Date: 7th February 2012 at 9:04am
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11 out of the 12 Formula One teams have started their winter testing programme this morning in Jerez.



Marussia [Virgin Racing] are the only team who haven’t joined in the pre-season get-together, while Mercedes have turned up with their 2011 car having not launched their new 2012 car yet.

The test session will continue over the next four days as the teams get to not only try out their new toys on track, but also will begin to get a feel for the new Pirelli tyres which have all been re-worked for the new campaign.

HRT however will only be in action today and tomorrow, while Mercedes will miss Friday.

The way the first day of testing usually works means that we will not learn a whole lot from today’s action.

The press will get to take a lot of photos, especially of the launches of the Sauber, Toro Rosso and Red Bull from yesterday and the Williams from this morning.

The cars will then make a number of installation laps, similar to what you see on a Friday morning practice session, but done over and over again at a sedate speed to test various parts of the car and crucially to make sure it all works as expected.

Then there are various set up changes and as previously mentioned a first look at the new Pirelli tyres and how they work with their new cars.

It’s all about data with the teams looking over every aspect of the car with a fine-toothed comb rather than trying to set times.

Only when the teams start to open their cars up and begin to set times will we get our first indications of what we might have in store this season, but the landscape can change quickly and dramatically over winter testing, just as last season proved, so realistically just enjoy the sights of seeing the Formula One cars back on track and ignore trying to figure out who will be looking strong next month when the season gets under way.