24 drivers, 5 champions and 6,000km of racing

2011 F1 season preview

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Heading into 2011 the F1 rules have had the usual off-season overhaul.

But there have been few changes to the driver line-up. Had a rally crash not ended Robert Kubica’s season before it had started, the top five teams of last year would all be heading into 2011 with the same drivers.

That consistency could prove vital in a year when the teams face some formidable technical challenges. For 2011 cars feature the radical and controversial Drag Reduction System and the return of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems.

The change of tyre supplier to Pirelli may seem rather undramatic by comparison. But the importance of this change cannot be understated. The chemistry that takes place between the rubber and the road is fundamental to a car’s performance.

The brief given to Pirelli was to supply tyres that wear out quickly. Their aim is to create more races like last year’s thrilling Canadian Grand Prix – voted the best race of the season by F1 Fanatic readers.

The evidence from testing so far indicates that life has become much more difficult for the drivers. Yesterday world champion Sebastian Vettel talked about drivers needing three or even four stops for tyres in each race.

The team that cracks the tyre model quickest, and the drivers who can make them last the longest, will be the ones who claim the big prize in eight monthss time.

Assuming the Bahrain Grand Prix is put back on the calendar, the 24 drivers will do battle over a season of record length, covering almost 6,000km.

Among their number are five champions, the most ever seen in a single season, led by reigning title holder Vettel.

Fernando Alonso is already being tipped as the man most likely to usurp Vettel, having come so close to winning a third title last year.

After a disappointing comeback season in 2010, much attention will be focussed on the efforts of Michael Schumacher and Mercedes to recapture their former glories.

For the second year in a row McLaren boast a pair of world champions in Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. But it remains to be seen whether the radical design of their MP4-26 will pay off.

And then there’s the question of whether Renault can carry the momentum they built up last year into the new season – despite having lost their lead driver.

These are just a few of the fascinating storylines that will unfold out over a season which will hopefully prove every bit as exciting as last year’s.

F1 Fanatic’s 2011 season preview starts here and will run up to the start of the season in Melbourne.

2011 F1 season preview


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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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53 comments on 24 drivers, 5 champions and 6,000km of racing

  1. Dev said on 3rd March 2011, 12:52

    i hope HRT come with their new car as scheduled. i hope it has forward exhaust near side pots, double floor like STR06, U sidepots like Mclaren. And i hoep it’s blinding quick like RBR!

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd March 2011, 13:25

    Looking forward to this so much. Year on year i’m finding new things to enjoy and get my teeth into!

    Disappointed it’s not starting this weeked. But waiting is half the fun I guess!

    I’ll be paying a visit to Monza which should be incredible and hopefully Silverstone.

    From a drivers point of view my eyes will be focussing on the guys at Mercedes. I expect Schumacher to be more competitive and more podiums from Rosberg, especially if the rumours of a dodgy MP4-26 come to fruition, tightening up the gap between the top few teams.

    From a technical point of view, DRS will be interesting to watch develop and of course the Pirelli’s should provide some brilliant races.

  3. sumedh said on 3rd March 2011, 13:40

    This is what Bernie said in an interview : In the life of every successful Formula One driver comes the moment when he wants to sit in a Ferrari.

    This just shows which team is the most revered and popular team in the sport.

  4. Once again, someone praises Vettel and forgets to list Webber as a contender. What does the guy have to do to get some respect?

    • Cacarella said on 3rd March 2011, 14:03

      I think the article is referring to past champions, of which Webber is not.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd March 2011, 14:22

      Once again, someone praises Vettel

      Where?

      and forgets to list Webber

      I didn’t forget anything. You’ll also notice Massa and Rosberg aren’t mentioned. And about a dozen other drivers for that matter.

      That’s because this is a brief introduction to the season preview, not a line-by-line analysis of every single driver and team’s chances this year.

  5. Andy C said on 3rd March 2011, 16:21

    Keith

    I was surprised to see the different coverage of Mercedes and McLaren in Autosport this week.

    Front page and leading article state a massive issue for Mercedes, and crisis point because they are too slow.

    McLaren on the other hand, have been handed a great opportunity to improve the handling and speed of their car before the season opener in Australia.

    As a McLaren fan it made me chuckle a little, but being objective I didnt really see the difference.

    Both teams have issues and a lack of pace. Of course the MP4-26 has had less running (l test less), but I didnt see the difference.

    Your thoughts?

    • Dave Blanc said on 4th March 2011, 2:44

      Totally agree. I guess the only difference is that McLaren are still talking up their car’s potential whereas Mercedes have been less optimistic.

      • Andy C said on 4th March 2011, 10:51

        I would prefer McLaren to do their talking on the track. :-)

        When was the last time we had the fastest car being a McLaren.

  6. Menth said on 3rd March 2011, 17:17

    The 6000km of racing got me thinking. Has anyone ever put together who took the shortested time to do the race distances. IE who did the most and who did what they did the fastest?

  7. Leon said on 3rd March 2011, 21:48

    ‘The important of this change cannot be understated’

    ???

    The importance of this change cannot be overstated ?

    nit-pickers unite !

    Cheers

    Leon

  8. fariedh said on 4th March 2011, 2:53

    time for ferrari

  9. Romesh82 (@romesh82) said on 4th March 2011, 3:18

    @ Keith Collantine
    i must say hats off for your work,
    Im following F1 from Srilanka.All the indepth analysis im getting isd thru you and ur site.

    /Images uploaded somly awsome.

    Great job.keep it up.

    Cant wait till AUSTRALIAN GP. i really miss the Sound of a FULL trottle F1 engine.

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