F1 Returns: New Rules and How They Affect The Sport

The excitement is building as this weekend F1 returns for a new season and it brings with it arguably the biggest rules changes in the sport's history. The 2014-15 season - which kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Victoria Park - will see new 'greener' engines, safer cars and a refreshed points system. Here's the low down on what to expect:

F1 2014 Rules

Looking at the F1 cars of 2014 you may notice some aesthetic differences to their ancestors of seasons past. Firstly, the noses of the vehicles have been lowered by 415mm to improve the safety of drivers - a good thing by all accounts. The new designs have came under some criticism however, with haters describing them as 'giant anteaters' - personally I've never seen an anteater hurtling round at over 200mph.

Secondly, the cars' engines have been decreased in size in a bid to cut down on fuel consumption and make the sport more environmentally friendly. This new rule sets out that drivers must complete the race on just 100kg (130 litres) of fuel - about 20kg less than average fuel consumption of last season. Fans shouldn't worry about this being detrimental to overall speeds of the cars though, as there are plenty of hybrid technologies which can be used to make sure the cars are still as fast and entertaining as ever.

One of the more controversial rules changes is the introduction of a new points system. By awarding double points to the winner of the season's final race, the big-wigs at F1 hope it will put a halt to campaigns being decided with a handful races still to go. This will come as terrible news for Red Bull's unstoppable Sebastian Vettel, who has taken the last four drivers' titles and dominated the score cards.

F1 2014 Rules

Drivers will also now feel the wrath of five-second penalties for minor offences on the track. As well, points will be given to drivers depending on the severity of their misfortunes, any driver who notches up 12 points in a season will receive an automatic one race ban. This may sound dramatic, but if this rule had been in place over the last few years no drivers would have been banned. Better to be safe than sorry though.

Finally, and least controversial of all, drivers will now have responsibility of choosing their own race number.  Number 1 will be reserved for the current reigning champion should he wish to choose it, but it will be interesting to see how many choose  Number 13 in the seasons to come.

Hopefully this has cleared the rule changes up for you and you can watch this weekend's race with the happiness of knowing exactly what is going on.

For more great images of the 2014 new season cars, check out CNN’s pretty impressive album here.