Arguably one of the biggest shocks during the past few months of Formula One downtime was unrelated to anything a driver or a team has said or done. Back in February the F1 editor of one of motosport's biggest online brands dropped a media bombshell and announced he would be leaving Autosport in May. Jonathan Noble decided to follow several of his colleagues to rival website Motorsport.com.
Amazingly, the 2015 Formula One season is now just over two weeks away. Launches are done, testing is almost complete, and we're starting to see at least a pattern in the results so far, if not anything concrete. McLaren have struggled, Mercedes have cruised, Ferrari have improved, and the midfield looks set for a shakeup. That's what I think, but what does the rest of the blogging world have to say about F1 at the moment?
Two weeks of testing so far have given us a few signs of what the coming year might be like. Mercedes are still strong, if not untouchable. Ferrari have improved, as have Sauber who have shown surprising pace. McLaren are very much on the back foot, and are now dealing with the repercussions from Fernando Alonso's accident last week as well. The Spaniard will sit out this final week, with Kevin Magnussen taking his place.
Formula 1 seems to be in a bit of a dodgy place right now. A lot of people are talking of crisis, the teams are looking to the future way ahead instead of trying to support those struggling in the current and the ongoing discussions of costs, changes and rules continues to jump back and forth as always. Yet what seems to have sparked quite a response as of late is the news that drivers will no longer be able to switch helmet designs from race to race during the season - a decision that is so supposedly minor for so many people yet has created a heck of a response.
The 2015 season is imminent, folks. Another 20 or so races, another bout of various controversies, poor strategy calls, iffy steward decisions probably some 'incidents' involving car number 13. And of course, Fantasy Grand Prix - the game where you get the chance to own your F1 team, hire some drivers, pick some teams and think of a name. You have to keep in budget too - you can't do a Caterham.
Ask anyone what Formula One is and they will no doubt reply with the almost clichéd response; “Formula One is the only racing series in which the best drivers in the world, with the best cars go head to head on the best tracks.” However, the simple fact is that it is no longer the case. The cars are certainly the finest examples of automotive engineering to date, there is no disputing that. The tracks are also some of the most testing environments for both man and machine. People will argue that they are a bit boring, but I have an irrational soft spot for them
With four days of testing already completed, teams have a fair idea of what challenges they are facing over the final two weeks. Moving on from Jerez, drivers will get to grips with the Barcelona circuit - a track they should know well, and will be racing on later in the year. Force India will be participating this week, after skipping the Jerez action, but they've confirmed they will be using an older version of their car.
The 2015 Formula One season might seem, on the surface, an extension of 2014, settling in after a year of upheavel. But delve only slightly further and you'll find a wealth of intriguing driver movements, fascinating new partnerships, and a whole lot of development still to be done. With a twenty stop calendar, nine teams and eighteen drivers to keep track of, the Guide to the 2015 Grand Prix Season becomes the ultimate F1 fan's resource.
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|McLaren Mercedes||Online||29 Jan|
|Sauber F1 Team||Online||30 Jan|
|Scuderia Ferrari||Online||30 Jan|
|Scuderia Toro Rosso||Jerez, Spain||31 Jan|
|Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Jerez, Spain||1 Feb|
|Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Jerez, Spain||1 Feb|
|Williams Martini Racing||Jerez, Spain||1 Feb|
|Lotus F1 Team||Jerez, Spain||2 Feb|
|Sahara Force India F1 Team||Online||25 Feb|
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||1 Feb|
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||2 Feb|
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||3 Feb|
|Circuito de Jerez||Spain||4 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||19 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||20 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||21 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||22 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||26 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||27 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||28 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||1 Mar|