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Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Timo Glock
Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button
Vitaly Petrov
Robert Kubica
Nico Hülkenberg
Rubens Barrichello
Tonio Liuzzi
Adrian Sutil
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi
Jaime Alguersuari
Virgin Racing
Red Bull Racing
Christian Horner, Team Principal
2010 Virgin Racing VR-01
Team Principal John Booth
Technical Director Nick Wirth
Williams Cosworth
Force India
Honda, Toyota and BMW turned their back to Formula
One, only car manufacturers Renault, Mercedes and
Ferrari will be present at the Grand Prix circuits in
2010. However, Renault sold out to investor Genii and is
therefore not a real manufacturer team anymore.

Peter Sauber managed to save the BMW team and they
will be competing under the BMW-Sauber name. Without
the new teams there would only be nine teams or 18 cars
at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14th. It
could have been worse, without the rescue of Renault
and Sauber, only seven teams with 14 cars would
compete in 2010.

In 2009 the FIA admitted the four new teams: Lotus
F1, Virgin Racing, US F1 Team and Campos Meta.  Before
the season actually started, USF1 folded and Campos
Meta became Hispania Racing F1.

New Rules:
* Number of dry-weather tyres has been reduced to 11
sets (14 sets in 2009)
* Size of the front tyres has been reduced to 245/55
R13 (270/55 R13 in 2009),
* The teams who make it to Q3, will have to start the
race on the same tyres they used during Q3.
* Refueling ban
More New Rules:
* FIA will not publish the car weights this year,
* Penalty for exceeding 8 engines for the season:     
Drop 10 positions on grid.
* Penalty for exceeding 1 gearbox for 4 consecutive
races: Drop 5 places on grid.
* New scoring system of 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1
for the first 10 drivers in a race
Lucas di Grassi
Team Principal Frank Williams
Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh
Team Principal Eric Boullier
Team Principal Peter Sauber
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal
Team Principal: Franz Tost
Ross Brawn, Team Principal
Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg
Jarno Trulli
Heikki Kovalainen
Lotus - Malaysia Racing Team
Team Principal Tony Fernandes
Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne
Fernando Alonso
Felipe Massa
Hispania Racing F1 Team
Team Principle  Dr. Collin Kolles
Bruno Senna
Karun Chandhok
2010 BMW Sauber C29
Pedro de la Rosa
Kamui Kobayashi
2010 Ferrari F10
2010 McLaren MP4-25
2010 Renault R30
2010 Force India VJM03
2010 Red Bull RB6
2010 Lotus T127
2009 Brawn car with 2010 livery
2010 Williams FW32
2010 Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5
2010 season ready to roll with new cars and rules

March 2nd, 2010

With only 10 days to go before the official start of the 2010
Formula One season at the Bahrain International Circuit, it is
about time to see what can be expected from the Formula One
teams this season. Unfortunately it is, at this moment, not clear
of what the situation for the Campos Meta and US F1 teams is.
Collin Kolles, Campos team principal, has vowed to bring two cars
to the circuit of Bahrain in time, US F1 has major problems and
are struggling to keep their Formula One hopes alive.

However, if everything goes according to plan, the pinacle
single-seater series will be welcoming four rookie teams and four
rookie drivers this year. Two drivers are returning to Formula
One, after three years of absence: seven times world champion
Michael Schumacher will return to the circuits with the Mercedes
GP team. And the former McLaren test and reserve driver Pedro
de la Rosa will make a season long race return with the Sauber
team. The Spaniard's career appeared to end with Jaguar at the
end of 2002.

If everything does go according to plan, also a number of familiar
names from the past will make their return this year; Mike
Gascoyne (Lotus), Colin Kolles (Campos), Daniele Audetto (Campos)
and Ken Anderson (US F1). Engine builder Cosworth, with an
incredible 176 wins between 1963 and 2006, the most successful
engine builder ever, also makes a comeback to Formula One. They
will supply engines to Williams, Lotus, Virgin, Campos and US F1.
And after 16 years of absence, the legendary Lotus team, now a
complete Malaysian team with a Malaysian license, will be back
this year.

The governing body of Formula one and other racing series
welcomes new Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)
president Jean Todt, who has reformed the FIA organization
during the winter, let's see if he has succeeded in improving the
interaction between the FIA and the Formula One Teams
Association (FOTA).

