2014 is upon us and the 2013 world championship is but a distant memory and an etching in the history book, as F1 '14 style is here and is going to be quite different!
1) Different looking cars.
Of course I'm hoping for low noses such as the beautiful cars of the early nineties although I very much doubt that this will be the case! The car's may take some getting used to however I do like a change and the cars were all looking very similar as all of the teams converged on the best way of doing things!
Add to this different liveries (hopefully) and the new driver numbers, F1 cars are certainly going to look very different.
2) Turbo Engines + ERS
The 2014 cars will essentially be 200mph Hybrid engines which will have a massive knock on effect as the car industry looks to develop more fuel efficient vehicles for the mass market. The relevance is undoubted and really is a good thing. Whilst the Turbo engines echo the 'good old days' that those of us old enough to remember look back on so fondly and the new Energy Recovery Systems really are amazing pieces of future technology. How are they going to sound? How hard are they going to be to drive? Its going to make fascinating viewing.
3) Drivers in new teams and very exciting rookies!
We all want to see how Raikkonen does at Ferrari up against Alonso, this is absolutely the most interesting driver line up of recent times. We all remember how Fernando threw the toys out of the pram last time he didn't get preferential treatment and we remember how Raikkonen switched off and lost interest when he was getting beaten by Massa.
Magnussen at McLaren is a great opportunity for the young lad but he is going to need to beat Jenson to prove he's got what it takes to be the best and to keep his seat!
Kvyat at Torro Rosso is another exciting young talent who looks like he could really ave a great future, his challenge is to beat Vergne who is no slouch however if Vergne does get beaten, I can't imagine him keeping his drive for long with other great young talents knocking on the door within the Red Bull young driver programme.
Ricciardo to Red Bull alongside Vettel, who is at the height of his game and still young enough to improve, this is the challenge of his life! Daniel needs to do better than Webber has previously and give Vettel a tough time and be there to consistently collect good points and wins.
4) New Venues
We know what to expect from the Austrian GP at what used to be the A1 ring (now the Red-Bull ring) and have seen plenty of drama there over the year, it is certainly a welcome addition to the calendar as European races seem to be dropping like flies in recent years! The Russian GP in Sochi is a great coup by Bernie Ecclestone. F1 needs to be in Russia and really needs to put on a good show, the circuit certainly looks interesting, lets hope the crowds come in!
F1 wouldn't be F1 without paddock politics and this year will certainly be no different. In fact it has already started with the internal power struggle at McLaren and the potential replacement of Martin Whitmarsh as the team principle and the latest news that Bernie Ecclestone is going on trial in Germany in April charged with bribing a German banker over details of the sale of F1's commercial rights. Also expect the FIA to weigh into this as Todt looks to claim back more revenue for the FIA and some more control over the commercial side of the sport. Whilst another bad year for Ferrari could well see heads roll and where is Ross Brawn going to pop up next? McLaren? Ferrari? The FIA?
At the time of writing there are more answers than questions, but the good news is that we are less than a week away from seeing a few of the new cars, hearing announcements on new title sponsors and the final driver line up at Caterham being announced. I for one cannot wait to see how this develops! We could certainly be talking about F1 in 2014 for many many years to come!