With the first practice run taking place today, the Australian Grand Prix will usher in a new era of Formula 1.
This year will see the biggest shakeup in specifications and technology for decades. The main changes are that engines will now strictly be 1.6-litre V8 turbos as opposed to 2.4 V8s and the new maximum fuel weight will be 100kg. In addition, aerodynamic alterations will change both the look and handling of the cars.
This is the first time turbocharged engines will be used since 1988 and a predicted 35 per cent less fuel will be guzzled. Energy recovery systems will also be updated. The cars will now use a new ERS rather than the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). This mechanism will be automatic rather than initiated by the driver and has double the power of the KERS as the energy is brought to the rear wheels to aid acceleration.
Further, two motor generator units will be used instead of one. These convert heat generated from the car’s mechanics to electrical energy. This will again make the vehicles more energy efficient and will help advance a new hybrid approach to motorsport which is a major consideration behind these new rules.
These changes will undoubtedly see a shake-up in the finishing stakes too. It has been predicted that we could see the end of the Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel monopoly. Indeed, early signs have shown that Mercedes Benz and their drivers, Nico Rosberg and Britain’s own Lewis Hamilton, have had the best results in pre-season testing.
The two-day event will be held at the 5.3km (3.3mi) long Albert Park Lake circuit in Melbourne and will be the 18th Australian Grand Prix.