This year’s Formula One season will begin this Sunday (March 20th) down under in Australia, where current World Champion Lewis Hamilton will be looking to get the defence of his title off to a strong start with a win in Melbourne.
Hamilton has a chance to make it three years in a row at the top of the leaderboard, but close rivals Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel will be itching to stop the Englishman. Rosberg, who is a teammate of Lewis at Mercedes, will be looking to continue his phenomenal form from the end of last season when he won the final three races from pole position.
With a whopping 21 races between now and the end of the season, we’re in for an unpredictable year! Here are a few things to look out for:
The 2015 F1 season was a wild ride that will live long in the memory, but it was dominated by two teams: Ferrari and Mercedes. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were the top two for much of the season, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was always a threat and showed the development he has made with his team through massive wins at Malaysia, Singapore and Hungary.
However, Hamilton reigned supreme and put in arguably his best season ever on the circuit, comfortably securing the title at the US Grand Prix in Texas with three more races remaining in the calendar.
Despite being on the same team, Hamilton and Rosberg have had a frosty relationship for a few years now. Mercedes warned the two about their future conduct in 2014 and, last season, it was clear that Rosberg staked his claim to be Mercedes’ number one driver. Did the German’s three wins at the end of the season suggest a changing of the guard, or was Hamilton simply taking it easy after winning the championship early?
Each season we see numerous team changes take place. With every team looking to break the status quo, there are many changes on the way for the 2016 season.
Most notably, Haas F1 will join the grid as an American team and their cars will pack a punch, with power units being supplied by Ferrari. Romain Grosjean has joined the team from Lotus, alongside Esteban Gutierrez, who was Ferrari’s test and reserve driver last season. As well as this, Brit Jolyon Palmer has joined Renault alongside a driver who has previously shown great potential, Kevin Magnussen.
The European Grand Prix returns in 2016 after being left off the calendar for the last four years, being hosted at a new street circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The German Grand Prix also makes it’s comeback at Hockenheim having been controversially cancelled last year. A high speed, exciting and competitive track - we're glad to see it back!
A big talking point over the past few seasons has been the ever-changing rules. This year drivers will not only have to get used to a brand new circuit in Azerbaijan, but will have to ensure they understand and stick to some tweaks in the rules, with a new exhaust layout required that allows the option of using a twinpipe for the wastegate. As well as this, competitors can now use five power units over the course of the season. These technical amendments shouldn't make much of a difference to the fan experience, however, the addition of the virtual safety car and a revision in qualifying will see a new elimination system put in place, retaining the idea of three seperate qualifying segments but with changes in the format.
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If you’re excited for the upcoming season, and can't wait to get closer to the action, take a look at our packages for all the major European races as well as Canada and Abu Dhabi.