So McLaren is using special paint to see how the airflow licks the super-sleek bodywork of their new MP4-24s.

Actually, let me correct that. Other people are sniggering about stories in the motorsport press that suggest that McLaren is struggling in pre-season testing and may have produced a dud for 2009. _H0Y8172[1]  In your dreams, guys! This all reminds me of 1988, when McLaren told everybody it was going to repaint its cars' bodywork between races. We all thought that was a bit cissy and wondered why they didn’t just get on and worry about some important things. But then McLaren went on to win 15 of the season's 16 races. Think how many the team might have won had it been serious.

Writing off McLaren is one of those fruitless pursuits, like vowing you will buy next year's Christmas presents in the New Year sales. It somehow never happens.

Anybody at the final big pre-season test at Barcelona this week may have enjoyed a short-term giggle as Lewis seemed to be struggling with the new car, but you can bet your subscription to Autocar that they will be as sizzling as the weather at Albert Park on 29 March.

At the other end of the spectrum, we should hardly be surprised that the Brawn-Mercedes is quick out of the box, bearing in mind that the former Honda team shelved development on its 2008 car in order to make an early start on the 2009 challenger.

What a laugh if the new Brawn is the biggest surprise of 2009. Ross can then sell it back to Honda at the end of the year. For a tidy profit, of course.