New regulations

There are number of changes in the regulations, not as many
changes as in 2009, but there are a few significant changes. About
the tyres; the number of dry-weather tyres has been reduced to
11 sets (14 sets in 2009), 6 sets of prime tyres and 5 sets of
option tyres, and for wet-weather 4 sets of intermediates and 3
sets of full wet-weather tyres. To get a better balance between
the grip of the front and rear tyres, the size of the front tyres
has been reduced to 245/55 R13 (270/55 R13 in 2009), so the
front tyres will be narrower compared to 2009. The teams who
make it to Q3, will have to start the race on the same tyres they
used during Q3.

The second major change is the refueling ban, strangely enough
the refueling ban wasn't imposed to make the cars and engines
more fuel efficient or to improve overtaking, but the FIA hopes
to reduce the costs for teams, they won't have to ship the large
and heavy refueling equipment anymore. Unfortunately he FIA will
not publish the car weights this year, a pity, because without
those weights we cannot tell which engine is in fact the most fuel
efficient engine. Less fuel in the tank is of course a huge
advantage, and sofar it is believed Renault has the most fuel
efficient engine, but drivers themselves can also save fuel by
adapting a more fuel efficient driving style.

The use of engines and gearboxes has been tweaked a little
compared to last year, a driver can still use 8 engines per season
and a driver may use no more than one gearbox for four
consecutive races. Exceeding these limits will result in a grid
penalty, 10 places for an engine, and 5 places for a gearbox. In
addition the regulations now also state: "If two such additional
engines are used during a single Event [race] the driver concerned
will drop ten places on the starting grid at that Event and at the
following Event."

At the request of the teams, because there are now more teams
in Formula One, the points system has been tweaked as well. The
new scoring system of 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 for the first 10
drivers in a race should, according to the FIA, be an incentive for
drivers to fight for the first place in the race instead of just
picking up points, and the teams at the back of the field will fight
harder to end in the top ten.

Take it to the limit

Teams are already exploring the loopholes in the new regulations,
wheel covers have been banned, no devices may be physically
attached to the wheel anymore, but during testing in Spain wheels
with aerodynamically shaped inner rims were spotted on the
Ferrari F10. In an attempt to prevent teams from building all
kinds of complicated and expensive pit equipment, the new
regulations also state: "Powered devices which assist in lifting any
part of a car are forbidden in the pit lane during a race", which
means pneumatically, hydraulically or electrically powered jacks to
lift the car are not allowed, but Mercedes has already
experimented with a jack system which uses mechanically spring
loaded jacks.

The design of the double diffuser, which will be banned after this
season, has also been stretched to the limit, some teams feel
that some of their colleagues have crossed the limits, and it is
very well possible that teams will ask the FIA for clarification of
the rules concerning the diffuser, just like last year. Persistent
rumors say Mercedes has developed a 'super diffuser' and
deliberately hasn't used it during testing and will only fit the
diffuser on the Thursday before the race at Bahrain. On that day
the teams will have to bring their cars to the FIA Technical
Commission for inspection, and only then we will know if all the
designs are legal or not.

Tire and pit stop strategy

The tire compound gap will remain and Bridgestone will supply
Hard, Medium, Soft and Super-Soft tire compounds. In dry
weather teams will have to use both of the two allocated tire
compounds, the softest compound will be marked with a green
band on the sidewall of the tire. In some cases it will be possible
to make only one pit stop, start the race on the hardest compound,
and finish the race on the softer compound, but computer pit stop
simulations indicated teams will be on a two or three stop
strategy, just like last year. Because of the increased weight
(due to the refueling ban), the condition of the tires will be the
most important factor for the teams to determine when and how
many pit stops they will make. Drivers will have to look after the
tires, if they don't, it might cost them an extra pit stop.

