Zee Media Bureau/Jayanta Oinam
New Delhi: Finally, the 2014 Formula One season will begin with the first pre-season testing at Circuito de Jerez, near Barcelona in Spain. With the premier motor-sports event in the world witnessing one of the biggest overhauls in its history this season, the pre-season tests will be of paramount importance of all the outfits, irrespective of where they stood last year.
The major absentee at the season`s first test will be Lotus. The Enstone-based team, which finished fourth in last season have opted not to travel to focus on development. However, for Mercedes, the occasion will be used to unveil their new challenger. Like the German marquee, Champions Red Bull Racing, and two struggling teams – Marussia and Caterham will also launch their news cars at Jerez.
Sahara Force India, Williams, Lotus, McLaren, Ferrari and Sauber have already unveiled their challengers online. However, Toro Rosso have chosen to unviel their car on the eve of the first pre-season testing.
Following the Jerez test, teams will have two more tests, both at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on 19-22 February and 27 February-2 March. The first race of the season will be held in Australia, at Albert Park on Sunday 16 March.
In the 65th season, since its inauguration in 1950, there will be 11 teams and will be competed over 19 rounds, with the re-introduction of the Russian Grand Prix, to be held at Sochi and the Austrian Grand Prix at the famous A1-Ring, now known as Red Bull Ring. These two races replaced the Korean and Indian events.