Michael Schumacher casts shadow over Formula One circus
Telegraph Sport: where the debate gets started
The soap opera returns. It is hard to remember a Formula One season starting in quite the same circumstances as this one.
The sport's greatest champion, Michael Schumacher, lies comatose in a hospital bed, its chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, is fighting for his professional life in a German court, the champion of the past four years, Sebastian Vettel, is strapped to a Red Bull emasculated by radical changes; oh, and Ron Dennis is back.
The convergence of Vettel and Red Bull by increments squeezed the life out of the sport. Last season's procession to a fourth consecutive world championship left even the diehards screaming for mercy.
Suddenly great drivers rendered impotent by the steely brilliance of Vettel and the automotive genius of Adrian Newey have an opportunity to resurrect careers.
Lewis Hamilton's move to an uncertain Mercedes a year ago looks inspired now. Perhaps the team's biggest challenge will be keeping Hamilton and Nico Rosberg from each other's throats.
So the pieces that have been up in the air all winter are about to fall on Melbourne. The big teams will adjust fastest to the new environment and order shall eventually emerge from the chaos.
Will it be Hamilton or Rosberg, Alonso or Raikkonen, Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen – or will fate hand Massa the trophy it stole from him at Interlagos in 2008?
In a sense none of it matters. One word from Schumacher that tells the world there is a way out of that tragic and unfathomable silence trumps any outcome on the track.