Mar.2 (GMM) Former Jordan and Jaguar designer Gary Anderson has singled out Lotus and Force India to impress in 2012.
The Irishman stood trackside at the Barcelona test on Thursday and later told the German-language Speed Week magazine that Mark Webber in the Red Bull suffered from "a bit too much understeer" in the new title-defending RB8.
He admitted, however, that the team may have been experimenting with setup, as the new Red Bull and McLaren have so far been "model students" in terms of handling.
Force India's Paul di Resta, meanwhile, did not look impressive on the end-of-day timesheet, but Anderson said he was pleasantly surprised with the long-run consistency of the VJM05.
He said both di Resta and Nico Rosberg were both circulating at the same time with medium times, and the Force India was faster than the Mercedes, which was suffering from heavily-degrading tyres.
And Anderson added: "Lotus had to miss last week in Barcelona, but today they could confirm their good impression of Jerez.
"The car is fully sorted and the laptimes are consistent."
Ferrari, however, is another matter.
"They are still using the coloured (aerodynamic) paint, which for me is a sign that the engineers don't understand what is happening with the airflow.
"And just before the start of the season, that's pretty alarming."
Also trackside on Thursday was Sky commentator Martin Brundle, who confirmed Anderson's view that the new McLaren looks "very good".
The Ferrari looks a bit of a handful.
Similarly, he added: "The Ferrari looks a bit of a handful, especially when it's coming out of a corner trying to put the power down.
"It doesn't look as bad as the McLaren did last year, but they've got some issues -- there's no doubt about it."
Brundle also agreed with Anderson that, unlike the cakewalk of 2011, Red Bull could be set for a close fight this season.
"You can see Mark Webber working quite hard at the wheel," said the former McLaren driver, "so I can understand why some of my mates in the paddock are saying it's looking really close."