Countdown to Australia

March 5, 2009

On Sunday 29th March 2009, F1’s newest world champion will line up on the grid for the start of the 2009 season at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit to begin the fight to defend his title.

Alongside reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will be his closest rival from 2008, Felipe Massa, and his 2007 team-mate Fernando Alonso.

With new rules and regulations coming in in 2009, this is the year many predict will be the closest season yet. But how can it get any closer than in 2008? You cannot forget Massa and Hamilton’s fight to the bitter end in Brazil last November, where it all seemed to be lost for the second year in succession for Hamilton- that is of course until Timo Glock and his performance-lacking tyres stepped in, or rather stepped aside to allow Lewis through to take the title. However, this year sees a number of changes to the rules and regulations, which promises to keep F1 fans teetered on the edge of their seats right up until the finale in Abu Dhabi on November 15th. 

As well as the changes to the rules and regulations, which sees the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), the return of slick tyres and new aerodynamics that are set to make overtaking easier, there have been a few amendments to the racing calendar. Last year both Valencia and Singapore hosted new and exciting street races, with Singapore being the first ever night race in F1. This year, both tracks will be back, along with another brand new circuit in Abu Dhabi, which promises to be an exciting end to the season where all cars and drivers will be racing in the unknown. After two consecutive years at the Fuji Speedway for the Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka will be making a welcome return to host the country’s GP, and there will no longer be rounds in France or Canada as both were removed from the calendar during 2008. 

Over the winter the teams have been testing out their new cars to make sure they have perfected them under the new regulations for when the lights go out in Melbourne. New rules this year state that teams will not be able to test their cars during the season, so testing has been crucial throughout the winter. With KERS coming in in 2009 the drivers will be able to recycle energy wasted under braking at the push of a button to give them an extra boost for up to seven seconds per lap. KERS, along with new aerodynamics and the return of slicks, means 2009 is set to be F1’s closest and most unpredictable season for years.

It may not be possible to predict who will come out on top in Melbourne, or in fact, the season as a whole, but one thing for sure is that Lewis will be aiming to defend his title when the lights go out in Melbourne at the end of the month.

In the words of Murray Walker, when the lights go out, it’ll be “Go! Go! Go!” for 2009.


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