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We put our ear to the track and throw a spotlight on some of the points to keep an eye out for this year
Posted Tuesday, 10/03/2015 at 11:48 AM
We put our ear to the track and throw a spotlight on some of the points to keep an eye out for this year
 
We put our ear to the track and throw a spotlight on some of the points to keep an eye out for this year

The Power Pair
Arguably the topic of the year and the focus of immense hype is the rekindling of the oncelegendary McLaren-Honda outfit. Responsible for one of the most dominant periods in Formula 1 history, the five-year partnership produced four World Drivers’ Championships, four World Constructors’ Championships, 53 pole positions and an incredible 44 race wins from the inimitable pairing of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

The two drivers hold an almost mythical status in the sport – their rivalry a legend in its own right. Returning to the McLaren stable after an eight-year gap is El Nano aka Fernando Alonso, driving alongside 2009 World Champion Jensen Button. A powerful lineup, the two drivers are among the most experienced on the grid and expected to light up tracks around the world this year.

Can Alonso and Button live up to the explosive Senna-Prost pairing from the golden age of F1? Will the victories flow like they once did? Only time will tell.

 

The Young Bulls
Ready to smash a slew of records when he starts on the grid in Melbourne is Max Verstappen, one half of the new Torro Rosso lineup. The 17-year-old joined the Red Bull Junior Team in 2014 and was promptly elevated to the elite just days later.

He will make his F1 debut as the youngest driver to start a world championship race, with a teammate only a few years older than him – Carlos Sainz Jr at 20 years old who won the highly competitive Formula Renault 3.5 series last year and has been compared to Senna by some. Though hugely talented and full of potential, will the two young drivers have the maturity and racing experience necessary to take on their more experienced opposition?

Can Torro Rosso glean the information needed to improve its cars from the freshmen? Watch this space.

 

To Infinity and Beyond?
With Sebastian Vettel seeded to Ferrari, Red Bull Infiniti Racing is placing its hopes in the hands of the ‘smiling assassin’ – Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian will spearhead the charge after a superb rookie season with Red Bull last season.

He secured a respectable third place in the drivers’ championship as well as picking up three Grand Prix first places – in Canada, Hungary and Belgium. Joining the team is young Russian hotshot, Daniil Kvyat. The 20-yearold impressed for sister team Toro Rosso last season, finishing 15th in the World Championship, and stands as one of the most exciting young new talents on the grid this year.

Asked about how he feels on the upcoming season, the Russian replied: “I’ll do what I know, which is to drive fast”.

 

Rule Changes
Following one of the shortest off-season periods in history – a mere 10 weeks from the last race in 2014 to the first practise laps around the Jerez circuit – the FIA are also introducing a few game changers this year. For one, the double points awarded to winners of the final race have been dropped.

The new rule was met with some hostility last year, so a revert back to the previous status quo has been welcomed. Visually speaking, the cars’ nose designs will see the most change, in a bid to do away with some of the less eye-catching designs that appeared on the track last season. Lower tips and broader widths will ensure smoother and better-looking noses.

Although regulations have been tightened in this area, there is still scope for movement as illustrated by the varying designs the teams have come up with for this season.

 

Track News
Returning to the F1 fold after a 23-year hiatus is the modified Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico. All corners on the circuit have been upgraded and tightened to accommodate the race, from the sweeping threepronged chicane at the start to the high-speed esses in the middle of the track which should prove a formidable point for overtaking. Meanwhile, the German Grand Prix returns to the Nürburgring, continuing its rotation policy with Hockenheim.

 
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