This weekend sees the start of the Formula 1 season – the world’s biggest and most lucrative motor racing championship– so before it kicks off in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix we have a bluffer’s guide writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it all about?
• Ten teams are contesting the season, each fielding two cars so this means that 20 drivers will line-up to compete for the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship
• There are 20 rounds played out all over the world, including Mexico this year making its first appearance since 1992
• The winner of each race receives 25 points, with the lowest-scoring position – 10th – receiving one point.
• Both cars entered by a team score points towards the Constructors’ title, Mercedes are the reigning constructors’ champions after winning 16 of 19 races last season.
A race weekend consists of three practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself.
Qualifying on Saturday?
• A frantic one-hour Qualifying session takes place on the Saturday afternoon before each Grand Prix – this determines the starting grid for the following day’s Grand Prix with the fastest cars at the front.
• It is split into three sessions.
Q1 – For the first 18 minutes , all cars take to the track try to set the fastest time. The slowest five cars are eliminated
Q2 – Q2 is run to the same rules over 15 minutes, and at the end of the session a further five cars are eliminated.
Q3 – This leaves the remaining cars to fight it out in Q3 for pole position for the race, as well as the remaining nine places on the grid.
The race on Sunday?
• All races – aside from Monaco – should not be longer 350km in distance. As all circuits are different lengths so are the number of laps the race is run over. In addition to the number of laps there is also a maximum time limit of two hours for a race.
• In the case of an accident or poor track conditions a race may be red-flagged, if this happens the total duration of the race including the time lost due to the flagging cannot exceed four hours. In less dramatic circumstances the official may choose to deploy a pace ‘Safety Car’ to control speeds for a period of the race. This year sees the introduction of the virtual safety car.
• Teams are allowed to stop as many times as they want during a race for tyres and fuel.
Teams and Drivers?
Sebastian Vettel (Ger)
Kimi Raikkonen (Fin)
Nico Hulkenberg (Ger)
Sergio Perez (Mex)
Roman Grosjean (Fra)
Pastor Maldonado (Ven)
Will Stevens (Gbr)
Roberto Merhi (Esp)
Fernando Alonso (Esp)
Jenson Button (Gbr)
Lewis Hamilton (Gbr)
Nico Rosberg (Ger)
Daniel Ricciardo (Aus)
Daniil Kyvat (Rus)
Felipe Nasr (Bra)
Marcus Ericsson (Swe)
Max Verstappen (Ned)
Carlos Sainz Junior (Esp)
Felipe Massa (Bra)
Valtteri Bottas (Fin)
Winner and Points
• At the season’s end they put all their points together and the team with the most takes the overall Championship.
• Top ten finishers in every race get points on a sliding scale : 1st place – 25 points; 2nd -18; 3rd – 15; 4th -12; 5th – 10; 6th – 8; 7th – 6; 8th – 4; 9th – 2; 10th – 1.
• There were a total number of tyres 38,168 supplied in 2014 and all come from Pirelli who will be suppling tyres this season also.
• There are four different types of tyres and the two are selected by the supplier in advance of each race determined by the weather and track characteristics.
Need to know
• Defending champion Lewis Hamilton starts the new season as favourite.
• Last season was marked by the battle between Lewis Hamilton and fellow team member Nico Rosberg for the drivers’ championship.and there is no reason to suggest it won’t be the same this time.
• Sebastian Vettel has moved from Red Bull to Ferrari
• Fernando Alonso has moved from Ferrari to McLaren but will not be taking part this weekend due a pre-season accident.
15 Mar Australia Melbourne
29 Mar Malaysia Sepang
12 Apr China Shanghai
19 Apr Bahrain Sakhir
10 May Spain Barcelona
24 May Monaco Monte Carlo
7 Jun Canada Montreal
21 Jun Austria Spielberg
5 Jul Great Britain Silverstone
19 Jul Germany venue tbc
26 Jul Hungary Hungaroring
23 Aug Belgium Spa-Francorchamps
7 Sep Italy Monza
20 Sep Singapore Marina Bay
27 Sep Japan Suzuka
11 Oct Russia Sochi
25 Oct United States Austin
1 Nov Mexico Mexico City
15 Nov Brazil São Paulo
29 Nov Abu Dhabi Yas Marina
13th March, 2015