Formula 1

Formula One 2014: An Overview

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The first pre-season test kicks off on January 28th (©GettyImages)
The first pre-season test kicks off on January 28th (©GettyImages).

Sebastian Vettel may have romped his way to the 2013 title with 13 wins with 9 of those coming on the spin, you would be forgiven for not tuning into the first Formula One race of 2014 due to fear of yet another masterclass in from the four time world champion. Whatever you do not lose faith just yet....

We go into 2014 with a clean slate. Brand new engines and regulations that means we can rip up the form sheet of the last five years and start all over again from scratch.  

Will this mean that Vettel and his new team Aussie teammate Daniel Ricciardo will be forced to fight their way to the front if they want to breeze their way to the championship?

Maybe they will but we won't know that until Friday afternoon in Melbourne during practice.

Currently the only team that have kept the same line up from the previous campaign is Mercedes. If rumours are to be believed they will be fighting up the sharp end of the grid once again. Part of Lewis Hamilton's decision to join Mercedes was the 2014 rule shake up.

After a strong first season with his new team Hamilton has his eyes set on a second world championship. speaking to Sky Sports Hamilton said "We've just finished second in the Constructors' Championship so of course we don't want to finish there next year, we want to make the next step."

For Hamilton's team-mate Nico Rosberg who at times outpaced Hamilton he will also be looking to mount a title charge with a car many believe will be the car to beat. The pair have been good friends for a number of years and have a great working relationship, given the talent of both these drivers if they have a car capable of doing the job Mercedes could end 2014 with a Constructors Championship to their name even after the great Ross Brawn makes way for Paddy Lowe to take the helm at the silver arrows.

Ferrari find themselves in a similar situation in terms of the quality of their line up. With arguably the two best drivers and biggest personalities in the world of motorsport driving the scarlet red Ferrari. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will provide a titanic battle between two of the sports biggest stars.

Things did not end well with Kimi and Ferrari in their previous relationship. in 2010 the team paid the Fin a full years salary to not drive that season in their pursuit to lure Fernando Alonso from Renault. With three world championship between them they will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

"The combination of Alonso and Kimi will be very strong. We can count on Kimi to take points off potential challengers." said the Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo when talking to Msn about their new all star driver line up.

Lotus are a team in trouble. Rumours have been flooding the F1 forums regarding a request to have the first test pushed back to a later date this allowing the team more time to develop their car although it is believed that the request was rejected by the teams.

Unfortunately it does not end there as fresh rumours  have emerged that the team are still yet to secure an engine deal for next season. The team have not commented on either rumour as work continues to get the Lotus E22 ready for launch.

With Raikkonen leaving to join Ferrari, 2012 Spanish Grand Prix race winner Pastor Maldonado will partner Romain Grosjean in the black and gold Lotus. Due to the lack of funds Lotus have been forced into fielding Maldonado who brings a substantial amount of sponsorship money with him as opposed to signing Nico Hulkenberg.

With £30 million of Venezuelan oil money behind him Lotus's hand was forced and had to chose Maldonado's millions over the sheer speed of Hulkenberg who is back on his way to Force India to join Sergio Perez to form one of the most exciting young driver line ups on the grid. 

McLaren have taken a chance and drafted in the highly rated Kevin Magnussen to join the experienced Jenson Button. After a tough 2013 McLaren are under pressure to produce a race winning car. The team are hopeful that the reigning World Series by Renault 3.5 champion can replicate what Lewis Hamilton achieved in his first season with the Woking Based outfit.

Magnussen does not feel pressured by the team to do what Hamilton did back in 2007. When asked about the comparison to Hamilton by Autosport Magnussen said "The fact that Lewis was so successful doesn't raise the pressure for me, it just shows that it can be done, and that you can be successful as a rookie. That's really encouraging."

Sauber have taken the youth and experience approach with the appointment of Adrian Sutil from Force India and retaining Esteban Gutierrez for the coming season. After a wobbly start to his F1 career Gutierrez improved towards the end of 2013 however he was in the shadow of the excellent form of Hulkenberg. Sutil impressed in his first year back in F1 scoring 28 points for Force India.

When it was announced that Mark Webber was going to be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo all eyes were on Toro Rosso to see who his replacement would be. Many believed that hot shot Antonio Felix Da Costa would take the seat alongside the Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.

Much to the shock of every one the role went to the young Russian Daniil Kvyat, but do not be fooled. He maybe young but he could be the surprise package of 2014 after he dominated the Abu Dhabi GP3 weekend on his way to claiming the GP3 title. A very strong young line up will surely bring the Red Bull sister team results as they also switch from Ferrari to Renault power. 

In an Interview for the official F1 website Kvyat said he knows he has a lot if hard work ahead of him "I know that I have to work hard and have to be willing to learn every single second of the day. But on the other hand, if the talent is not there nothing helps. Red Bull believes in me and that is incentive for me not to disappoint their trust."

Not only a new line up in Valterri Bottas and former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa the team will also be powered by the Mercedes engine in 2014. Another strong line up on the grid as Massa looks to find the form he showed before his horrific crash during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend back in 2009. Bottas will benefit a great deal from Massa's experience who will be relishing the prospect of not having to play second fiddle to Fernando Alonso any more. 

The highly rated Jules Bianchi gets another chance to show what he can do at Marussia but the identity of his teammate is unknown. The likely candidate is Max Chilton who was the only driver to finish every race last season but the team have not made any statement regarding the second driver. 

Neither Caterham seat has been announced as of yet with names being linked left right and centre. When talking about the possibilities for next seasons line up Caterham team boss Cyril Abiteboul said they are looking for a mixture of young and experience. 

"As Caterham, we are committed to young people, to young talent. So I think that will stay." He went on to add "Experience is nice to have because it gives everyone confidence in terms of feedback and analysis, because next year we will be completely blind at the start."

Much like everything in F1 things can change in an instant. We could yet see the controversial double points for the last race that caused uproar amongst fans axed when the teams get together next month. So much could and probably will change before lights out in Melbourne on March 16th. 

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