While Barcelona echoed to the sound of turbo V6 engines on Thursday, behind-the-scenes developments were also making noise.
Force India finally began its winter programme at the Circuit de Catalunya, but only with the 2014 car and Mercedes reserve Pascal Wehrlein at the wheel.
Wehrlein was then called up by his works employer to replace the ill Lewis Hamilton, leaving race regular Sergio Perez to step into his cockpit of last season for mainly Pirelli tyre testing.
The really important action was apparently occurring behind the scenes.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that the Silverstone based team has “passed all the crash tests” with its delayed 2015 car, the VJM08.
Correspondent Michael Schmidt added: “The second chassis has been completed and approved by the FIA.
“All the dynamic and static crash tests have been passed,” he revealed, dispelling any lingering fears that Force India might be missing in action in Melbourne.
“And it gets even better,” said the German journalist. “Marussia has arranged a crash test for early March with a car complying with the 2015 rules.”
But that doesn’t mean the reborn Manor team’s troubles are over. Reportedly, Ferrari has told the backmarker team that it will only deliver its turbo V6 engines to Dinnington once a EUR 10 million deposit is paid.
Schmidt continued: “And Marussia cannot miss any more races. The agreement with the rights holders is that a team can miss a maximum of three races through 2020.”
Marussia sat out of the final three races of 2014, at Austin, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, so it technically must return in Melbourne in under a month’s time.
“Experts believe that is impossible,” said Schmidt. (GMM)