First race of the year is in Australia. March 18. All the pre-season testing means absolutely nothing until the GP. At the test sessions, you have no idea as to what fuel levels are being run, and even how many experimental bits are being used (that may not pass scrutineering).
The pre-season also brings all the commentators out, predicting such wonderful ideas as Kimi Raikkonen winning for “Lotus” (nee Renault), and Jarno Trulli being replaced at Caterham (nee Team Lotus). Two big questions are “Will this be Michael Schumacher’s last stand?” and “Will he win another GP before he retires?” Really, that all depends upon how good will the car be that Mercedes will give him. Schumacher still has bags full of talent (look at the way he gets to the finals of the Race of Champions each year), and if he has the goods will do the job.
However, you have to look back at 2011 and 2010 and you can confidently expect Red Bull to be up there, along with McLaren and Ferrari. Their drivers are good enough to find the limits of the machines, and professional enough to deliver all year long.
With 20 races on the calendar, though I believe we will only see 18 as Bahrain is unlikely, and either Korea or Valencia will withdraw. All in all, it should be an interesting year.