F1 fans are beginning to get excited about the new season that kicks off in the middle of March, and while some of the internet sites seem to think they know who is going to be winning this year, in the pit lane the story is rather different.

"No-one is massively standing out," says Jenson Button. 

In Barcelona we had the odd situation in which Nico Rosberg said that Mercedes can win this year, while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton said on the same day that the team is not ready for success. Figure that out!

What is quite interesting is that in the eight days of testing that have taken place in the course of February, at the Jerez and Barcelona circuits in Spain, there have been eight different drivers who have set the fastest times each day. The only pattern is that the eight have come from four teams: McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes-Benz.

Red Bull Racing, which has won both F1 titles for the last three years, has not been quickest on any single day of testing, and yet the team does not seem to be in any sort of panic. If one looks at the list of drivers who have been second fastest on each of the eight days, one finds Red Bull drivers twice, Force India twice and even Sauber.

Compare this list to the finishing order in the Constructors' Championship of 2012 and you can see that the same teams ranked first to seventh in the Constructors' title: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, Mercedes, Sauber and Force India.

It is quite possible that we will find out that nothing much has changed when the F1 circus turns up in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix. It might even be that we have a sequence of races with different winners, as happened at the start of last year.

Stateside 

Formula 1 has always been rather forgiving of circuits in countries that are needed to give the sport its global flavour. The tracks in Canada and Brazil have very poor quality facilities compared to all the fancy venues in Asia and the Middle East, but Bernie Ecclestone has not been able to strong arm the Canadians and the Brazilians into doing a better job - because they know that he needs them as much as they need him.

There was a similar problem for many years with Monaco before finally the Monégasques were bamboozled into spending some money.