The 2015 F1 Season is nearly upon us, and the 66th Championship is looking very exciting.
Who can forget the 2014 season where our own Lewis Hamilton clinched the title in the final race of the year ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg?
This year will see 3 British drivers take to the track, as reigning champ Lewis Hamilton is joined again on the grid by Jenson Button, and 23-year old Will Stevens who will be driving for the new (although technically old) Manor F1 team.
As far as the other driver changes go there can be no more bigger one than the 3 time World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s move from Red Bull to Ferrari. This then set the transfer merry go round into full swing, and Vettel replaced Spaniard Fernando Alonso who then moved to McLaren and bumped Kevin Magnussen back down the test driver role (although Magnussen will drive in the first race of the season after Alonso crashed heavily in testing a few weeks ago), as Brit Jensen Button kept his place in the team.
Vettle then had to be replaced at his now previous team, so Red Bull dipped into their vast pool of drivers and promoted Russian Daniil Kvyat from the feeder team Toro Rosso (as Daniel Ricciardo had been the previous season) in a bold move, as his best ever finish in an F1 car is 9th. His place was taken by Carlos Sainz Jr – the son of formula double World Rally Championship driver Carlos Sainz Sr.
Speaking of Toro Rosso, the other big driver talking point over the winter was the signing of Max Verstappen, who is set to become at the age of 17 the youngest driver in the history of F1. He too has a racing Dad in the form of Jos Verstappen, whom for all he was a 9 year verteran of the sport is best remembered for catching fire in spectacular fashion at the German GP in 1994, although for all he only achieved 2 podium finishes in that time is still the most successful Dutch driver of all time.
There have been a number of technical changes, but with most too complicated and boring we won’t go into detail, apart from to say that the teams are now only allowed to change the power unit 4 times during the season, and the nose cones will now all be of a similar style, after some of the weird and wonderful ones we saw last year.
A lot of the changes have been made with money saving in mind after the disappointment last season where British teams Marussia and Caterham both failed to finish the season, and ended up in administration.
And whereas most of the technical changes have been dominated by finance, most of the race changes have been brought about with safety in mind where the crash of Jules Bianchi is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
5 Races have had their start times brought forward, so that there is no chance of dusk falling whilst the cars are still out there, and there are numerous time penalties that can be occurred for a whole host of reasons.
Oh and there are no double points available at the final race this season, in no small part due to the criticism of last year.
The 20 race season (it will be 19 if the Germans can’t work out which circuit to hold their event at) opens on Sunday 15th March with the Australian Grand Prix at the Melbourne Circuit, and ends on 29th November at the Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mexican Grand Prix is also making a return for the first time in over 20 years.
If the pre season testing is anything to go it already looks like everyone will be chasing the Mercedes again, as Hamilton and Roseberg led all the times, although there us very little to separate the team mates.
Of course we know that nothing is ever that straight forward in Formula 1, and there is sure to be a few twists and turns……quite literally.