On top of all that, we've seen drivers like Karun Chandhok sign up for sportscar programmes and testing roles after finding themselves unable to move into an F1 race seat, with the prospect of others following suit – Sebastien Buemi being one example.
Gone are the days where a team took on a third driver who wasn't quite as good as its race drivers, because F1 is now so competitive.
2012 should be just as competitive, although don't expect HRT to be winning a race anytime soon. As a result, who fills the second seat remains to be seen…
by Cameron Paterson