F1 2011 – Will this be the best season yet?

F1 LogoThis Saturday marks the start of the new highly anticipated Formula 1 2011 season, but is all the hype around the new season justified? Well new rules, regulations and suppliers should all help, but with the sport gaining such little (positive) media attention in the off-season we decided to compile our own list of the major changes this season, so you can be up to speed before the lights go green in Australia.

Team & Driver Line up Changes:

  • Lotus Renault GP – The unfortunate injuries suffered to Robert Kubica during the Ronde di Andora rally has ruled him out almost definitely for the entire season. The experienced Nick Heidfeld has been drafted in, but I’m sure everybody hopes to see Robert back as soon as possible.
  • AT&T Williams – The team has in my view made a big error in dropping Nico Hülkenberg, last season’s rookie was beginning to prove his worth in F1 and deserved a second season. Nico has been replaced by 2010 GP2 Series champion Pastor Maldonado.
  • Force India – Vitantonio Liuzzi jumps ship/pushed to Hispania Racing, to be replaced by Rookie Brit Paul di Resta, can he emulate the instant success of Lewis Hamilton, perhaps not straight away, but another British driver is always a welcome addition to the grid.
  • Sauber F1 Team – Mexican Sergio Pérez, runner-up in the GP2 Series last season,  fills the second driver seat here.
  • Hispania Racing- As mentioned, Vitantonio Liuzzi joins along with Narain Karthikeyan (remember him? perhaps not, he had a fairly uninspired stint with Jordan in the 2005 season)
  • Virgin Racing – The frankly under-rated Timo Glock is joined by another F1 newbie in the form of Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who had been with the team as their Friday test driver.

Major Rule Changes:

  • The return of the 107% qualifying rule. Let’s hope the newer teams have caught up with the pace in the winter development period!
  • Bridgestone has ended its long-running tyre supplier deal with the sport, being replaced by Pirelli. Will this make a difference the racing? Possibly yes as rumours suggest tyres may now been designed to degrade quicker on purpose in an effort to mix up the pit strategies.
  • F-ducts have been banned but the energy boost system KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) makes a comeback.
  • An adjustable rear wing system has been implemented to give drivers an optional speed-boost in certain conditions. The availability of the system will be controlled remotely by the FIA and only allowed under certain conditions. Controversy awaits!

The last 2 seasons will prove hard to beat in terms of excitement and closeness, but a mixture of new rookie drivers and the return of over-taking aids like KERS and the new adjustable rear wings should see the on-track action increase and take pit-lane strategy to another level. I know the team at Base.com are excited for the talking to stop and the engines to start.

Base.com would also like to congratulate Codemasters for winning the Sports category at the GAME BAFTA’s this year with their multi-format F1 2010. A well deserved win for a truly excellent game.

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