by Rob Wilkins
It may only just be 2008, but already the anticipation is building in the countdown to the season opening Australian Grand Prix on March 16. Before then there will be the lots of testing and all the usual pre-season launches, with all the teams hoping that this year they will win races, notch up podiums, score points, etc, etc - delete as appropriate.
Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari will be out to defend their crowns, while McLaren and Lewis Hamilton will be keen to get revenge.
columnist Mark Blundell grabs his crystal ball and gives us his thoughts on just what might
happen in the coming year. This time last year, he plucked for Kimi and the Scuderia - can he get it right again?
Time will tell.
Mark, how do you see things developing in 2008?
It is going to be a great season again and we have got so much to look forward to. I think Ferrari will be the big boys again and they will be looking to bounce off 2007 and put another world championship under their belt. I am sure Felipe Massa would like to be part and parcel of that.
I expect McLaren to come back fighting as strong as ever and deliver in heaps. Lewis Hamilton has definitely put his credentials in bold
Will Renault and will BMW come on and chip away and fight those guys? I reckon BMW have got half a chance of doing that, but Renault may still be on a bit of a learning curve.
It would be nice to see Honda come back on stream and start being a top-six, top-eight contender on a solid basis. It may be too early though.
At the back and mid-grid much will probably be the same, although Williams could be the surprise. They could surprise many people as they did this year.
Amongst the changes for 2008, there will be no traction control. What effect will that have on the sport?
It will show out some of the guys that have been very dependent and reliant on it. It might take them some time to get use to not having that luxury. But some of the guys that have stepped up from GP2 won't find it so much of a problem because they have not experienced it. Some of the people that have got styles of driving that are very aggressive and are quite forceful in the car might need to get the measure of that. Somebody like Jenson Button that is very smooth in his application of delivering the throttle will be laughing in many ways because it will suit his style. There will be some mishaps, more so in the rain, because it will show up more there. But I think it will be beneficial to all of us in the long run to watch that.
We were meant to see Prodrive in 2008, but this customer car row seems to have ruled them out. How sad for the sport is it not to have that twelfth team?