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As the Formula 1 season starts to come around again, with only four short weeks away until the Formula 1 2015 season launch in Melbourne, Australia. With a dramatic end to the season on and off the track, the Formula 1 crown going to the dominant Mercedes and an off season that saw a number of top flight drivers change teams, the excitement was high to see how the 2015 formula 1 season would shape up. This month saw the Formula 1 testing in Jerez to give us a sneak peak into the future of the Formula 1 season.
Mercedes showed up to Jerez with high expectations, and high pressures as they are already foreseen as the out and out favourites to take the title cleanly once again. The majority of the attention was towards Toto Wollf, Nikki Lauda and Lewis Hamilton, as the three are still in intense negotiations over securing Hamilton a long-term future at Formula 1 Mercedes. Toto Wolff has admitted he would like to agree a new deal with the formula 1 world champion before the season begins.
The Mercedes formula 1 car seemed mostly unchanged. The green paint in the images below is not a new livery, which the Mercedes team are sporting but for aerodynamics testing. Rumours around the circuit claimed the Mercedes team were holding back at the Jerez circuit to not give away too much of their performance for the season ahead.
Red Bull stood out in Jerez for their drastically different graphic livery. The livery isn’t intended to be Red Bull’s new colours for the 2015 season but acts as a secret graphic designed to mask some of the surfaces and features of the new Red Bull formula one car. Similar graphics can usually been seen on road cars months before they make it to the production market. What exactly Red Bull are hiding on their new Formula one car is yet to be seen. They didn’t take their car to full power in testing and seemed to struggle in certain areas.
Pressure is high on the young team of Red Bull, with Ricciardo seen as the primary driver after just one season with the team. After a strong finish last season though and the only driver to take race wins over the dominant Mercedes, Ricciardo seems a worthy contestant to bring the formula one crown back to Red Bull. If that wasn’t enough, this month saw Ricciardo smash Hamilton’s power lap time on Top Gear by almost a second to be the fastest driver on the Top Gear formula one power lap board.
McLaren suffered one of their most disappointing seasons in Formula 1 history in 2014. However the pre-season news for the return of engine suppliers Honda and two time formula one champion Alonso coming back to Mclaren, high hopes are with the woking team for 2015. The livery has ditched the stealth look of 2014 and brought back the chrome finish mixed with Honda red graphics. Only time will tell how the experience team of Button and Alonso will work out on track with the new Honda enignes behind them, but team principal Ron Dennis is expecting a podium finish for the team in Melbourne, which is a huge improvement on last seasons performances.
The Ferrari team were the clear high achievers and most successful in the Jerez Formula 1 testing week. Kimi Raikkonen took the fast lap time of the weekend with team mate Sebastian Vettel only one tenth behind his team mate. Along with the majority of the other teams Ferrari has manage to ditch the horrible nose design from last year for something more aesthetically pleasing this season. The Italian team are looking much stronger and with four time champion Vettel behind the wheel hopes are high for a season challenging for the Formula 1 championship. However, Italian team boss is not running away with title hopes just yet. He lead speculations to other teams not showing their true potential and hasn’t quickly forgotten that Ferrari were one of the best teams in testing for 2014, but didn’t transfer it to the grid for the rest of the season.
Vettel has been in the spotlight for Ferrari off the track for good and bad reasons. The four time champion has recently come under criticism for his 2015 helmet design being ‘a complete rip off’ of Schumachers helmet design from his karting days. There are similarities between the two but both are a simple white helmet design paying tribute to their German roots through a graphic flag.
Vettel was also handed the keys to the 2.5million euros, Ferrari FXX K which is the track version of the La Ferrari. The stunning machine is only set to produce 40 units and Ferrari have already sold all of them. A 6.2 litre V12 engine combined with electric motors to give a combined output of 1050 Hp. Vettel is definitely enjoying the benefits, which come with his new formula one team.
Jerez has given us a sneak peak into how the championship may shape up. With some new interesting inter team battles, and the incredibly experience grid of over ten world championships wins spread around the high teams, anything could happen throughout the season. Mercedes are still the favourites, all eyes on Hamilton to take his third world championship even though the confetti has only just settled from last seasons victory. Tune in to the Melbourne opening grand prix in March to see how the season gets underway.