I have to say, it's been a very long winter break. The last F1 race was back in November - the last time we'll hear the screaming V8 engines in F1. This weekend, a new season, and indeed a new era of F1 begins.
Pre-season testing has been very interesting - and not so good from the perspective of a Red Bull fan. We all knew the regulations would shake things up, but seeing the four-time champion team spending most of the testing season in the garage was more of a shake-up than anyone had anticipated. The key problems of Red Bull have been mostly concerned with the Renault engine. In fact, most of the Renault powered teams have seemingly suffered. Red Bull didn't complete a race distance during testing. This is very unsettling news. While everyone noticed the problems straight away during the first test session, everyone figured that it was a blip, and Red Bull would have things sorted for the second and third tests. Not so. The problems were rife throughout all of the tests, and we go to the first race of the season none the wiser as to whether the car will actually work. All we can do is hope. Who knows, maybe it was all a bluff and Vettel will win the race as per usual? Well, I can dream anyway!
While the Renault teams have suffered, the Mercedes-powered teams seem to have done fantastically well, and Mercedes go into the season as favourites. A particularly noteworthy team during testing was Williams. I'm sure you won't find a single F1 fan who doesn't want Williams to do well, so let's hope that their form stays throughout the season.
There are mere hours before the practice session begins tomorrow, and I've already decided that F1 takes precedence over sleep this weekend. Given all the rule changes, I think this will be one of the most technically interesting seasons we've seen. One thing I do fear for is the spectacle. The past few seasons have seen some incredible races, and watching these it was difficult to comprehend why anyone would want to change the rules so drastically. There's no doubt that this year the cars are ugly. Really ugly. There are only a few that have managed to disguise the awful 'anteater' noses, and don't even get me started on the Ferrari. So, without the looks of the cars, what else is there? The sound. If you've never been to an F1 race in person, then it's difficult to describe the sound, and you won't have much of an idea of how loud these cars were. It would be a huge shame if the cars sounded unremarkable - and the fact that many people during testing were able to stand near the track without headphones is worrying. Still, when we see all 22 cars on track, maybe things will sound better.
Hopefully, Melbourne will give us the answers to all of our questions. Now we just have to wait and see who will be on the podium - assuming that anyone finishes the race, of course!