted little in the way of grief from their rivals.
In Sepang eight teams issued a statement concerning Ferrari's refusal to go along with an agreement (aimed at cutting costs) on the reduction of testing, and the team's high-handed response was that it wouldn't accept the agreement because it was unfair to Ferrari.