The 2012 Formula 1 season will be significantly closer than the one just gone, according to Formula 1 team bosses.
With the season-opening Australian Grand Prix just weeks away, F1 team bosses believe that the quality of the field and the mixed results from testing point to an exciting battle for this year's World Championship, a point they made at the FOTA Fan's Forum, held in Barcelona on Wednesday night.
"None of [the team bosses] are going to be brave enough or foolish enough to either predict our position or divide our drivers," McLaren managing director Jonathon Neale said. "We should look forward to a good year. No one here can be certain on who is quickest, especially because there are teams bringing big upgrades. With the number of World Championship drivers we have and the competitive pace from teams so far, we should have a first quarter that is really close."
Lotus boss Eric Boullier agreed that the 2012 season is shaping up to be a cracker.
"We have six World Champions on the grid – it is going to be a challenge, make the racing better," he said. "If a guy wins the championship, he will do so because he deserves it. It's up to the teams to give the drivers the car to fight for wins and pole positions this year. It will be closer than last year, and the racing and competition will be much tougher."
Mercedes boss Norbert Haug added that it won't be until the Australian Grand Prix that the form guide will truly be clear.
"We have had quite a good start to now, but you never know how competitive [the car is] until the first race," he said. "We have to wait. We have a few more days here in [Barcelona], which is a fantastic track to learn, challenging for car and driver. It's the ideal test track, but where you are you do not know.
"We have been fourth two times as a team, and we have strong competitors ahead of us. They have six cars, so to jump ahead of six cars on a regular basis is a tough job to do. But we want to be successful in this respect, and hopefully we can make a good step this year."