F1 Receives a Make-Over

12th March 2010

Formula One returns on the 12th- 14th March in Bahrain for the start of the 2010 season in what looks to be one of the most competitive campaigns ever. The sport (and yes, it is a sport) has undergone extensive off-season surgery and re-appears with a fresh and re-vitalised look.

For a start, the FIA (Formula 1’s FIFA) have brought in a new points system; changing from the top eight scoring points to the top ten. Whereas before the winner would receive a maximum 10 points, the driver who crosses the line first now gains 25, and the pattern continues 18-15-12-10-8-6-5-3-2-1, ensuring that first place holds a higher value so the drivers will be pushing for 1st place in every race, so I personally promise you overtaking aplenty.

There are a few other changes too, however the most notable of these has to be regarding refuelling laws. Previously, cars have been allowed to enter the pits during a race to top up with petrol because their fuel tanks aren’t big enough for a whole race. Even those of you who have never watched F1 are likely to be aware of this concept. Now that has changed, and cars can no longer pit to top up with petrol. The pit-stop remains active as tyres need to be changed, but now the vehicles are equipped with much larger fuel tanks to last them the whole race. This could make for incredible viewing!

Michael Schumacher (who returns in 2010) is on the final lap and clearly going to win. As a result of pushing for first place though, he has used up too much fuel, and agonisingly runs out of juice on the final corner, slowly coming to a stop 10 metres from the finishing line, and Lewis Hamilton manages to overtake him for 25 points. Imagine that! A car actually running out of fuel just before the finish. It’s the stuff of dreams, and this year it could genuinely happen.

The return of seven-time World Champion Schumacher sees him driving for Brawn GP’s (the team for whom World Champion Jenson Button drove last year) takeover company Mercedes. Other new outfits include Lotus F1 who are making their first appearance since 1994 and Richard Branson’s Virgin Racing, as well as Campos Meta 1, Sauber and US F1.

With two new grand prixs in Canada and South Korea added to the list, two British drivers in Hamilton and Button racing for the same team and anyone from six (the McLaren’s of Hamilton and Button, the Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, the up-and-coming German Sebastian Vettel and the man who has done it all before Schumacher) with a great shout of winning, this season does make the mouth of the F1 fan water with joy.

Yet despite all this, “so what?” I hear you say. “It still involves really fast cars driving round the same track over and over until the person who started first, finishes first.” Well firstly, that is not true at all, and secondly what would you normally do on a Sunday morning or afternoon? Instead of staying in bed or putting off yet another essay, get involved in one of the best seasons of one of the most expensive sports which will keep you entertained from March until November. Since us students don’t have the money to buy sports cars, we can always watch and pretend we are driving them. And hey, even if you can’t manage to get out of bed, you can always stream directly from the BBC website on your laptop, so you don’t even have to face the prospect of getting out from under your duvet to be met with a bitterly cold house.

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Sam Edwards