Don't you just love F1 testing? You have the team launches, the ramping up of expectations and then... well, almost nothing on the basis of today's activity at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.

Several teams have unveiled their new cars, but few have actually taken to the track for any meaningful lappery yet.

If it's anti-climatic for fans – and hard work for the ever-innovative and informative folk covering it all live at Autosport – it at least gives an indication of the uphill struggle the teams are facing to get their cars ready for the start of the season.

They'll get there of course – they always do – but it's going to be especially painful with this year's new regulations.

The Mercedes team appears to be the most advanced so far, but even they have only experienced a handful of laps at a time. That's not because they have major problems, just that they are building up their knowledge — especially around the new engine and energy recovery systems — very slowly and very carefully.

Lewis Hamilton's accident, caused by a suspected front wing failure, set the team back slightly, although the Briton had set encouraging times before that.

Don't forget, during the season they can run just five engines, so establishing levels of reliability is all-important.

The message from Mercedes is that it'll get better soon; that the number of laps teams run will grow in conjunction with their confidence. That the Mercedes team is running and its rivals are not is a – very small – bonus.

That said, there's one final caution: given the circumstances, this week's test is unlikely to yield any kind of indicator of pace come Australia. So you'd best hold off from visiting a bookie just yet...