2016: A Beginner’s Guide to Formula One

Have you ever wondered what Formula One is all about? There’s no better time to start watching the sport than at the start of a new season. The sport is about to embark on a record breaking 21 race season and if you’re wanting to watch, but you’re not sure what’s going on, here’s a brief guide.

The Basics

From reigning world champions Mercedes to new team Haas, eleven teams make up the current Formula One grid with each team fielding two race drivers. Driver experience levels range from complete rookie to veteran of 250+ Grand Prix.

Jenson Button is the most experienced current Formula One driver. He has started 284 Grand Prix and has won one world championship. The reigning world champion is Lewis Hamilton, fresh off the back of his third world title in 2015. The driver with the most world championships on the current grid is Sebastian Vettel (four). Other world champions on the grid are Fernando Alonso (two) and Kimi Raikkonen (one).

For the first time ever, 2016 will see the calendar feature 21 races. The season starts in Australia and ends in Abu Dhabi.

Points are awarded per race for the top ten positions as follows:

  • First – 25
  • Second – 18
  • Third – 15
  • Fourth – 12
  • Fifth – 10
  • Sixth – 8
  • Seventh – 6
  • Eighth – 4
  • Ninth – 2
  • Tenth – 1

The drivers champion is the driver with the most points at the end of the season. The constructors champion is the team with the most points at the end of the season. The team points are made up of both their drivers’ points.

The Drivers

As previously mentioned, there are five world champions currently on the Formula One grid. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both drive for Ferrari, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso both drive for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton drives for Mercedes – the reigning champions.

Drivers race with permanent numbers – a rule brought into the sport in 2014. Previously the world champion had driven with number one on his car with his team-mate racing with number two. Number three was on the car of the team who finished second in the championship and worked out so on and so forth. These permanent numbers were picked by drivers for a variety of reasons, whether it was a special number to them or a random choice.

There are three rookies on this year’s grid – Jolyon Palmer at Renault, Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto at Manor.

The Race Weekend

The race weekend is split into three main sections – practice, qualifying and the race.

Free Practice sessions take place on Friday and Saturday. On Friday there are two hour and a half long practice sessions, with the exception being the Monaco Grand Prix where they take place on Thursday. Unlike in the past, race drivers generally take part in the Friday practice sessions although occasionally teams may choose to run their test drivers.

The third and final practice session is an hour long and takes place on the Saturday morning prior to qualifying.

Qualifying has had a shake up ahead of the 2016 season but will still be made up of three sessions – Q1, Q2, and Q3. This decides the grid order for Sunday’s race but could be shaken up by grid penalties. Penalties can be received for a number of reasons including impeding another driver during qualifying, causing an incident at a previous race, or changing a component of the car when you’re not supposed to.

The race is then held on a Sunday with the number of laps depending on the length of the circuit or the amount of time a lap takes. Races can not exceed two hours in length and if a situation arises where the two hour limit is reached before the planned end of the race, the race is stopped at the end of the lap the lead driver is on when they hit two hours.

The Nitty Gritty

Tyres

Pirelli are the sole tyre supplier in Formula One and, like qualifying, there has been some adjustments made to the tyre rules ahead of the 2016 season.

There are five dry tyre (‘slick’) compounds – Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft, Medium and Hard – and two for wet weather – Intermediate and Full Wet. Each driver gets an allocation of three sets of Full Wet, four sets of Intermediate, and 13 slick tyres per weekend. In a difference to previous years Pirelli will nominate three tyre compounds per race. For Australia, for example, these three compounds are Supersoft, Soft and Medium.

From these three compounds Pirelli will give each driver two sets that must be used during the race. Drivers will also receive a set of the softest compound to use in Q3. Should a driver not make Q3, they can carry these tyres through to the race.

This leaves drivers to select how they will split the remaining ten tyres of their allocation. Team-mates do not have to make the same selections. They can choose from any of the three compounds nominated for that race weekend. Rules stipulate that a driver must make use of at least two slick compounds during a race however there is an exception to that rule. If it becomes a wet race and they have to use the Intermediate or Full Wet compound then they do not have to use two dry compounds.

Power Units

Without getting too in depth about the Power Units, essentially drivers are allowed five unpenalised Power Unit changes throughout the season. The Power Unit comprises different components. A full explanation of these can be found on the Formula One website.

Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car

If there is an incident on track the Safety Car may be deployed. Drivers must line-up behind the Safety Car – which becomes the pace setter – in the order they were in when it came out. You cannot overtake under the safety car. The Virtual Safety Car is when there is no need for the physical safety car to come out but drivers must drive to a certain lap-time if there is an incident on track.

The Viewing

Formula One can be viewed two ways in the UK – on Channel 4 and on Sky Sports. Sky Sports F1 broadcast all races completely live, while Channel 4 will broadcast ten races live with the remainder as extended highlights packages.

