It always seems like a long wait from the end of one season to the start of the next, but here we are in 2006 and the first race is just a couple of months away. Before Formula One kicks off in Bahrain on March 12th, it's back to work both on the test track and in the factories.
Former McLaren technical and design ace Adrian Newey will join Red Bull this year as chief technical officer. Previously the team expected him to arrive in February but now Newey will reportedly take up his role with the Ferrari-powered outfit at the beginning of next week.
Someone else keen to start his new job is Rubens Barrichello, who joins Honda after six years at Ferrari. The Brazilian will be on track at Jerez next week when testing resumes, as will most of the teams, and is looking forward to familiarizing himself with his new surroundings.
"I hope that I can do as many miles as possible and compare everything," Barrichello said about testing prior to the first race in Bahrain on March 12th. "The programme for the new car, the RA106, looks good and we'll just have to take it to the track and see how it goes."
Little has been heard from new squad Super Aguri but it seems likely that it will be confirmed as the 11th team on the grid in 2006. After having its first application to join the championship rejected, Super Aguri announced in December that its late entry had been agreed on by the other teams, and then had to reapply to the FIA.
The sport's governing body said it expects to receive the team's "financial guarantee" next week, whereupon a formal confirmation of Super Aguri's entry will be made. No official driver line up has been revealed but Takuma Sato is thought to be in one of the race seats.
Renault's new R26 will have its track debut at Jerez next week after the team spent pre-Christmas testing working with the R25 chassis and the restricted V10 engine. Champion Fernando Alonso will be at work for all four days of the team's scheduled programme, with teammate Giancarlo Fisichella and tester Heikki Kovalainen for two days each.
"We are all excited about starting work with the new car," said chassis technical director Bob Bell. "Our figures from the wind tunnel are good, the engine has given strong results in terms of performance and reliability over Christmas, so we now want to start learning about the R26 on the track."
The new Red Bull RB2 will join the Jerez action after its shakedown at Silverstone in December, with David Coulthard and Christian Klien on duty. Ferrari, Toyota, Williams, McLaren, Honda and BMW are also expected to be present, as well as Toro Rosso. It's not yet certain if MF1 will put in an appearance.