It’s that time of the year again when we’re getting ready for racing in the FIA Formula One World Championship. It feels like only yesterday that we saw Lewis Hamilton win the 2014 World Championship in Abu Dhabi, but between then and now so many things has changed for the 66th F1 season. Let’s take a look at what we can expect this year.
We’ve seen a couple of changes to the rules with the most prominent changes being the reduction in the number of power units to be use throughout the season from five to four .as well as the drop of the controversial “double points” for the last race of the season. The FIA also clarified the rules on the design of the nose-cone, eliminating the terribly ugly looking finger-shaped cones which hurt our eyes 2014.
In terms of the calendar, we see the upgraded Mexico City track back on the schedule for the first time since 1992, which means we’ll have 20 races to look forward to this season. The German Grand Prix is still to be finalised as a decision is to be taken between Hockenheim and the Nurburgring.
We also see Honda making a return to Formula One by supplying engines to McLaren and Lotus also changed engine suppliers from Renault to Mercedes.
The Driver changes has been the biggest talking point during the off-season with Fernando Alonso returning to McLaren and four-time World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, taking the spaniard’s seat at Ferrari. The young Russian sensation Daniil Kvyat joins Daniel Ricciardo to take Vettel’s spot at Red Bull. Max Verstappen, son of former F1 driver Jos, will be making his debut for the Toro Rosso team and at just 17 years old, is set to become the youngest ever Formula One driver.
This season is set to be a very exciting one with everyone expecting the “chasing pack” to close the gap to the dominant Mercedes team. I still expect the Silver Arrows to lead the way, but will we see Nico Rosberg putting up a stronger fight against Lewis Hamilton and will the team-dynamics and their sometimes shaky relationship play a role in 2015?
With Sebastian Vettel coming off a very mediocre 2014 and being outdriven by his less experienced team mate in most races, will he be able to find some form at Ferrari? And will Alonso be able to turn his fortunes around at McLaren and how will the team orders work with all the teams having mostly equally skilled and experienced driver linups?
Australia, and Melbourne in particular, will be buzzing as they are already on a high with the Cricket World Cup in town and we can be sure to see the “fever” in the crowd. Albert Park has a fast and flowing 5.3 kilometer street circuit which is the perfect setting for the start of the season. Last year Nico Rosberg took the chequered flag, but he is up against a much more determined grid. I expect a dog-fight Down Under.