The sport is a new acquisition by Channel 4 following the decision of the BBC to pull the plug early in their contract due to budget cuts.

Want to go further?

The official Formula One website has a comprehensive Inside F1 section which explains in further detail the ins and outs of the sport, including the regulations.

Previous Beginners Guides on The H Duct were published in 2011 and 2012.

F1 2016: Channel 4 and Sky Guide

It’s all change for Formula One broadcasting in the UK as Channel 4 take on the rights following the BBC’s decision to drop the sport. Fans will be able to watch all 21 races of the 2016 season live on Sky Sports F1 with Channel 4 showing ten live, with the rest available in comprehensive highlights packages as was the case with the BBC.

Channel 4 will broadcast their live races advert free.

The Calendar

March 18th – 20th – Australian Grand Prix
April 1st – 3rd – Bahrain Grand Prix
April 15th – 17th – Chinese Grand Prix
April 29th – May 1st – Russian Grand Prix
May 13th – 15th – Spanish Grand Prix
May 26th – 29th – Monaco Grand Prix
June 10th – 12th – Canadian Grand Prix
June 17th – 19th – European Grand Prix
July 1st – 3rd – Austrian Grand Prix
July 8th – 10th – British Grand Prix
July 22nd – 24th – Hungarian Grand Prix
July 29th – 31st – German Grand Prix
August 26th – 28th – Belgian Grand Prix
September 2nd – 4th – Italian Grand Prix
September 16th – 18th – Singapore Grand Prix
September 30th – October 2nd – Malaysia Grand Prix
October 7th – 9th – Japanese Grand Prix
October 21st – 23rd – US Grand Prix
October 28th – 30th – Mexican Grand Prix
November 11th – 13th – Brazilian Grand Prix
November 25th – 27th – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The races in bold indicate the races that will be shown live by Channel 4. Their live broadcasts will start at the second race of the year – the Bahrain Grand Prix – and will also include the inaugural race in Azerbaijan on the Baku Street Circuit. They will also show the British Grand Prix, the Malaysia Grand Prix and the season finale at Abu Dhabi all live.

The Teams

Channel 4

The Channel 4 coverage will be fronted by Steve Jones and the line-up includes a wealth of knowledge from current and former drivers, as well as experienced Formula One broadcasters.

David Coulthard has made the move to become Channel 4’s lead expert analyst and commentator, a role he had at the BBC previously. He will be joined in the commentary box once again by Ben Edwards who will be the lead commentator. Former Formula One driver Mark Webber and Williams test driver Susie Wolff will be on hand to offer their own analysis over race weekends.

Another former Formula One driver Karun Chandhok will join Lee McKenzie in the pit-lane. Throughout the season there will also be contributions from Alain Prost, Eddie Jordan, Alex Zanardi, Nic Hamilton, and Bruno Senna. Murray Walker will interview stars of the sport while British rookie Jolyon Palmer will have a regular column on the channel’s website.

“This is the dream team,” Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt said. “We’ve brought together the very best in screen and off screen talent to make Channel 4’s coverage unmissable.”

“I’m very proud to be a part of this exciting line-up which will give F1 fans who choose to watch the most creative and innovating free-to-air coverage of the season a totally fresh perspective,” David Coulthard explained. “This season promises to be the most competitive for years and viewers can look forward to extensive coverage of all the races, expert punditry, unrivalled paddock and pit access as well as exhilarating stunts and features throughout to bring the audience right into the heart of the race action.”

 

Ahead of the season, Channel 4 will broadcast a special programme on Thursday 17th March at 9pm. It will see road racing star Guy Martin go head-to-head with David Coulthard on their respective machines.

Sky Sports F1

It is business as usual for the Sky Sports F1 team as they continue to be the only broadcaster to show all 21 races live in the UK.

Their coverage will continue to be lead by Simon Lazenby alongside Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson. Martin Brundle will commentate alongside David Croft with Ted Kravitz in the pit-lane getting all the latest news.

“This season offers everything,” Sky Sports Head of F1 Martin Turner said. “More races, more stories and more drama and only on Sky Sports F1 can viewers enjoy the complete story live. All eyes will again be on Lewis Hamilton while Mercedes and Ferrari will go head to head for the Constructors title. Our award winning coverage will be there from the opening grid to the final chequered flag on our dedicated F1 channel and across our digitial platforms.”

And BBC? 

 BBC 5 Live will continue to broadcast the races live with Jack Nicholls in the commentary box. Other members of the BBC team include Jennie Gow, Tom Clarkson and Allan McNish. Reports continue to be posted on the BBC Sport website. James Allen has left his role as commentator.

 

2015: Formula One Fact-File

On the eve of the first practice session of the 2015 season here is The H Duct’s annual Formula One Fact-File.

