THE BLOG

The Calm Before the Storm

05/03/2013 17:55 GMT | Updated 05/05/2013 10:12 BST

It's Monday afternoon in early march and I've just come back home on yet another flight home to the UK from Spain.

The date means only one thing to the Formula 1 world - the pre-season tests are over and now the real work begins, starting in Melbourne, Australia just two weeks after we finished the third test in Barcelona.

For Caterham F1 Team it was as gruelling a start to 2013 as it was for everyone else in the pitlane, but it was ultimately incredibly valuable.

We completed just under 1,000 laps of the two circuits used for the tests, Jerez and Barcelona, and the engineers on track and back in our factory have amassed several terabytes of data that will be used to fine-tune the setups that will be applied to cars when we start racing in Melbourne and throughout the season.

With two new drivers for 2013, Charles Pic from France and Holland's Giedo van der Garde, we needed as much time on track to bed the new boys into our systems and procedures so nothing is new to them when it all becomes very serious in Australia.

We also needed to give them time to gel with the team, to form the relationships with their dedicated engineering team and the mechanics that will work on their car throughout the season ahead.

I am happy to say that both have fitted in very well, right from their first laps with us in the freezing cold of early mornings in Jerez, and they both seem to be revelling in the family atmosphere we have worked very hard to create in our "funny little team", a term our Co-Chairman Tony Fernandes has used to describe his F1 team.

It is very important that the drivers feel at home in their team. They need to trust the people around them to give them a car that they can use to extract maximum performance on track, and to create an environment around them that allows them to focus on their job, racing the world's fastest cars.

The drivers obviously have to do their bit as well. They need to show that the efforts put in by the whole team are rewarded by the driver when he gives it his all when he's in the cockpit, and that he's prepared himself as well as he can, mentally and physically, for the challenges that lay ahead.

I am very happy to report that both our newbies have done just that, and we now head to Melbourne in as good a shape as we could be for this stage of the season.

While the work has been going on in Spain, everyone back at the factory has also been pushing as hard as they can to prepare for the season ahead.

There is no such thing as a typical week back at our Oxfordshire base, but one example of how, frankly, insane the F1 world can be, is the visit of David Cameron to our base in the middle of the three tests.

As our local MP, Britain's Prime Minister was obviously aware of our arrival in his back yard in August 2012, when we moved from Norfolk down to the Leafield Technical Centre, and he arranged a visit with Tony Fernandes so he could take a look at the latest F1 addition to Oxfordshire's motorsport valley.

It is obviously not every day that such a high profile visitor drops by, but I was amazed to see how calm all our staff were about one of the most powerful people on the planet taking a close look at their work place. Perhaps it was because they are used to seeing superstar F1 drivers in the factory, or maybe it was because they are all so busy, but the PM's visit came and went with barely a ripple amongst the staff. I suspect it is because of their workloads - even David Cameron peering over someone's shoulder was not enough to distract them from their deadlines!

So now it is on to Melbourne for race one of 2013.

We have a very good idea of approximately where we will line up on the grid, and we know what lies ahead of us in the 18 races that will follow the Australian Grand Prix, but what I love about my team is that our spirit and our passion is as strong as anyone who will be fighting for race wins in 2013.

One day we will be up there, one day we will be disappointed with 'only third place', but those days are some way ahead of us.

Now it's time to catch up on some sleep, brace ourselves for the longest journey of the year and get ready to race.

Fire up!