Although the new Formula One season is still three long months away, preparations for what will be a very different looking and sounding sport are already underway.
Among today’s news and gossip, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso talk about their early simulator experiences, while one outgoing F1 driver may be returning to an old stomping ground.
Jenson Button thinks the first winter test session driving the new 2014 cars will be a “hilarious” experience.
Next season’s engine and aerodynamics changes mean that drivers and engineers are taking a step into the unknown, and Button predicts there could be some unreliability issues to begin with.
He told Autosport:
Winter testing is going to be hilarious in Jerez.
It will be cold, the tyres aren't going to work, the cars probably won't work either and when you do get a lap it is probably going to feel weird because you are running higher gears - you get into eighth gear before you get to seventh gear now.
With the new ERS system providing a whopping 160bhp for 33 seconds a lap, Button thinks it will take a delicate touch for the driver to be able to harness that extra power.
It is a very different way of driving and you have to forget a lot you have learned over the years in terms of the driveability of a racing car, the engine, the power output of a racing car and the way you put the power down.
It is so, so different.
You want to be out on circuit at the tricky corners, even Turn 2/3 [at Jerez] will be tough to get the power down.
You need a throttle pedal that is a metre long to control the torque of the engine.
Hopefully the experience I have with developing the car and making it how you want it to be will help me for next year.
Winter testing begins at Jerez on January 28.
Another driver to have experienced their first taste of the 2014 car is Fernando Alonso.
Although both Jenson Button and Alonso have not yet had the pleasure of driving the new spec 2014 machines on the race track, the Spaniard visited Ferrari’s headquarters on Friday to familiarise himself with the new procedures.
He told the official Ferrari website:
I'm pleased with the way the day on the simulator went. We managed to get through everything on the programme that we had in the pipeline. It was nice to be driving again, even if only in a virtual way. We went through a lot of ideas with the engineers: we are only at the start of a learning process which is moving forward all the time and it's nice to be able to contribute to it.
One of the most controversial changes for the 2014 season is to award double points for the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel slammed the new ruling as “absurd,” and many other drivers and fans have also slammed the change to the points structure.
One of the few drivers to speak up in favour of the change is Sergio Perez.
The Mexican told Autosport that it will help keep interest in the championship race up until the season finale.
The rules are the rules, and I don't think they devalue the championship at all.
For the last race it just puts a lot of tension, and I think [in that situation] the best will come out on top.
In any circumstance if you come out as champion you are champion.
I have been in the sport for the last three years and it has been a great show, especially last year  when it went down to the last race.
But this rule change will keep a lot of interest to the end of the season, so definitely I think it is a good thing for F1.
Let's see how this season goes, and we can always go back. But I think it will be an interesting rule.
Recently axed Force India driver Paul di Resta may be set to return to DTM with Mercedes, according to The Scotsman.
Both di Resta and Adrian Sutil lost their Force India drives to Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. However, while Sutil has found another seat at Sauber, there are limited opportunities available for di Resta.
DTM looks his most likely destination.
I’m not in a position to say what I’ll be doing next year, but one thing I know definitely is that I’ll be in a competitive car, in a series I know I’ll be capable of not only winning races, but also the championship.