It is now just one week until Formula One testing gets underway at Jerez and the hype is beginning to build.
Despite the confidence of the Lotus team that they wouldn’t be the only ones to miss the first test, they remain the only team to have announced that they won’t be there.
The effect this will have on Lotus’s preparations for the new season is as yet unknown and probably won’t be until the Australian grand prix on 16 March, but with the huge implications of the complex new regulations added to the negative stories around the finances of the team, it is generally expected to be a significant setback.
Yet, as the team and their fans will argue, setbacks during pre-season testing can be overcome. Lotus themselves lost two days of running last season when they found their new chassis was cracked and McLaren are infamous for their tendency to have poor starts to the season and often manage to overcome their problems by the time the season gets going.
Another big unknown is the driver situation at Caterham, who haven’t yet announced their partnering. Rumours gathered pace this week that one will be Kamui Kobayashi, the popular and exciting talent who has been out of the sport for a year.
When taken amid the current furore over the prevalence of pay drivers, if Caterham does decide to sign Kobayashi, it will be a real positive for the sport and certainly should give Paul di Resta confidence that it is possible to return to Formula One after being dropped.
His team mate is likely to be the young Marcus Ericsson, who has shown inconsistent flashes of speed in four seasons in GP2. He was often seen around the Caterham garage last season which backs up the rumours that he will be driving for them next year.
Regardless of who gets signed, the fact that Caterham haven’t yet announced their drivers raises eyebrows. With the competition to get seats being so high, perhaps they are just using the luxury of holding all the cards, and using all the time to make sure they get the best deal they possibly can.
Interesting things are also happening at McLaren. While they may have their driver line up of Jenson Button and the promising Kevin Magnussen sealed, they executive structure is set for a re shuffle.
Ron Dennis wrested back the controls of the team from his former trusted protégé, Martin Whitmarsh after becoming increasingly disillusioned with the team’s recent lack of success.
In his statement Dennis said to prepare for “changes to be made” and with Honda teaming up with McLaren next year, former Honda team principal and recently retired Ross Brawn is a possible new team principal.
McLaren really need a strong year, and next week at Jerez, Button will find out whether he has the car to be able to bid for his second world championship.
The teams are now almost ready but as of now it’s all unknowns.