Brace yourself, the 2011 Formula 1 season kicks-off in Australia on March 27th.
Brace yourself, the 2011 Formula 1 season kicks-off in Australia on March 27th. This will be the first of nineteen gruelling rounds, so the forthcoming championship will be one of the longest in the sport's sixty year history. In fact, 2011 may become the longest season ever if the Bahrain GP is rescheduled. Coverage remains at the BBC, with Martin Brundle taking over as lead commentator and David Coulthard joining him in the commentary box.Hard-core fans will notice several important changes this season, in particular the highly influential new tyres. Bridgestone has left the sport after fourteen successful years, so Pirelli steps-in as sole supplier. The new rubber has received mixed reviews from the teams during the pre-season, but should evolve rapidly as the championship progresses. Hopefully these new boots will provide plenty of traction for confident overtaking. Furthermore, new regulations allow the drivers to adjust their rear wings. These electrically operated systems, that reduce drag and increase speed, should create more overtaking opportunities. However, they can only be used at least two laps from the start, when the driver is one second or less behind his opponent, and at certain parts of the track. These can be used alongside KERS systems that convert braking energy in to power boosts. Gone for this season are F-ducts, that last year saw drivers manoeuvring their monstrous machines one-handed. Very impressive, but perhaps a little risky. The controversial double-diffusers have also been consigned to history, along with 'shark fin' aerodynamic enhancements and flexible front splitters that lower the ride height. Despite these loses, cars must now set a time no slower than 107% of the pole sitter to qualify for races. The 2011 Formula 1 season looks set to be fantastic. We have five world champions on the grid, news regulations to improve overtaking, and more races to enjoy than ever before. I can hardly wait. Roll on March 27th.