Teams and Drivers

Remaining with 2014 teams: Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado, and Romain Grosjean (11/20)

Moving to a new team for 2015: Daniil Kvyat, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Marcus Ericsson, and Will Stevens (5/20)

Returning to a former team: N/A

Rookies: Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Felipe Nasr, and Roberto Merhi (4/20)

Returning to Formula One: N/A

Who’s missing?: Adrian Sutil (2015 plans not yet confirmed, has been linked to WEC), Esteban Gutierrez (test and reserve driver for Ferrari), Jean-Eric Vergne (test and reserve driver for Ferrari – in particular simulator work; Formula E driver for Andretti Autosport), Jules Bianchi (remains in a coma in France following his accident at the Japanese Grand Prix), Max Chilton (driving in WEC for Nissan Motorsport), and Kamui Kobayashi (Team LeMans driver in Super Formula).

Statistic pages for all 20 drivers are available.

Milestones

No significant race milestones in 2015.

Nico Rosberg and Toro Rosso are both entering their 10th season in the sport.

Ages
(Ages specified are correct as of 12th March 2015)

Oldest driver: Kimi Raikkonen (35 years 4 months 23 days)
Youngest driver: Max Verstappen (17 years 5 months 10 days)
Oldest driver pairing: McLaren (63 years 9 months 1 day)
Youngest driver pairing: Toro Rosso (37 years 11 months 21 days)

Driver Ages 1 Driver Ages 2

*When drivers ages were added together, a month was taken as 31 days

Experience
(in terms of races entered)

Most experienced driver: Jenson Button (268 races)
Least experienced driver: Felipe Nasr, Roberto Merhi, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr (0 races – rookies)
Least experienced driver (excluding rookies): Will Stevens (1 race)
Most experienced driver pairing: McLaren (504 races)
Least experienced driver pairing: Toro Rosso (0 races)

  • Jenson Button – 268 races entered – debut in 2000
  • Fernando Alonso – 236 races entered – debut in 2001
  • Kimi Raikkonen – 213 races entered – debut in 2001
  • Felipe Massa – 212 races entered – debut in 2002
  • Nico Rosberg – 166 races entered – debut in 2006
  • Lewis Hamilton – 148 races entered – debut in 2007
  • Sebastian Vettel – 139 races entered – debut in 2007
  • Sergio Perez – 77 races entered – debut in 2011
  • Nico Hulkenberg – 77 races entered – debut in 2010
  • Pastor Maldonado – 77 races entered – debut in 2011
  • Daniel Ricciardo – 69 races entered – debut in 2011
  • Romain Grosjean – 64 races entered – debut in 2009
  • Valtteri Bottas – 38 races entered – debut in 2013
  • Daniil Kvyat – 19 races entered – debut in 2014
  • Marcus Ericsson – 16 races entered – debut in 2014
  • Will Stevens – 1 race entered – debut in 2014
  • Felipe Nasr – 0 races entered – debut in 2015
  • Max Verstappen – 0 races entered – debut in 2015
  • Carlos Sainz Jr – 0 races entered – debut in 2015
  • Roberto Merhi – 0 races entered – debut in 2015
  • McLaren – Jenson Button & Fernando Alonso – 504 races entered
  • Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen & Sebastian Vettel – 352 races entered
  • Mercedes – Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton – 314 races entered
  • Williams – Felipe Massa & Valtteri Bottas – 250 races entered
  • Force India – Sergio Perez & Nico Hulkenberg – 154 races entered
  • Lotus – Romain Grosjean & Pastor Maldonado – 141 races entered
  • Red Bull – Daniel Ricciardo & Daniil Kvyat – 88 races entered
  • Sauber – Marcus Ericsson & Felipe Nasr – 16 races entered
  • Manor – Will Stevens & Roberto Merhi – 1 race entered
  • Toro Rosso – Max Verstappen & Carlos Sainz Jr – 0 races entered

Newcomers

There are four rookies on the 2015 grid but who are they and where did they come from?

Felipe Nasr – Sauber: 22 year old Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr was 3rd in the GP2 championship last year. He made his single seater debut in 2008 in Formula BMW, winning the European championship in 2009. He also won the British Formula 3 championship in 2011 before stepping up to GP2 in 2012.

Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso: Max Verstappen is the son of former Grand Prix driver Jos Verstappen and is set to become the youngest rookie in Formula One history when he takes part in the Australian Grand Prix. He only made his single seater debut last year after a successful time in karting. He finished third in the Formula 3 championship and made a successful test debut for Toro Rosso last year.

Carlos Sainz Jr – Toro Rosso: Another son of a racing driver, Carlos Sainz Jr has been part of the Red Bull Junior Team for a number of years. He won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship last year and in the past has also won the Formula Renault 2.0 title. He had been in the running for the Toro Rosso seat in 2014 but lost out to Daniil Kvyat. When Vettel made the move to Ferrari, and Kvyat was promoted, it left an opening for Sainz at Toro Rosso.

