Thursday, 11 December 2014

Special feature - The changing face of Formula One for 2015, new era's and 'exciting opportunities' ahead

(Sauber F1 Team)

The 2015 Formula One season is set to be mouth-watering following the news on Thursday that Fernando Alonso will partner Jenson Button at McLaren-Honda.

The pair form the most experienced partnership on the grid for 2015 as McLaren embark on their ‘exciting’ new partnership with Honda. Button and Alonso have a combined total of 504 Grand Prix starts, 47 victories, eight pole positions and 147 podiums finishes.

Button goes into his 16th season in Formula One, his sixth with the Woking based outfit.
The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team go into the 2015 season with an unchanged line-up with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg retained for a third year. 

Hamilton goes in search of his second consecutive world championship, while Rosberg is aiming for his first ever Drivers championship having been extremely unlucky to miss out on the title in 2014 after a completely dominant season for the Brackley based outfit.

Scuderia Ferrari are the most experienced team when it comes to world championship victories, as Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel have five between them. Vettel joins the Italian team following a tough 2014 campaign with Infiniti Red Bull Racing after dominating Formula One from 2010 – 2013.

The German has already begun work with the Maranello based outfit as they look to bounce back from what has been an extremely disappointing 2014 season.

The team expect there to be no problems between their drivers and neither do Raikkonen or Vettel as they are friends off the track and they see no complications arising from that fact. Vettel have even suggested that could help the team in 2015.

Will Vettel beat Raikkonen? Only time will tell. The Finn has the advantage of having been with Ferrari for the first season of the new regulations, whereas Vettel comes in having spent so long in the Red Bull programme. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

At Infiniti Red Bull Racing Daniel Ricciardo steps up to the role of lead driver having proven to the team he was capable of beating Vettel as he came into the team and in his first season with them finished in third place in the champion. 

Ricciardo took three victories compared to none from Vettel. Daniil Kvyat makes the step up to the Red Bull senior team after just one year in Formula One.

Will that gamble pay off for the team? We’ll have to wait and see but after losing Peter Pedromou to McLaren and with Adrian Newey taking a back seat the team are spending the winter undergoing a technical reshuffle. Despite their struggles this season, Infiniti Red Bull Racing finished the season in second place in the championship.

The Williams Martini Racing Team did a fantastic job this season finishing the year in third place in the Constructors championship. The Grove based team collected nine podium finishes. The team will retain the same line-up for 2015 after Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were both confirmed at the Italian Grand Prix in September.

Felipe Massa will be hoping to carry the momentum he had from the final two Grand Prix of 2014 forward to next year. The Brazilian will be hoping that he will be in a position to beat his team following a difficult start to the 2014 season. At Sahara Force India, they have an unchanged line up where Nico Hulkenberg heads into the 2015 F1 season hoping to secure his first podium finish.

The German had a fantastic 2014 season for the Silverstone based outfit and finished ahead of team mate Sergio Perez in the championship despite the fact that the Mexican picked up a podium finish at the Bahrain night race.

The Lotus F1 Team are hoping that making the switch from Renault to Mercedes will pay off for them next season, just like it did for the Williams team in 2014. With the Enstone outfit having a new power unit it makes sense that they are retaining both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. The team will be hoping for a massive improvement on the performance from 2014 which saw them score just ten points. Finishing the season in 8th place.

It is going to be an extremely interesting season for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, as they will field two Formula One newcomers. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr join the Italian outfit replacing Daniil Kvyat and Jean Eric Vergne. Both drivers have some Formula One experience as Verstappen drove in a handful of Free Practice sessions towards the end of the 2014 season while Carlos Sainz Jr previously drove for Infiniti Red Bull Racing as a test driver.

Finally of the team’s we know will be on the grid next season, the Sauber F1 Team will also field a brand new line up. Marcus Ericsson joins the team after resigning from the Caterham F1 Team while Brazilian Felipe Nasr will make his Formula One race debut for the Swiss based team having joined from Sauber.

The 2015 Formula One season is going to be absolutely unreal, and in time at all we will hear those famous words ‘IT’S LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!’ There are only 13 weeks until the opening race of the season in Melbourne, Australia, and I for one, can’t wait!

© Ben Johnston 2014

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