New Season, New Rules, New Result?

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Lewis Hamilton has his Mercedes firing heading into the Australian GP. Image courtesy of

With a multitude of rule changes during the off-season, many of the Formula 1 teams are underdone heading into the opening race of 2014, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend. Teams have been adapting to the regulation changes and reports indicate Mercedes have made the most progress in testing and that will transfer to the track. As a result, Lewis Hamilton is the firm favourite to take the chequered flag in Melbourne, ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg .

McLaren’s Jenson Button certainly knows his way around Albert Park, having won three of the last five races on the street circuit. Last year’s winner Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso head the Ferrari charge.

Interestingly, the Red Bulls have been basically written off in this race. He might be chasing five consecutive drivers’ championships, but Sebastian Vettel is an outsider down under. His team has done around half as much testing as Mercedes and Ferrari, and most are tipping the drop back from V8 power to V6 turbot Renault engines will hit Red Bull hard in the first half of the season.

In official testing in Bahrain, the 26-year-old German was 18th fastest, with new Red Bull second-driver Daniel Ricciardo 10th. The Australian, who has taken over from countryman Mark Webber, is at long odds to win his home GP. After finishing the test session at the top of the time sheets, Felipe Massa have given the rejuvenated Williams team renewed hope.

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