Roberto Merhi – Manor:  A late addition to the 2015 grid, Roberto Merhi is another Formula Renault 3.5 graduate. He finished third in the 2014 championship having won the Formula 3 Euro Series title the year before. He had a brief stint in DTM in 2012 and 2013 before returning to single seaters the following year. Manor only recently confirmed their return to Formula One and Merhi was announced on the week of the first race.

Engine Suppliers

Mercedes: Mercedes/Williams/Force India/Lotus*
Ferrari: Ferrari/Sauber/Manor**
Renault: Red Bull/Toro Rosso*
Honda: McLaren*

* new partnership for 2015
** 2014 engines

Calendar

The 2015 season will run from 15th March to the 29th November, starting in Australia and ending in Abu Dhabi. On their trip around the world the paddock will visit 20 countries.

The Mexican Grand Prix is a new addition to the calendar.

2014

Mercedes were a dominant force last season, winning 16 of 19 races and taking pole position at 18 out of 19 races. Lewis Hamilton was the eventual champion after beating team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo was the only other driver to win a race last year. Other drivers to feature on the podium were Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button, and Sergio Perez. Mercedes and Red Bull both had 32 points finishes. Marussia picked up their first ever points when Jules Bianchi finished ninth at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Technical and Sporting Regulations

F1 2015: BBC and Sky Guide

As has been the case for the last three years, Formula One coverage will continue to be split between the BBC and Sky Sports in the UK. All 19 races will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, while BBC will show ten live – including the Canadian, British and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – with nine as extended highlights. Here is a breakdown of each broadcaster’s coverage for the year ahead.

2015 Calendar

  1. Australian Grand Prix 13th – 15th March
  2. Malaysian Grand Prix 27th – 29th March
  3. Chinese Grand Prix 10th – 12th April
  4. Bahrain Grand Prix 17th – 19th April
  5. Spanish Grand Prix 8th – 10th May
  6. Monaco Grand Prix 22nd – 24th May
  7. Canadian Grand Prix 5th – 7th June
  8. Austrian Grand Prix 19th – 21st June
  9. British Grand Prix 3rd – 5th July
  10. German Grand Prix 17th – 19th July
  11. Hungarian Grand Prix 24th – 26th July
  12. Belgian Grand Prix 21st – 23rd August
  13. Italian Grand Prix 4th – 6th September
  14. Singapore Grand Prix 18th – 20th September
  15. Japanese Grand Prix 25th – 27th September
  16. Russian Grand Prix 9th – 11th October
  17. US Grand Prix 23rd – 25th October
  18. Mexican Grand Prix 30th October – 1st November
  19. Brazilian Grand Prix 13th – 15th November
  20. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 27th – 29th November

Races in bold indicate the races shown live in full by the BBC. As was the case in 2014, the BBC’s live races include Malaysia, Canada, Great Britain, Belgium, Japan, Russia and Abu Dhabi. In addition to those races the BBC will also show Bahrain, Hungary, and Brazil live. This means the new addition to the calendar – the Mexican Grand Prix – will not be broadcast live on the BBC.

Sky Sports F1

Continuity is key for Sky Sports F1 with the 2014 team returning for 2015. Coverage will be fronted by Simon Lazenby and Natalie Pinkham, alongside roving reporter Ted Kravitz. Martin Brundle and David Croft will provide commentary while expert analysis will be given by Damon Hill, Anthony Davidson, Johnny Herbert and Bruno Senna.

Race weekends will be complemented with weekly editions of The F1 Show and live coverage will also be shown of the supporting GP2 and GP3 races.

Viewers can watch live on TV with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, via Sky Go or using Race Control accessed via the red button or the Sky Sports App for iPad. Race Control users can choose two of up to ten camera views, including driver and pit-lane cameras, and data streams to watch on split-screen.

“There are so many exciting story lines next season and we’ll cover every twist and turn from Australia to Abu Dhabi,” Sky Sports F1’s executive producer Martin Turner said.

BBC F1

Although not explicitly stated, it appears the BBC F1 team will also remain as 2014 for the upcoming season. With coverage fronted by Suzi Perry, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard, analysis will come from Allan McNish and pit-lane reporting from Lee McKenzie. Commentary will once again be provided by Ben Edwards and Coulthard for the TV feed, while James Allen will commentate on races for BBC Radio 5 Live joined by McNish. Jennie Gow will feature on the radio coverage as a pit-lane reporter.

There will be comprehensive coverage of the whole season across television, radio and online. All races will be live on BBC Radio 5 Live or 5 Live Sports extra and fans can also follow all the action and the latest news on the F1 section of the BBC Sport website and via the BBC Sport App. World Champion Lewis Hamilton will continue to write his column for the BBC website.

A new addition to the BBC F1 coverage this year is Formula 1 Rewind which will be presented by Suzi Perry. Murray Walker will be recounting classic Grand Prix from the past.

