This time of year in the life of a Formula 1 mechanic can be a difficult period. The amount of work that goes into simply getting your two cars to the first race can be soul destroying. Even more so is the realisation that the weeks and months of relentless effort and long hours may not necessarily correlate with the team's level of success, or lack of.
As the cars roll out in February no one really knows how good or bad they'll be. How reliable? How responsive to changes? How easy to work on? How easy to drive? How fast?
The team waits with bated breath as the driver returns from his maiden run, albeit just a simple installation lap. Does he have a smile on his face? Are his comments positive? With his vast experience, can he tell us anything at all from just one lap?