The off-season got over in a heartbeat. HT gives you a primer for the March to November spectacle.
What’s new?A little less crowded:
HRT F1’s unfortunate demise means that there will be 11 teams and 22 cars on the grid for the Australian GP.
It also means that for the first time since 2009, there will be no Indian driver.
‘Knockout’ rules: Due to there being two fewer cars on the grid, it will mean that the six slowest cars will be knocked out after the first of three segments of qualifying.
DRS restrictions: Not the cricket DRS. This stands for Drag Reduction System that was introduced in 2011 to make it easier to overtake. The use of these systems will be restricted to designated areas on a track.
Nose jobs: Fans would have noticed a distinct ‘step’ in the noses of F1 cars last year that weren’t exactly on the pretty side. These can now be covered up by teams if they wish to do so.
What’s the same?
Rules are rules: The technical regulations will remain largely unchanged prior to slight cosmetic changes and a massive overhaul of engine regulations in 2014. It will be the last year that 2.4-litre, V-8 engines will be used. From next year, F1 tracks will roar to the sound of 1.6-litre, V-6 turbocharged engines.
The pecking order: Historically, stability in the regulations usually leads to a maintainence of the status quo in F1. Think back to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari’s clear dominance from 2001 to 2004 before a major shift in tyre regulations in 2005. So expect it to be a close run thing between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso this year.
Cut-throat competition: Seven different drivers won the first seven races of last year’s season and there wasn’t an occassion where you could say the driver in question didn’t deserve it. All those drivers are still in F1 and hungrier than ever to outdo each other.
A little offbeat
Who’s following who?: Lewis Hamilton has taken to Twitter to the point that he tweeted a photo of his car’s performance data from the Belgian Grand Prix last year. He has continued to give a window to his volatile nature to the public through the micro-blogging site and has ‘unfollowed’ ex-teammate Jenson Button after Hamilton left.
‘Hungry Heidi’: Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel has a habit of giving his cars a moniker and the one for this year’s car has been inspired by German supermodel Heidi Klum.
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