“Like all F1 fans, we can’t wait for the 2015 season,” Ben Gallop, the BBC’s Head of F1, said. “With Lewis Hamilton as World Champion, F1 in Britain is in a great position and we’re delighted with our race package. These live races, combined with our ever-popular highlights programmes and our extensive coverage on radio and online means F1 fans can follow every step of Hamilton’s title defence on the BBC”.

The BBC negotiates with fellow broadcaster Sky on the division of live and non-live races, with a variety of factors being taken into account when deciding the picks. For the races not shown live on BBC TV audiences are offered a wealth of ways to follow the action with extended TV highlights and live radio and online coverage.

The BBC has a deal to broadcast Formula 1 racing, through to and including 2018.

2014: Formula One Fact-File

In just two weeks time the wait will be over and the 2014 Formula One season will roar into action with the Australian Grand Prix. We’ve already had two winter tests (the first in Jerez and the second in Bahrain) and the third has just commenced, giving teams and drivers their last opportunity to get to grips with their 2014 machines before the first race, and iron out any problems.

Read on for The H Duct‘s 2014 Formula One Fact-File full of all the information you will need for the year ahead.

Teams and Drivers

Remaining with 2013 teams: Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton (11/22)

Moving to a new team for 2014: Daniel Ricciardo, Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil (5/22)

Returning to a former team: Kimi Räikkönen and Nico Hulkenberg (2/22)

Rookies: Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, and Marcus Ericsson (3/22)

Returning to Formula One: Kamui Kobayashi (1/22)

Who’s missing?: Mark Webber (retired – driving for Porche in WEC) Paul di Resta (returned to DTM after losing his F1 seat), Giedo van der Garde (moved to Sauber as a test and reserve driver), and Charles Pic (Lotus reserve and test driver).

For a full list of the 2014 line-up and their new permanent numbers, click here.

Milestones

Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa are both approaching their 200th Grand Prix. Räikkönen has entered 194 while Massa has entered 193.

Ages
(ages specified are correct for 14th March, the day of FP1 in Australia)

Oldest driver: Kimi Raikkonen (34 years & 148 days)
Youngest driver: Daniil Kvyat (19 years & 322 days)
Oldest driver pairing: Ferrari (67 years & 25 days)
Youngest driver pairing: Toro Rosso (43 years & 280 days)

For a full list of driver ages click here!
For a full list of combined team ages click here!

Experience
(in terms of races entered)

Most experienced driver: Jenson Button (249 races)
Least experienced driver: Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson (0 races – rookies)
Least experienced driver (excluding rookies): Esteban Gutierrez, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, and Valtteri Bottas (19 races)
Most experienced team-mates: Ferrari (411 races)
Least experienced team-mates: Marussia (38 races)

For a full list of number of races entered click here!
For a full list of combined team number of races entered click here!

Newcomers

There are three rookies in Formula One this season, as mentioned above, but who are they and where did they come from?

Kevin Magnussen – McLaren: Danish driver Kevin Magnussen is the son of former Formula One Jan Magnussen. The 21 year old was Formula Renault 3.5 champion last season. He has been a member of the McLaren Young Driver programme for a number of years and has appeared at the Young Driver Test for them.

Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat is a young Russian driver who won GP3 last season. He also competed in the European Formula 3 Championship in 2013, winning one race. The 19 year old was a Toro Rosso test driver as well and beat off competition to replace Daniel Ricciardo for the upcoming season.

Marcus Ericsson – Caterham: Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson is a Formula BMW UK and Japanese Formula 3 champion who finished in sixth place in GP2 last season. The 23 year old drove in the Young Driver Test for Brawn GP in 2009 and was announced as a Caterham driver early in 2014.

Driver Numbers
(follow links to drivers Twitter accounts)

In 2013 the FIA announced that they would be introducing a permanent driver number system from 2014 onwards. This means that drivers have picked a number that they will carry with them for the remainder of their Formula One career. The reigning champion gets #1 by default, should he decide to use it.

#1 Sebastian Vettel – Reigning world champion Vettel has chosen to take number one for the year ahead but has picked #5 for the remainder of his career. He chose this number because it was the number he used when he was karting and also the number he carried on his Red Bull when he won his first championship.

#3 Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull’s new driver has chosen to take #3 as his permanent number. “It was my first ever number in karting and I was also a fan of Dale Earnhardt,” Ricciardo revealed on Twitter.

#4 Max Chilton – Another driver with ample marketing opportunities from his number selection, Chilton has already had some fun with M4X.

#6 Nico Rosberg – Rosberg will race with #6 on his car this year. “My future wife’s and my dad’s lucky number, so it has got to work for me too!😉,” Rosberg wrote on Twitter. Rosberg’s dad, world champion Keke Rosberg, won the title while running car #6.

#7 Kimi Raikkonen – Raikkonen’s reasoning for picking #7 was that he had the number last year so saw no reason to change it. Simple.

#8 Romain Grosjean – Grosjean picked #8 because he liked it. He revealed on Facebook that his wife’s birthday was on the 8th, they started dating in 2008 and he considers his son to be the eighth wonder of the world (cute!). Like Raikkonen, it is also the number he carried last year.

