The F1 road show returns to our TV screens this weekend at Albert Park in Melbourne.
There has been some speculation in relation driver line ups over the winter testing period. The Driver line up for the start of the season is as follows:
- Mercedes have retained the championship winning line up in Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
- Williams have also retained their driver line up of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa after a successful return to the top end of the grid.
- McLaren retain Jenson Button after some speculation to whether or not he would have a race seat for the upcoming season and also Fernando Alonso has rejoined the team although he will miss the opening race of the season due to a crash in Barcelona, meaning reserve driver Kevin Magnussen will replace the Spaniard for the first race.
- Red Bull Racing have retained Daniel Ricciardo after his very successful outing with the team last season even gaining 2 well deserved victories and the team have brought Daniil Kvyat up from the sister team Toro Rosso.
- Ferrari have retained Kimi Raikonnen and have signed Sebastian Vettel to drive for “The Prancing Horse” in 2015.
- Force India have retained their driver line up of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.
- Toro Rosso have taken a risk in bringing a very inexperienced rookie into the team this season, Max Verstappen was first brought to our attention last season at the tender age of 17, he has had only 1 season of single seaters under his belt and there is some speculation to whether or not he’s ready for the pressures of Formula 1. In contrast, Carlos Sainz Jr has had several years in the lower formulas leading up to F1 where he became the youngest champion in Formula Renault 3.5 earning his place in the Toro Rosso team.
- Lotus have retained line up of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean.
- Marussia against all odds have returned to the F1 grid this season and will use 2015-legal cars and will have a 2015 car prepared later in the year. The Driver line up has not been confirmed as yet.
- Sauber have brought in Marcus Ericsson from Caterham and the rookie Felipe Nasr after a successful drive in GP2 finishing 3rd overall and the appointed test and reserve driver for the Williams team in 2014.
With The addition of Mexico to this years calendar, it will only be the second time in the illustrious history of F1 that there has been 20 races in a single season.
Also there have been a number of changes to the rules and regulations. Most notably the limit of power units available has now dropped from 5 to 4. Also the double points finale has been dropped as has the proposed standing starts after safety car periods. The virtual safety car has been approved for this season after successful trials in the closing races of last season. If a race is red flagged then the drivers will proceed slowly to the pit lane and not to the grid.
With all of this in mind, this season is to close to call a definite winner. If January is the benchmark then, Mercedes have another fight amongst their own drivers to the championship with Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams in close competition whilst McLaren are in trouble.
Overall, we are in for a very entertaining season of F1 racing and I for one will be up early Sunday morning to watch the opening race.
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