The 2012 season is almost upon us, and so some speculation is appropriate. Pre-season testing yielded very little in terms of concrete performance comparisons, but the behaviour of the teams can be quite telling.
The general consensus is that Red Bull are still on top, and McLaren are probably their closest competitors. After that, no-one really knows, but the field is expected to be very tight. Caterham look to have joined the midfield properly, but Marussia and HRT are almost certainly going to be as far behind as ever after an almost complete lack of testing.
In general, no news is good news in testing. Red Bull didn’t shout about their performance, nor did McLaren. Both teams just got on with their testing programmes without feeling the need to top the timesheets or make grand predictions about their form.
One other team that was fairly quiet was Force India. The team has been steadily moving forward for the past few seasons, and there is no reason to believe that it will not continue to do so in 2012. With the resources of Vijay Mallya, a strong technical team, the Mercedes engine, and two talented (if sligthly inexperienced) drivers, Force India is well poised to attack the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.
The first race is in Melbourne, Australia on 18 March. In qualifying on 17 March, there should finally be an indication of the true pace of the cars.