Formula 1 Season Preview

When Formula One began again on March 15, many fans of the sport are anticipated a season as action-packed and eventful as 2014. Last year’s season saw several rule changes, including an extensive reevaluation of the engine and its components. In addition, there were some unexpected victors—fan favorite Lewis Hamilton took the championship for Mercedes, upsetting four-time winner Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull Renault.

The 2015 season will see the return of Honda to Formula One as an engine supplier to after a six year hiatus. Many fans believe the lack of a prior system to build off of will hurt the team in their first year back, and the team themselves does not expect a great run due to their lack of recent experience. However, according to the Formula One website, reserve driver Kevin Magnussen said he was “pleasantly surprised” by how smoothly the car ran.

This season will also inaugurate several rule changes as well, with an eye towards balancing the competition and eliminating the huge lead that Mercedes gained after 2014’s engine changes. These changes are accompanied by design alterations in response to Jules Bianchi’s 2014 Japanese Grand Prix accident. Bianchi remains in a coma following serious brain injuries after his car slid in underneath a piece of heavy equipment while it was removing Adrian Sutil’s damaged car from the track.

In response to the failure of the Red Bull team during the 2014 season, their number one driver Sebastian Vettel has moved to Ferrari to take the place of Fernando Alonso–questions surround whether Vettel will surpass former world champion and F1 veteran Kimi Raikkonen. Alonso has moved to McLaren and sat out the first race due to a concussion sustained during training in late February. Vettel’s vacant Red Bull seat has been taken by Daniil Kvyat, another promising young driver. His teammate is now Daniel Ricciardo, one of the only drivers who was able to challenge Mercedes in the 2014 season. In addition, this season will see the debuts of several new drivers. Scuderia Toro Rosso now consists of first-year drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.—widely regarded as two of the most promising rookies this year. Verstappen also breaks the record for youngest driver, as he is only 17.

In the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton took home the title for Mercedes, placing him first in the driver’s title ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg, who finished second, and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third. Due to early drop outs and subsequent accidents and car failures, the race started with 15 cars and concluded with 11. Because the top ten finishers gain points, only Jenson Button failed to win points. On March 29, at the Malaysia Grand Prix, Vettel won Ferrari’s first victory since 2013, prompting fans to wonder if perhaps Ferrari’s rebirth will occur this season. All in all, the conditions are correct, the drivers are prepared and the teams are ready to make this season one for the record books.