The much vaunted different aero kits for the Dallara though still look some way off (if indeed they will ever arrive!).
The driver line up is the usual mix of veterans and rookies. The team driver line ups, and class of 2013, are:
A.J Foyt Enterprises (Honda)
With Mike Conway's brave decision to admit he is no longer willing to race on ovals, AJ Foyt have signed Takuma Sato. Having watched Sato in his British F3 days, I have a soft spot for him. Watching him dominate in British F3 in the then less fancied Carlin Racing team was spectacular. This spectacular approach to racing does see him get involved in the odd incident but you know if the opportunity arises he is going to go for it. AJ Foyt may only be a small team but I expect him to put some impressive performances on the road and street races with some impressive overtaking on the way. I'd also watch for him when standing starts are used.
Andretti Autosport (Chevrolet)
Andretti keep Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and the reigning champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay. They have also added EJ Viso and, for Indy, Carlos Munoz.
Marco Andretti has been in the team for a few years now but doesn't seem to have progressed and is generally in the midfield. He does like to moan and throw his teddy out of the pram on occasion so expect a few radio messages to this effect over the season.
James Hinchcliffe is definitely the biggest character in the Indycar paddock and many drivers should learn from him on this. Too many drivers sound bland in interviews, quoting sponsors and talking without saying anything. In terms of his driving, he has shown significant improvement in the series and I'd be surprised if he hasn't won at least one race by the end of the season.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has been around a while but last year was his standout year. I don't see him at the same level as Will Power but I expect he will win races this year. I don't see him repeating the championship win though.
EJ Viso doesn't seem to be rated by many. He can be quick and, in an Andretti car, I'd be surprised if wasn't in the top 3 in at least a couple of races (probably road courses). He is quick on ovals but does seem to like to get affectionate with the wall too many times. Fortunately these affectionate moments are not as violent as his Magny-Cours GP2 crash a few years ago.
Carlos Munoz is only for Indy and I'd expect him to be the slowest of the Andretti cars there.
Barracuda Racing (Honda)
Alex Tagliani is retained. Despite his veteran status he is guilty of a few brain fade moments. Nevertheless I'd expect a few top 6 results out of him on the road and street courses. Also expect someone to complain about his driving.
Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda)
Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball are all retained with Graham Rahal leaving for his Father's team.
Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon are a part of the furniture at Chip Ganassi. They will always be a factor and wins are guaranteed. Dario is the bigger personality of the two but Scott can be unbeatable on his day and will be hoping to bounce back this year. I have a hunch Dixon will be ahead at the end of the year.
Charlie Kimball had some highlights last year but was largely a midfield runner. I'd expect more of the same with any highlights on the road and street courses. A crash or two is also likely.
Dale Coyne Racing (Honda)
Justin Wilson is retained and for once has some continuity with a team. Dale Coyne are not the biggest team but they have had more highlights in recent years and I would not be surprised if Justin scored a win or two. As a fellow Yorkshireman, I've followed him throughout his career and I'm hoping the continuity will help him. hey do need to work on ovals but this will depend on the budget available.
Ana Beatriz has been drafted in very late to the team and initial practice suggests she is going to struggle.
Dragon Racing (Chevrolet)
This team seemed to be in the news a lot over the off season and not usually for good reasons. They have formed Team Seb with Sebastian Saavedra joining Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais will clearly be the team leader and I wouldn't be surprised if he won a street or road course race. In his Champ Car domination I was more a PT fan but a Bourdais win would be welcomed in my household. Saavedra on the other hand will be keeping Jakes company at the back.
Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevrolet)
Ed Carpenter remains the sole driver. As he will admit, he is an oval driver. He will no doubt challenge the bigger teams on the ovals but will struggle on the road and street courses. He is getting better on the road and street courses but he is no Will Power.
KV Racing Technology (Chevrolet)
Tony Kanaan is retained with Simona de Silvestro added.
As a veteran of the series, Tony is a safe pair of hands and, on ovals in particular, can be spectacular on the opening lap of the race. I can't see him reclaiming the form that took him to the 2004 championship but he will be thereabouts and a win is not out of the question.
After an impressive maiden season, Simona had a nightmare season last year with the uncompetitive Lotus engine. Her form this year should be like night and day from 2012. I rate her higher than Danica and I think she should prove this theory correct this year.
Panther Racing (Chevrolet)
The days of Panther being championship challengers with Sam Hornish Jr seem a long time ago. Panther can be competitive on their day and with JR Hildebrand they should be able to produce some good oval performances. Road and street courses are likely to see them more in the midfield.
Panther Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Honda)
Panther retain veteran Oriol Servia as their sole driver. He is probably not as quick as he was but he is a safe pair of hands who will get the car to the chequered flag. Top 6 performances are possible though these are less likely on the ovals.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Chevrolet)
The team has expanded this year to field Graham Rahal, James Jakes and, for Long Beach, Mike Conway.
Graham Rahal is on a similar level to Marco Andretti (probably slightly better). He doesn't have teddy throwing moments but he is guilty of being anonymous. Will be largely in the midfield.
James Jakes is the slower of the three and will be propping up the field mostly.
Mike Conway will be quick at Long Beach but with his decision to not race on ovals it is hard to see a long term career in Indycar. I have much respect for his decision and he has the ability to make a decent career in say sportscars like ex Penske man Ryan Briscoe.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (Honda)
Ex fan favourite, Sarah Fisher, fields a single car again for Josef Newgarden. I watched Josef in Formula Ford in the UK many times and he looked like a talent there. His rise to Indycar has been rapid and his debut season was respectable. I like this team and think they are capable of giving the top teams some headaches on occasion this year.
Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports (Honda)
The Schmidt team has been the team to be in in Indy Lights for some time and, with Simon Pagenaud they looked good at times last year. Simon has been retained and is joined by Tristan Vautier.
I rate Simon Pagenaud highly and wins are definitely possible. Look out for him at re-starts and the standing starts.
I watched Tristan in Formula Palmer Audi in the UK only a few years ago and he has taken to American racing very quickly. Over the season he will probably be behind Simon in the standings but he has potential to be an Indycar star and will run Simon close on occasion. His practice pace at St Pete was impressive.
Team Penske (Chevrolet)
Penske are not known for changing the driver line up often. Helio Castroneves and Will Power are retained but Ryan Briscoe has left and is doing rather well in sportscars. AJ Allmendinger is going to join for at least two races.
Helio is a great character for Indycar and loves his racing. 2012 was not his finest year and I expect him to bounce back this year. He can win on any circuit and more wins will follow this season. Sadly his chance to win the championship may have passed him by.
Will Power is The Man in Indycar when it comes to road and street courses. His qualifying on these is equally brilliant. His oval performances are his weaker side but are not as bad as many believe. He is my favourite for the championship.
AJ Allmendinger is back for at least two races. He would have surely have been an Indycar champion had he not moved to NASCAR and would have definitely given Bourdais and Paul Tracy something to think about. Sadly the NASCAR adventure has not worked out entirely to plan but I don't think he has given up on the NASCAR dream and his drives in the #51 this year have been good. AJ could well be a factor in the Indy 500.
Further entries will no doubt be added during the season (particularly at the Indy 500). Enjoy Indycar 2013 and I will report of St Pete events.