As F1 heads into the 2013 season, the sport's future has never been so uncertain.
One of the areas of doubt was highlighted last week by Marussia ditching Timo Glock for a seven-figure payment and taking on two rookie pay drivers for the forthcoming season. (So setting up the Marussia MR02 should be interesting.)
We already know that race promotors around the world feel like they're getting fleeced - in the last few years there have been concerns in Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, China, Germany and Korea - not to mention Valencia, Turkey and France who have given up - that they are paying too much for a race. Thus the calendar for 2013 has that 'designed by committee' feel.
Then we have the fact that seven of the eleven F1 teams are not in the best financial shape. Marussia revealed a $72 million loss for the year ending 2011, and 2012 may have been worse. It was certainly looking $30m healthier until the last few laps of the 2012 Brazilian GP when Vitaly Petrov hauled himself back into 11th position to claim 11th place in the Constructors' Championship for Caterham and deny Marussia that cash.
Force India owner Vijay Mallya is not overburdened with spare cash right now either and is trying to find new backing for his Kingfisher airline, which is over a billion dollars in debt. It's not surprising that the F1 team - which is supposedly a separate financial entity - should be delaying the announcement of its second driver.
Bernie Ecclestone has had a meeting with the seven smaller teams to try and convince them that it will be financially worthwhile them continuing in the sport. He may also have been trying to get them to join his side in the battle to delay the introduction of V6 engines. Ecclestone argues that it makes more economic sense to continue with 'old tech' V8 engines than the new energy efficient V6 turbos that Jean Todt is keen to see in the sport.
We're already a year behind with them - they were supposed to be fitted to the cars in 2013.
The reason that Bernie is so keen to talk and persuade right now is that this is the critical time in the design process for the 2014 cars. With the 2013 cars launched, the 2014 cars are now going to be worked on. Already Ferrari have announced that Rory Byrne, their designer who brought such outstanding success to the team in the Michael Schumacher era, is working as a consultant on the 2014 car.
Ecclestone thinks that the V6s won't sound the same as V8s, but Mercedes have already invited motorsport journalists along to their engine-building facility at Brixworth to show that the V6s will have their own throaty roar. Interestingly, mobile phones and recording devices were banned in case an audio recording of the engine gave away any secrets to their rivals.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says this hesitancy from some parts of the F1 hierarchy (and some of the teams) to embrace the new regulations is causing more uncertainty and stopping major manufacturers from entering or coming back to the sport.
"F1 is pretty good at being self-destructive. Every other weekend we say, 'Shall we really go with the V6? Shall we stick with the V8s? Do we really want turbo-charging or shall we stick with the normally aspirated?'
"If I was facing the board of Hyundai or Toyota and saying, 'Come to F1', they'd say, 'I read yesterday we're not going to do these V6s'. We've created an unstable environment and we're very good at that because we like arguing publicly and debating these things in an unhelpful way.
"Even in the last few weeks, people have been saying, Oh, should we really go V6 next year?' Good, bad or indifferent, we've got to do it now. We've been saying it for long enough, we've delayed it long enough."
With the emphasis next year on more energy recovery and energy efficiency, and with softer tyres already destined for 2013, the sport is going to favour more the careful intelligent driver than the ballsout, fastest of them all driver. Lewis Hamilton may not have won the 2012 Indian GP but he liked the fact that he could drive as fast as he liked for as long as he liked because he knew the tyres weren't going to wear out. This year he probably won't have the chance.
In 2014 the ERS energy recovery systems of the cars are going to provide 540kw a lap, not the current 60kw gathered by KERS. Most of this will be done via Lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery storage. F1 cars will require much larger, high performance batteries. But as has been seen by the recent grounding of the Boeing Dreamliner planes, large Li-ion batteries can be a potential fire hazard.
It's not the first time they have hit the headlines. In September 2010, a UPS Boeing 747 cargo plane carrying 81,000 lithium batteries caught fire after leaving Dubai and crashed, killing both pilots.
F1 is increasingly committed to more non-European flyaway races and so transporting planeloads of these large, potentially volatile batteries might be seen as a problem in the future. The 2014 cars will need them onboard because on their own, the V6 turbos won't be able to generate enough power, they can't opt to run without them, as they did with KERS units.
And who is it that organises the joint freighting of F1 cargo from race to race? It's one of Bernie's companies. Some airlines have already banned the transportation of Li-ion batteries and the United Nations are considering a ban on their shipment as cargo in passenger planes.
Ecclestone has the perfect lever at hand to scupper teams' plans for 2014 - and in the interests of safety, too.
No Concorde agreement in place, last-minute grand prix calendar changes, teams struggling for survival, F1 technical rules in doubt - it's not surprising that the future of F1 is so uncertain.
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