#9 Marcus Ericsson – Another set of team-mates with consecutive numbers. Ericsson started karting aged 9 in 1999 and won races.

#10 Kamui Kobayashi – Kobayashi has picked the number 10 – the car number he first ran when he stood in for an injured Timo Glock for Toyota back in 2009. He certainly made an impact then so will no doubt be hoping to do the same again.

#11 Sergio Perez – Perez was pleased to get #11, revealing it was a number he had used in karting as a kid and that even his email had 11 in it and it was a number that had “a lot of things to do with it” for him.

#13 Pastor Maldonado – The #13 has been missing in Formula One since 1976 due to the belief that it is an unlucky number. In many cultures it is considered lucky and this is the case in Venezuela, where Maldonado hails from, so he has chosen to bring it back in 2014.

#14 Fernando Alonso – Alonso is another driver who has favoured sentimentality when picking his permanent number. He used #14 when karting and enjoyed considerable success, finishing third in the world championship in 1995, winning the World Junior Title in 1996, and winning championships in Spain and Italy in 1997.

#17 Jules Bianchi – During the driver number selection process, all drivers were asked to nominate three numbers with their first preference first. Numbers were allocated in championship order so poor Bianchi lost out all three of his options – to Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Bottas. He eventually chose #17.

#19 Felipe Massa – Massa revealed the meaning behind his number to The H Duct in a Twitter Q & A he conducted with Williams: “It was my number when karting & my uncle also used 19 when he raced. Luckily it was one of our numbers this year anyway!”

#20 Kevin Magnussen – Rookie Magnussen won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship last year carrying the #20 on his car. Since choosing the number he has posted a number of McLaren cars bearing the number on Twitter.

#21 Esteban Gutierrez – Keeping it straight and to the point, Gutierrez picked his lucky number – #21.

#22 Jenson Button – After Honda’s withdrawal from Formula One, Brawn GP raced with the car numbers 22 and 23 for the 2009 season. Button won his world championship with car #22 so he hopes the number will bring him more “great memories”in the future.

#25 Jean-Eric Vernge – Another nostalgic pick, with 25 being a number that Vergne used in his karting days.

#26 Daniil Kvyat – Kvyat’s driver number is coincidentally the consecutive number to his team-mate’s. He said after picking it that the number has no story, yet… “the story about the number has to be made,” he tweeted.

#27 Nico Hulkenberg – Following the reveal of the numbers that drivers would be carrying, Hulkenberg expressed his happiness at receiving the number he chose – #27. He said, however, for him it is not such a big deal and it just a number.

#44 Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton is another driver who has chosen a number of early significance to him. Hamilton used #44 in his early karting days, running it in the Champions of the Future Series (which he won).

#77 Valtteri Bottas – When Bottas first hit the F1 scene, he gained a lot of attention on Twitter and had his own hashtag (#BOTTAS). The number 77 provides him with a lot of marketing opportunities as #BOTTAS is set to become #BO77AS. (Valtteri also has a double T…)

#99 Adrian Sutil – Sutil went all out and picked the highest number available. “I went for the highest number – I am aiming for the maximum,” he revealed afterward.

Engine Suppliers

Renault: Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso*, and Caterham
Mercedes: Mercedes, McLaren, Force India, and Williams*
Ferrari: Ferrari, Sauber, and Marussia

* new supplier for 2014

The Calendar

The season will kick off with the Australian GP on the 16th March and finish on the 23rd November in Abu Dhabi. On their trip around the world, the Formula One paddock will visit 19 countries.

There are two new additions to the calendar – the return of the Austrian Grand Prix at the re-branded Red Bull Ring and the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

You can see the 2014 calendar by following this link.

If you reside in the UK (or watch Formula One on BBC from somewhere else in the world) here’s a handy guide to keep you right about which races they have fully live and which are extended highlights.

2013

Sebastian Vettel became world champion for a fourth time in dominant fashion. He won 13 races (including nine in a row at the end of the year). In total there were five different race winners in the first half of the season – Kimi Räikkönen, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Vettel. McLaren had a year to forget, with no podium finishes.

For 2014 the form book can be thrown out the window with the biggest rule changes to the sport in decades.

  • 2013 season statistics can be found here.

Rule Changes in a Nutshell

Gone are normally aspirated 2.4-litre V8 engines and in their place are 1.6-litre turbo powered Power Units. Along with this is the loss of KERS which has been replaced with ERS.

Last year’s engines produced around 750bhp with KERS providing an additional 80bhp per lap for a limited amount of time. The 2014 V6s produce around 600bhp but ERS will give drivers an additional 160bhp for a longer, but still limited, amount of time per lap.

Instead of a KERS button, power from ERS is delivered to the rear wheels via the throttle pedal. The new ERS system will mean that cars produce more torque at lower revs, making good throttle control more important than ever.

