1. More sliding
What do you get when you cut downforce and give a Formula 1 driver an engine with significantly more torque? That’s right, lots of old-school sliding. This year’s cars will be a handful to say the least, so expect plenty of sideways action as the drivers fight to maintain control.
2. A new competitive order
2014 has seen the biggest regulations shake-up in the sport’s history. It has the potential to mix up race orders, with backmarkers moving up the grid and top teams falling behind. Be prepared for some unexpected results.
3. Dramatic failures
The opening few rounds of the championship depend on reliability. With so much new tech – including ERS, the new V6 Turbo engine and the tricky brake-by-wire system – some expect half of the field (or more) to retire from the season opener. We’re bound to see some spectacular mechanical failures in 2014 and they could happen at any time.
4. Five champions
The 2014 F1 grid looks incredibly strong with five world champions competing this season. What’s more, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton all look like potential title challengers with strong cars.
Despite his four world titles, some refuse to believe Sebastian Vettel is a real legend of the sport. However, with Red Bull struggling for reliability in pre-season testing and a sub-standard car, here is his chance to prove them wrong.
5. Fresh faces
Fresh talent is always welcome and often spices up the action in F1. There will be three rookies on the grid in 2014. Kevin Magnussen is highly-rated and will be looking to ‘do a Lewis Hamilton’ at McLaren, Toro Rosso sprung a surprise by signing GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson has plenty to prove after four underwhelming years in GP2, bringing plenty of financial backing to Caterham.
6. A new track
The 2014 F1 grid will feature a brand new circuit this year. The Sochi International Street Circuit in Russia will be fast and challenging, with unforgiving barriers ready to punish even the smallest of mistakes. The high-speed Red Bull Ring – formerly known as the A1 Ring – in Austria also returns after an 11-year absence from the calendar.
7. A new sound
The engine notes of the new F1 cars will certainly split opinion with their raspier and lower tone. While they’ll be quieter expect plenty of whizzes and pops under braking as well as an almost sci-fi whoosh as the new ERS system kicks in.
8. More speed
With the combination of the new V6 Turbo engine, the new and more powerful Energy Recovery System, DRS and the reduction in downforce, the new F1 cars will be even faster in 2014. Some even expect the new machines to reach up to 220mph on the straights of the insanely quick Monza circuit.
9. The return of Martini
One of motorsport’s most iconic brands has returned to F1 with the Williams team, bringing its sexy livery with it. Martini will certainly bring a splash of glamour to the paddock and the team’s new rooftop motorhome bar will be the place to be seen for those lucky enough to have access.
10. Fire and ice
Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen make up, arguably, the strongest line-up on the 2014 grid and will be fighting hard for inter-team supremacy. It could create fireworks both on and off track, and will certainly be fantastic to watch.