That is the claim of HRT’s chief engineer Toni Cuquerella, in the context of Force India and Sauber setting Wednesday’s pace at Barcelona, and the grandee Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes runners spread further down the order.
So while a full-tanks race simulation versus a qualifying run could make an obvious 4 or 5 second per lap difference, the games being played in pre-season testing are more complex, he explained.
“In Jerez or Montmelo, let’s say, all you need is to pop 30 kilos more fuel in and your times are increased by a second on average,” the Spaniard is quoted by El Pais newspaper.
“In that case, all you have to do (as a team) is refer to your time and add the second. The problem is that only they know that they are doing it,” said Cuquerella.
“That’s why no one trusts anyone,” he added.
HRT is not running at this week’s Barcelona test.