This year will see the 65th season of Formula One Grand Prix Motor Racing, which is recognised by the sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) as the highest class of competition for open wheel racing cars.
Twelve teams and (hopefully) 24 drivers will compete in nineteen races for the World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships.
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Sebastian Vettel starts the season as the defending drivers’ champion after winning his fourth consecutive title last term, while his team, Red Bull, will begin the campaign as the defending Constructors’ Champions, having also won their fourth consecutive championship in 2013.
Teams and drivers
On 10 January 2014, the FIA released this provisional entry list for the 2014 season.
Red Bull-Renault: Sebastian Vettel/Daniel Ricciardo
Mercedes: Nico Rosberg/Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonnen/Fernando Alonso
Lotus: Romain Grosjean/Pastor Maldonado
Force India/Mercedes: Sergio Perez/Nico Hulkenberg
Marussia/Ferrari: Jules Bianchi/Max Chilton
Williams/Mercedes: Felipe Massa/Valtteri Bottas
McLaren/Mercedes: Kevin Magnussen/Jensen Button
Sauber/Ferrari: Esteban Gutierrez/Adrian Sutil
Toro Rosso/Renault: Jean-Eric Vergne/Daniil Kvvat
* Giedo van der Garde, Heikke Kovalainen, Marcus Ericsson, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta were five of the drivers without a team as at last weekend.
Formula One Schedule
Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
Sepang, Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
Sakir International Circuit, Bahrain
Shanghai International Circuit, China
Circuit of Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Circuit de Monte Carlo, Monaco
Gilles Villeneuve Circiot, Montreal, Canada
Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria
Silverstone Circuit, England (GB)
Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Germany
Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary
Circuit de Spa-Francorpchamps, Belgium
Sazuka Circuit, Japan
International Street Circuit, Sochi, Russia
Circuit of Americas, Austin, Texas, USA
Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
The Russian Grand Prix will take place on a street circuit inside the Sochi Olympic Park.
Red Bull reached an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone to revive the Austrian Grand Prix after a 10-year absence. The race will be held at the Red Bull Ring which previously hosted the Austrian Grand Prix in 2003 when the circuit was known as the A1-Ring.
The Bahrain Grand Prix will be a twilight event, under lights, similar to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Hockenheimring returns to host the German Grand Prix.
Mid-season car testing is back. Four European venues will each host a two-day test in the week following the Grand Prix held a chosen circuit.
The end-of-season ‘Young Driver’ Tests have been discontinued.
The penalty system has been overhauled, so as to improve driving standards, with the introduction of a ‘penalty points’ system for driving offences which will carry a pre-determined points value based on their severity. These points will be tallied up over the course of the season, with a driver receiving a race ban after accumulating 12 penalty points.
Any driver who received a race ban will also receive an additional five penalty points on his return to the track – a form of probation if you like, to discourage further driving offences. All points will remain on a driver’s licence for 12 months.
Race stewards will have the power to hand out five-second penalties – including a drive-through.
A car will be allowed five engine changes during 2014 (it was eight last year). Each engine must be divided into individual elements, including the turbocharger, ERS unit and KERS battery.
If a driver receives a grid penalty for engine abuse, he will go to the back of the grid and the penalty will be carried over to the next race. For example: if a driver qualifies in 19th position and receives a five-place grid penalty, he will drop to 22nd and last place for that race, and then receive an additional two-place penalty in the next Grand Prix.
After the incidents involving tyres during 2013, which resulted in a string of explosive blow-outs, especially at the British Grand Prix, the FIA has passed a resolution granting the teams the power to change the specifications of the tyres with immediate effect should the need arise.
The pit lane speed limit has been reduced from 100 km/h (62 mph) to 80 km/h (50 mph).
The initial free practice session before each Grand Prix will now run for two hours (not 90 minutes). And an extra set of tyres will only be available for the first 30 minutes of the session, to encourage more running during free practice.
If a driver does not complete a full qualifying session, he will be assigned a grid position based on the average time of his practice laps – meaning he could start the race in 9th or 10th place.
The FIA has also introduced the ‘Pole Trophy’ – a non-championship award presented to the driver who qualifies on pole for the most races.
The final race of the season will offer double points to drivers in a bid to keep the championship fight alive for longer.
Sit, watch and enjoy, it will be another interesting year of Formula One racing… and once again, the German superstar Sebastian Vettel is red-hot favourite with the bookies to win his fifth title in a row. I will think he’ll be there or thereabouts. His Red Bull team is simply the best.
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