So Kimi Raikkonen is back in the seat, pedalling a two-year-old Renault around Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit as I write.
Over the winter I've heard a lot of discussion about whether Renault's decision to sign him was sensible or not. I think it has to be taken as a positive that he's up for thrashing a non-contemporary car around a circuit that's not on the schedule, on tyres he won't be using.
What it will do is put a strain he won't have experienced for at least two years on his neck muscles. Apart from anything, it shows he's serious. I've already said in a previous column that I don't think that Lotus, as it is now known, is taking a risk, and I stand by that.
If you believe what has been printed in Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport, Jarno Trulli has said that it will be hard for Raikkonen to re-adapt to a Formula 1 car and that he won't be very quick in the beginning.
Trulli may be right, but I still think that, as with every other F1 team at this time of year, squeaky-bum time for Lotus will have much more to do with the performance of the new chassis that runs for the first time in Spain next month than concerns about the men driving it.
For me, it would have been a bigger risk for Lotus not to take Kimi. The team's only concern should have been whether it was paying over the odds for him, which, considering he didn't appear to have a whole host of options, should have been achievable - even with manager Dave Robertson on the opposite side of the negotiating table!
You have to consider what the team has lost. Fernando Alonso continues to say that he thinks Robert Kubica is the best driver of all. Maybe he's winding up Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, but if he doesn't believe it, why say it?
Raikkonen drove a two-year-old Renault at Valencia on Monday
As a replacement for Kubica, you wouldn't just seek out any old racing driver. It you want to compete for championships, it's got to be one who sets the pulses racing and motivates the team. If you look at Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes, they've all got at least one.
A guy who'd won a world championship and 18 grands prix was sitting there, wanting to drive. Rather than ask whether you dare take him, the question should perhaps have been whether you dare not. Drivers like that don't grow on trees.
The circumstances of Raikkonen's arrival in F1 first time around make me question whether Trulli will be right about him taking time to get up to speed. When he stepped out of a Formula Renault and into a Sauber at Mugello 12 years ago, it took him about 10 minutes to be on the pace. And he didn't make mistakes.
The only question is fitness and any possible overindulgence on Raikkonen's part. Someone with the fitness ethic of Michael Schumacher was unlikely to have done that, but on the other side Kimi is 32, not 43.
If you were looking for someone to step into a superior car and defend a world championship, the equation could be slightly different. But even then, there was hardly a glittering array of proven options from which to choose.
Romain Grosjean could well be the perfect foil for Raikkonen. He's quick, young and grateful for a second opportunity. If my life depended on predicting who of Lotus's duo will look better in the early races of 2012, I'd be a worried man.
Lotus hopes it gets a 2003-spec Raikkonen... © LAT
Some say that it all depends on which Kimi turns up. Will it be the 2003 McLaren one, or the 2008 Ferrari one? Many claim they were not the same man.
Then again, Ferrari people will tell you that they were astounded by the Raikkonen they found in 2007, his first year with the team. His ability to handle a car with a strong front end and sort out the rear perhaps even out-Michaeled Schumacher himself.
And despite a reputation for not being the most interested, eloquent or engaging of personalities, his immediate grasp and spare mental capacity for technical aspects of the car was amazing.
That he went through a bad patch at Ferrari is undeniable but ironically, by the time Maranello ditched him in favour of Alonso, he was driving well again - it's fair to say that perhaps he was not best suited to the tyre/handling characteristics of the 2008 car. Kimi does not get along with understeering machinery.
The man himself says that getting used to the tyres will be one of the challenges facing him, and he's perhaps unfortunate to be coming back at a time when you can't just pound around and around in testing.
It was interesting to hear Lotus technical director James Allison explain that he wouldn't have gone the way he did with last year's front-exiting exhausts if he'd had a better understanding of the Pirelli rubber at the point he had to commit to the design.
...and not the kind that appeared for Ferrari in 2008 © LAT
The team started last year well, he says, because others hadn't yet got a handle on rear blown diffusers - Red Bull and McLaren excepted - and Renault was in the vanguard with engine-mapping strategies.
As the season developed, the others caught up and overtook, and Renault was limited by its exhaust gamble and had a twitchy, difficult car lacking rear downforce.
By going a more conventional route in 2012, you'd expect a more level playing field for the team relative to 2011. And, if it does turn out to be the highly-competitive Raikkonen who turns up, Lotus has already got a driver who knows how to win a championship. And there's only five more of those on the grid.