In the past, February was the earliest we got to hear the sound of a Grand Prix car rushing around a race track after the winter break, but with a completely new type of engine and a host of new systems, the first of four pre-season tests has been brought forward to this month to give teams an early first chance to assess how the work that began around two years ago is shaping up.


On the Scuderia Toro Rosso front, the first STR9 chassis is currently being assembled in the Faenza factory. New rules or not, the same procedures apply and over the Christmas period Jean-Eric Vergne and Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat turned up at the factory for the traditional seat fitting in the new chassis that will carry all our hopes in 2014.