Daniel Ricciardo offered a tentatively positive assessment of the impact 2019's regulation changes have made on allowing Formula 1 cars to follow closer. Simpler front wings and other aerodynamic tweaks have been introduced this year in an attempt to improve F1's on-track spectacle.
After a largely processional Australian Grand Prix last year, F1 organisers quickly looked to find a solution, landing on a new set of aero regs, which have not been received favourably by a number of teams.
Red Bull have been particularly scathing, claiming that they have been forced to spend €15million, with little having actually changed in terms of the cars' performance.
Lewis Hamilton seemed to back that up during preseason testing, saying: "For me it's the same. In terms of feeling, hardly anything has changed. The foundation is just the same."
Naturally, rivers tend not to follow each other in testing as they would in a race, but Ricciardo said he had noted slight differences when close to rivals at the Circuit de Catalunya this week.
Winter Testing Day 04: ?@danielricciardo got behind the wheel of the R.S.19 for the morning, with 34 laps completed. Here’s what he had to say ????#RSspiritI pic.twitter.com/fchGoP2Nu9 — Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) February 21, 2019
Asked if he had tried following other cars, Ricciardo said: "I did [on Wednesday] and it actually seemed alright, but at the time I was lapping quite a bit quicker [than the car in front].
"I don't know what car it was but I assumed they had more fuel so maybe that's why it was easier for me to follow.
"If that was a like for like, it felt better but I don't want to get too excited. We're still going to feel it, don't get me wrong, but I would like to think that was a sign that we might feel it a bit less."
Ricciardo said immediate differences in the cockpit were subtle at best.
"I feel it hasn't been that obvious, he said. "I feel like it's been decent but I kind of feel like everyone has a pretty decent car at the moment.
"Like I said, to be in the 1m 17s or even the 1m 18s, you're kind of humming.
"Turn three would be flat, turn nine's probably flat. The car's probably not doing too much wrong, but it's [hard to say]. There are not alarm bells."