A problem with ERS could prove more costly in terms of reliability this year. Another factor which teams must incorporate is that there are more complicated regulations in terms of power units and their usage. Last year the rule was simple – drivers could use eight engines without incurring a penalty, but every engine used after the allocation resulted in a grid drop. In 2014, the power unit is split into six components – the engine, the motor generator unit-kinetic, the motor generator unit-heat, the energy store, the turbocharger, and the control electronics. Drivers can use no more than five of each component before incurring a penalty.

Along with the new power units and ERS systems, drivers will also have a new eight-speed, fixed ratio gearbox. Last year teams nominated 30 gear ratios ahead of the season and could run any seven of those 30 at each Grand Prix. This season gearboxes will house an additional gear but the ratios must be the same at every race. Teams can change once but after that they will incur penalties if they change the ratios again.

Another significant change is the introduction of a fuel limit for the race. Last year teams could use as much fuel as they wanted – generally around 160kg – but this season there will be a limit of 100kg per race with fuel flow being limited to 100kg per hour. It will become a battle of fuel efficiency for the engine suppliers and how well drivers can save it.

There are narrower front wings, visibly different noses which have caused much discussion since their reveals, and a re-positioned exhaust. This means that the likes of the ‘coanda effect’ and blown-diffusers will disappear. The nose changes, which most teams have embraced differently, are due to the height of the nose being reduced from 550mm to 180mm. This is for safety reasons to prevent cars being launched airborne in the event of a collision. The height of the chassis has also been lowered from 625mm to 525mm.

Finally, the minimum weight has been increased from 642kg to 690kg for 2014. This weight, which encompasses car and driver, is to compensate for the increased weight of the new power units; however there are concerns that heavier drivers are being penalized.

A link to some further rule changes including penalty points, return of in-season testing, and safety.

Links

Red Bull: www.redbullracing.com – @redbullracing
Ferrari: www.ferrari.com – @InsideFerrari
McLaren: www.mclaren.com – @McLarenF1
Lotus: www.lotusf1team.com – @Lotus_F1Team
Mercedes: www.mercedes-amg-f1.com – @MercedesAMGF1
Sauber: www.sauberf1team.com – OfficialSF1Team
Williams: www.williamsf1.com – @WilliamsF1Team
Force India: www.forceindiaf1.com – @clubforce
Toro Rosso: www.scuderiatororosso.com – @ToroRossoSpy
Caterham: www.caterhamf1.com – @CaterhamF1
Marussia: www.marussiaf1team.com – @Marussia_F1Team

F1 2014: BBC and Sky Guide

Formula One broadcasting in the UK will once again be split between BBC and Sky. Sky Sports F1 will broadcast all 19 races live while the BBC have nine races live, including the Malaysian, Spanish and British Grand Prix. Here is a break down of each broadcaster’s coverage for the year ahead, and how you can enjoy Formula One in the UK.

Who is showing what?

March 16th – Australian Grand Prix
March 30th – Malaysian Grand Prix
April 6th –  Bahrain Grand Prix
April 20th –  Chinese Grand Prix
May 11th – Spanish Grand Prix 
May 25th – Monaco Grand Prix
June 8th – Canadian Grand Prix 
June 22nd – Austrian Grand Prix
July 6th – British Grand Prix
July 20th – German Grand Prix
July 27th – Hungarian Grand Prix
August 24th – Belgian Grand Prix 
September 7th – Italian Grand Prix 
September 21st – Singapore Grand Prix
October 5th –  Japanese Grand Prix
October 12th – Russian Grand Prix 
November 2nd – US Grand Prix
November 9th –  Brazilian Grand Prix
November 23rd – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 

The races in bold indicate the races shown live in full on the BBC, while the remaining ten races will be shown as extended highlights.

Only one of the new additions to the calendar – Austria and Russia – will be shown live on the BBC and it is the Russian Grand Prix in October. It will be shown as part of a double header with the Japanese Grand Prix. The BBC will also broadcast the Spanish, Canadian, Belgian, and Italian Grand Prix live, as was the case in 2013. They will also show the Malaysian Grand Prix – the second race of the season – and the season finale live.

Sky Sports F1

Bruno Senna has joined the Sky Sports F1 team in a punditry role. He will be part of the coverage for selected races (Malaysia, China, Hungary, Singapore, Russia, USA and Brazil) where he will join David Croft in the commentary box, offer analysis on the Skypad and also guest on The F1 Show.

Sky will continue to broadcast The F1 Show and the Formula One feeder series GP2 and GP3.

BBC F1

Races not shown live on the BBC will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 5 Live or 5 Live Sports Extra along with the BBC Sport website.

The BBC presenting team will remain as 2013 – minus Gary Anderson who has left his role as technical analyst. Suzi Perry will continue to front the BBC’s coverage, accompanied by Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard. Perry joined in 2013, following the departure of Jake Humphrey to BT Sport.

