Formula 1 enters a brand new era today in Australia at the start of the 2014 season, featuring a raft of new regulations changes, driver changes and technical advancements that makes this race one of the most anticipated in decades.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes stormed to pole position in the wet conditions of qualifying yesterday, denying Daniel Ricciardo his first pole position at his home race on debut for Red Bull. However, teammate Sebastian Vettel endured a disastrous session, and will start the race down in 12th place. His chances of winning a record breaking tenth straight grand prix are all but over.
After qualifying, there have been three changes made to the starting grid:
Valtteri Bottas has been demoted five places on the grid due to a gearbox penalty.
Esteban Gutierrez has also been demoted five places on the grid due to a gearbox penalty.
Romain Grosjean has elected to start the race from the pit lane.
2014 Australian Grand Prix Starting Grid
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
9. Felipe Massa Williams
10. Jenson Button McLaren
11. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
13. Adrian Sutil Sauber
14. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
15. Valtteri Bottas Williams
16. Sergio Perez Force India
17. Max Chilton Marussia
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia
19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 20. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
Diaz (right) is another prototype class veteran, with recent PC experience (8Star Motorsports and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) added to his LMP2 days with Fernandez Racing.
All three of them also competed in Champ Car World Series races in Mexico City, with Gonzalez and Diaz part of a six-Mexican driver entry in the 2003 race (Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario Dominguez and Rodolfo Lavin).
Ricardo Gonzalez co-drives the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the WEC.
Around two-thirds of the Formula E grid also race in the WEC, with the two championships preventing clashes so that drivers do not have to pick between them. As a result, it seems inevitable that one of the races will have to change date.
Jolyon Palmer felt “gutted” after a likely top-10 finish in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was lost following a spin in the closing stages, costing him his first Formula 1 points.
2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Renault for its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, but arrived in Hungary without a point to his name from the opening 10 races of the season.
Palmer was left disappointed on Saturday after a red flag knocked him out of qualifying at the first hurdle, but a long first stint brought him into contention for points.
Palmer moved into the top 10 after jumping Nico Hulkenberg in the pits, only for Renault’s hard work to be undone when he spun off at Turn 4, losing three positions in the process.
The Briton was ultimately classified 12th after Esteban Gutierrez’s time penalty, extending his points drought to 11 races.
“I’m gutted as my first points in Formula 1 were there for the taking,” Palmer said.
“The car was good and I was driving well within myself in P10. I turned in the same as normal at turn four – I wasn’t hanging everything out and I was looking after the tires – but for some reason I lost the car in a massive snap.
“I need to look at everything with my engineers to see if there is anything we could have done to prevent it.
“I was running tenth, we had completed all our pit stops, we had good pace relative to those ahead and behind so it looks like we’ve made a real step forward this weekend.
“It was the best drive of my career today and just one small spin took away those points.
“I’m gutted today but I’ll be fighting to get in the same position or better in Hockenheim.”