It’s felt like an eternity since the curtain was brought down on last year’s Formula 1 World Championship, but today marks the kick-off for the 2012 season, with the first of three official pre-season tests getting underway today at Spain’s Jerez circuit.
Bar Marussia Racing, eleven teams will be in action over the next four days at the former Grand Prix venue, with running kicking off at 9am local time and winding up at 5pm. Teams will have plenty of opportunity to also get to know Pirelli’s updated tyre compounds they will run this year.
This represents the first major opportunity for the teams to suss one another out, and for them to figure out how well (or badly) they have interpreted the 2012 rules.
While the line-up and schedules are subject to change, here’s who is confirmed as driving (and when) over the next four days:
|Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||Tue, Wed||Mark Webber|
|Thu, Fri||Sebastian Vettel|
|Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||Tue, Wed||Jenson Button|
|Thu, Fri||Lewis Hamilton|
|Scuderia Ferrari F2012||Tue, Wed||Felipe Massa|
|Thu, Fri||Fernando Alonso|
|Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W02*||Tue AM, Thu||Nico Rosberg|
|Tue PM, Wed||Michael Schumacher|
|Lotus F1 Team Renault E20||Tue, Wed||Kimi Räikkönen|
|Thu, Fri||Romain Grosjean|
|Sahara Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM05||Tue, Wed||Paul di Resta|
|Thu, Fri||Nico Hülkenberg|
|Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C31||Tue, Fri||Kamui Kobayashi|
|Wed, Thu||Sergio Pérez|
|Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||Tue, Wed||Daniel Ricciardo|
|Thu, Fri||Jean-Éric Vergne|
|Williams F1 Team Renault FW34||Tue, Wed||Pastor Maldonado|
|Thu, Fri||Bruno Senna|
|Caterham F1 Team Renault CT01||Tue, Wed||Heikki Kovalainen|
|Thu||Giedo van der Garde|
|HRT F1 Team Cosworth F111*||Tue, Wed||Pedro de la Rosa|
|Thu, Fri||Not Running|
|Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||All||Not Running|
* Denotes 2011 car
So who will have unearthed a championship challenger in their car? Who is going to run underweight and fool their rivals? And who is in for a long and tough season?
In any case, make sure that RichardsF1.com is your one-stop shop for the latest news, analysis and gossip from Spain!