2015 Formula 1 season preview
Last season of Formula 1 Championship wasn’t so exciting and main expectation of the new season could be to see more drivers in battle for the title. Mercedes was almost untouchable last year clinching Constructors’ Championship and taking first two places in Drivers’ Championship. Lewis Hamilton will defend the title while Nico Rosberg will try to take off a crown from his team mate.
As usual, season will start in Australia on March 15th and ending in Abu Dhabi on November 29th. Total of 20 races will be held, one more than in previous year. After 22 years of absence, Mexican GP is installed back, while the German GP is likely to be held at Hockenheim instead of Nurburgring.
Nine of eleven teams filled their line ups with some exciting changes compared to last season. After 15 years with Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel left the team and joined Ferrari in the place of Fernando Alonso who returned to McLaren after seven years. Jenson Button will stay as a second driver of the team, while Kevin Magnussen retained as a test driver.
Red Bull promoted Daniil Kvyat from Toro Rosso to fill Vettel’s place and make a partnership with Daniel Ricciardo. Toro Rosso overhauled their line-up bringing in Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. Sauber also have new drivers. Adrian Sutill and Esteban Gutierrez lost their places and they were replaced with Marcus Ericsson from Caterham and Felipe Nasr, former Williams’ test driver.
Two teams are still wihout drivers for the new season, Caterham and Manor F1, while the destiny of the latter is still in doubt.
Few technical regulations will be changed again. Minimum weight of the cars is increased to 702 kilograms, the anti-intrusion panels on both sides have been extended upwards to the rim of the cockpit and alongside the driver’s head, while the noses of the cars also will apply some changes. The number of power units that driver may use in a season is decreased from five to four and the manufacturers are allowed to perform half of the engine development from the last year.
Main change in sporting regulations is withdrawal of double points at the last race in the season. Another change is if a race is suspended, the cars will no longer line up on the grid, but will slowly proceed to the pit lane instead. Pit exit will be closed and the first car to arrive in the pit lane will proceed to the exit with the other lining up behind the first one. A new ten second penalty will be introduced and served in the same manner as five second penalty. The qualifying procedure has been further clarified. It means that number of cars which will be eliminated in each qualifying round depends of the number of cars in starting grid.
Honda will return in Formula 1 in 2015 as a engine supplier for the McLaren team with which had partnership from 1988 until 1992. Lotus also changed engine supplier ending partnership with Renault and opting for the Mercedes instead. Marussia team finally closed down, but Manor F1 Team which inherited a licence, is still on the provisional list.