The wait is almost over for the start of the 2014 F1 season, it is already looking as though it could be one of the most unpredictable and intriguing campaigns for many years, with huge rule changes being introduced for this season many teams have struggled to adapt and suffered in testing and the speculation is that around half the field may retire before the chequered flag drops.
As it is the first race of the season, anything could happen at Albert Park on Sunday so don’t be surprised if the usual backmarkers are fighting for a point at the end of the race, few people actually know how the race will unfold in terms of fuel saving and how much slower the 2014 cars may be compared to their predecessors.
Testing provided a very early idea what the pecking order could be this season, the teams that looked good were mainly powered by Mercedes although Ferrari appeared to be in the mix as well, although the surprise package almost certainly is Williams, they look very strong and probably are the closest challenger to Mercedes. On the other hand, Red Bull and Lotus had poor winters and could struggle in Melbourne, although this is only the start of the season so they have plenty of time to recover.
Australia’s Albert Park is a good place to start the season, the track often provides excitement and some drama with its part race part street circuit feel, as well as this the weather may play an important part over the course of the weekend.
It should be a very interesting race and with so many changes to the sport, it may well be filled with surprises, only at the weekend will we find out.
Australian GP Schedule (all times in GMT)
Practice 1 – 01:30—03:00
Practice 2 – 05:30—07:00
Practice 3 – 03:00—04:00
Qualifying – 06:00—07:00
Race – 06:00
2014 Australian GP Facts
• Three drivers make their F1 debut this weekend, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson.
• Only two teams will run the same pairing that they had for the 2013 race, Marussia with Bianchi and Chilton and Mercedes with Hamilton and Rosberg
• Although it is unlikely to happen, Sebastian Vettel could win a record tenth consecutive Grand Prix having been on the top step since the Belgium GP last August.
• A poor qualifying session isn’t the end of a drivers weekend, around 45% of races in Australia have been won by a driver not starting on pole and David Coulthard won from 11th on the grid in 2003.
The Chequered Flag Blog Prediction
“I think that the Mercedes are clearly the team to beat and I think Hamilton could have the edge over Rosberg this weekend, I wouldn’t count Williams out at all and think that they will get a podium, I know Massa doesn’t have the best record at Melbourne but he looks refreshed and ready to go now for his new team, behind those three I think it could be mostly Mercedes cars in the points with Ferrari in there as well”
1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Felipe Massa – Williams