Joining them will be Ben Edwards as lead commentator joined in the comms box by DC. Lee McKenzie and Tom Clarkson will continue to report live from the pit-lane.

James Allen will continue to commentate on BBC 5 Live, joined this year full time by Allan McNish. McNish, who commentated at a couple of races last year, retired from racing in December and has joined the BBC on a more permanent basis to offer analysis across TV, radio and online. He previously had a stint with Sky Sports F1 in 2012.

“Now that I have hung up my racing helmet, I am really looking forward to joining the BBC team again for what I am sure is going to be a fantastic new F1 season,” McNish said. “With so many technical rule changes, as well as team and driver movements, there will be lots of things happening on and off track for the BBC team to bring to you”.

Another former driver joining the BBC F1 fray is Mark Webber who will film occasional an occasional series where he looks at stories within Formula One from his unique perspective.

Motorsport commentator Jack Nicholls – who has commentated 0n Formula 2 and the FIA GT1 World Championship – will lead radio commentary for four races this season. These races will be China, Hungary, Japan and Russia. The former two are not being broadcast live while the latter two are. Nicholls will be commentating on BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra.

Jennie Gow will report from the pit-lane for BBC 5 Live.

For live race weekends fan will be able to watch the action from five different video options: the pit-lane camera; a driver tracker; a stream of on-board cameras; TV pictures with Radio 5 Live commentary; and a timing screen. On the non-live race weekends, there will be live Radio 5 Live audio available on the BBC Sport website along with live text commentary.

On the website there will once again be regular contributions from Murray Walker, David Coulthard, Allan McNish and Andrew Benson.

This post will be updated as and when new information is released.

F1 2013: BBC and Sky Guide

As was the case in 2012, Formula One coverage in the UK will continue to be split between two broadcasters – Sky and the BBC. While all races will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports F1 channel, BBC will broadcast only nine of the races live. They had been due to show ten, with an extra European date being added to the calendar, but that since looks to have fallen through. Here is a break down of each broadcaster’s coverage for the year ahead, and how you can enjoy Formula One in the UK.

Who is showing what?

17th March – Australian GP
24th March – Malaysian GP
14th April – Chinese GP
21st April – Bahrain GP
12th May – Spanish GP
26th May – Monaco GP
9th June – Canadian GP
30th June – British GP
7th July – German GP
28th July – Hungarian GP
25th August – Belgian GP
8th September – Italian GP
22nd September – Singapore GP
6th October – Korean GP
13th October – Japanese GP
27th October – Indian GP
3rd November – Abu Dhabi GP
17th November – US GP
24th November – Brazilian GP

The BBC line-up is similar to 2012 – starting with the Chinese GP, and also showing the Spanish GP, British GP, Belgian GP, and the Brazilian GP. Races they had in 2012 but will not show live in 2013 are the Monaco GP, Singapore GP,  Korean GP and the Abu Dhabi GP. New live races for BBC in 2013 are the Canadian GP, Italian GP,  Japanese GP and the Indian GP.

The races in bold are the races which BBC will be broadcasting live with the remaining ten being shown as extended highlights. Races which are run in the European timezone will have extended highlights in the early evening while early morning races (such as Australia, Japan etc) will have extended highlights in the afternoon.

The races which aren’t shown live will also have extended highlights on the Saturday of the qualifying sessions.

Races not shown live on the BBC will still have live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC F1 website. Races which the BBC do broadcast live (as highlighted above) while be shown in the normal way as as per previous seasons, with the addition of free practice sessions on BBC2.

Sky, on the other hand, will be broadcasting every race live on the dedicated F1 channel through their Sky Sports package. As well as all the practice and qualifying sessions and live racing, they will continue with their weekly magazine show The F1 Show.

Who will be presenting?

The major presenting shake-up comes at the BBC with the departure of Jake Humphrey. Former MotoGP presenter Suzi Perry will step into his shoes, and take over the anchor duties, alongside David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan. Ben Edwards remains in commentary alongside Coulthard, with Lee McKenzie being joined in the pit-lane by Tom Clarkson, who has appeared on the BBC F1 coverage before. McKenzie will continue presenting Inside F1 on the BBC News Channel on the Friday and Saturday of live race weekends. Gary Anderson will remain in the pit-lane, as well as working with Radio 5 Live and for online content. James Allen and Jennie Gow both remain on Radio 5 Live joined by Allan McNish, who had appeared on Sky F1 in 2012, as an analyst.

Over at Sky, the line-up remains steady, but with the absence of Georgie Thompson. The F1 Show presenter has left the Formula One coverage, with pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham taking up her role, along with her own duties. Simon Lazenby will continue to host, with Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill continuing their roles as ‘expert analysts’. David Croft, Anthony Davidson and Martin Brundle stay in commentary with Ted Kravitz in the pit-lane.

For further information visit the BBC F1 website and Sky’s F1 page.