The 2015 Formula One season had its last race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Marina Circuit. There were a total of nineteen races with twenty-two drivers representing ten teams.
From 2014 there were familiar names going after the Drivers’ champion and also Constructors Champion.
Lewis Hamilton was the one defending Drivers’ Champion and his team, Mercedes, began the season as the defending Constructors’ Champion.
Some of the biggest changes for the calendar year were the return of the Mexican Grand Prix, held for the first time since 1992 and bad news for German fans as the German Grand Prix was scrapped after a venue could not be secured.
In the end Lewis Hamilton managed to defend Drivers Champion with three races left in the season, that is a pretty impressive result. He was followed by teammate Nico Rosberg, 59 points behind, third was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third, 44 points behind.
Hamilton also secured the FIA Pole Trophy (total of eleven pole positions) and the DHL Fastest Lap Award.
Mercedes also managed to defend the Costructors’ Champion already at the Russian Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari and Williams, ending the season with a record 703 points.
The new season is scheduled to start with Australian Grand Prix on March 20. There shouldn’t be any big surprises, though there has been lot of criticism about technical changes, regulations and also problems with falling television audiences, while the costs for the sports have been rising.
If there are no big accidents or any other drastic changes, then the top three is expected to stay very similar, but the big question is what team will finish fourth this season. Our guess is that Force India F1 Team has the potential to surprise, offering strong competition to Red Bull and Williams this season.
Sauber F1 Team is also going through some bigger changes as their head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara left the Formula 1 team after over a decade. Dall’Ara will be replaced for the new season by Timothy Malyon, who had previously worked at Red Bull Racing as a race engineer. It is hard to tell does that change have any impact or not.
Looking forward to 2017, Formula 1 teams are also backing away from plans to dramatically increase downforce for the 2017 season.
Nothing is official and the new rules package for 2017 are still ongoing, but it is rumoured that the teams will abandon new aerodynamic changes that had been agreed earlier.
The new changes would have made the lap times in average by five seconds faster.
The decision to abandon higher downforce levels represents a victory for Mercedes mostly, though there is still plenty of time left and nothing is official.
The package of changes was based largely on a proposal by Red Bull – increase in downforce thanks to bigger wings and a larger diffuser.
The issue with extra downforce is that it would put high loading on tyres, at least according to Mercedes.
There will be changes coming like cosmetic changes, along with wider front and rear wings, but nothing major, meaning lap times won’t change much.
Which team and driver do you think will win the new season? William Hill is already taking bets and it looks like Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead, followed by Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.