Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
Melbourne: The new Formula One season will kick-off with the Australian Grand Prix on March 16 when the inaugural race takes place in one of the traditional circuits at Albert Park.
It will also start a new era in F1 with its turbocharged V6 engines and host of changes in rules and regulations. Unlike the previous seasons, wherein the Red Bull Racing`s German driver, Sebastian Vettel stamped his authority by winning four back-to-back championship titles, this season might pull of a few surprises. Vettel`s domination was such that the sport was becoming a bit monotonous for all, including the competitors themselves.
To start with, during the pre-season tests, the Austrian outfit showed presence of chinks in their otherwise formidable armour and most importantly, struggled with their new turbo engine. The Renault engine has failed to impressed, faring far worse than the other two engine suppliers – Mercedes and Ferrari, with which they will be fighting head-on for the title this term.
With the seasoned but unheralded second driver – Mark Webber, retired, Red Bull`s domination as a Constructor won`t be the same. Webber has been replaced by another Australian, Daniel Ricciardo. How well the former Scuderia Toro Rosso driver fare under a new role will be a question worth pondering.
Italian stable – Ferrari, which had been struggling in past few seasons with the car, might get a big boost as they have roped in Kimi Raikkonen, the Iceman of F1 alongside Fernando Alonso – a deadly combo of fire and ice.
Mercedes too have a good drivers in 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and Niko Rosberg. On top of it, new turbo engines have worked really well for the German outfit in the pre-season testings.
However, regardless of these equations one can’t write-off the chances of Red Bull, a team having probably the best team of engineers.
So one thing is for sure that the upcoming F1 season will give its fans a lot of thrill, on-and-off the field.