Pit stops will be very fast this year, some teams have already
been practicing pit stops during the test days in Spain last month
and Williams test director Dickie Stanford claimed the Williams
team had sofar clocked a record time of 2.83 seconds. To change
the tyres even quicker, Ferrari has designed a new cone-shaped
wheel nut that integrates better with the wheel gun. Ferrari has
sofar not used the wheel nut during testing, but Spanish papers
reported the team has done testing back in Italy. While previously
the wheel nut safety fastener needed to be pulled out manually by
a mechanic, the fastener will now be automatically engaged when
the wheel gun has tightened the wheel with the correct amount of

Also back is the 'traffic light' pit stop system, Ferrari has
experimented with it in the past, and Mercedes has build a new
version of it and intends to use it during races. The automated
system has become less complex, because there won't be any
refueling which has always been the most dangerous and time
consuming part of a pit stop. The driver will not watch the lollypop
man, but an overhead traffic light and can take off once it has
changed from red to green. The automated system can be halted
manually, which is necessary in case of an emergency, or when
another car passes the team's pit box at the same time the
driver wants to take off.

The implications of the refueling ban

The most notable change in the regulations is of course the
refueling ban. Teams will now have to start the race with the fuel
tanks completely topped up, and will be carrying some 180 kilo's
weight in fuel at the start of a race. The extra weight will have an
enormous impact on the behavior of the car during the first part
of the race, and most teams had to redesign the front an rear
wheel suspensions, and find extra space for the enlarged fuel
tanks. The extra weight also means the wheel suspensions, tyres,
brake pads, brake discs, springs and shock absorbers will be
exposed to a lot more wear and tear compared to last year. Some
teams are especially concerned about the brakes, last year we
already saw a number of brake discs go up in smoke, so drivers
will have to be gentle on the brakes this season.

Unfortunately this means all teams had to completely redesign
their car, which from a cost saving point of view doesn't make
much sense. And when the double diffuser will be banned next
year, teams will again have to redesign their car. It would have
been much better if the FIA would have, instead of the ban on
refueling, promoted fuel economy by limiting the amount of fuel a
car is allowed to use during a race. The costs of redesigning a car
are much higher than the costs saved on transporting and
operating the traditional fuel rigs, even on the long term.

The argument the danger of pit fires will be eliminated doesn't
make much sense either. If a car catches fire in the pit lane, at
least there are plenty of marshals and fire extinguishers at hand,
if a car catches fire on track, it takes some time before marshals
arrive at the scene, and by then it might be too late. And with
over 200 liters of fuel in a car at the start of a race, the risk
things might go wrong is in fact higher, the more fuel, the greater
the risks will be.

The 2010 cars

Because of the new enlarged fuel tank all cars now have a longer
wheel base, and the narrow and high nose with its characteristic
humps just before the cockpit as introduced by Red Bull Racing in
2009 (designed by Adrian Newey) is now incorporated in almost all
2010 car designs. The raised nose is necessary to get a good
airflow under and around the front of the car, which in its turn
helps to guide the air to the rear diffuser. The introduction of
narrower front tyres has also led to new front wing designs, and
again the front wing design contributes to the airflow around the
front of the car and therefore also has an impact on the working
of the rear diffuser.

The rear diffuser is of paramount importance to get the
necessary down force, and more down force means of course more
grip and faster lap times. In fact, the whole front of the car is
designed with only one thing in mind; to get the maximum
performance from the rear diffuser. Ferrari has gone one step
further, they have come up with the 'tilted engine' concept, the
engine is mounted under a 3.5 degree angle to maximize the
performance of the diffuser. The idea is not entirely new, the
same feature was seen on the 1979 Arrow A2 design.

The side pods are even smaller now and are placed further to the
back of the car, but still have the characteristic teardrop design
to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. Because of the
increased wheelbase, most exhaust pipes have been relocated, the
exhausts have an impact on engine performance and fuel
consumption as well. The shark fin shaped engine covers also seem
to be larger and longer than ever, and in some cases they even
extend over the top of the rear wing.

Also new is the CDF (Computational Fluid Dynamics) designed
Virgin car, Nick Wirth, technical director of the Virgin team,
firmly believes in designing a car solely relying on CFD technology,
without the aid of scale models or wind tunnels. Without a doubt
CFD technology will become common in Formula One, the technique
is already in use by other teams, but only time will tell whether
the technology of today is advanced and reliable enough to make
wind tunnel testing obsolete. If Wirth is right, teams can
certainly save a lot of money on wind tunnel testing.

Rivalry within teams

Many great drivers have paired up for 2010 and are racing for the
same team; Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, Michael
Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button
and Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. All of them have of
course the same ambition, they want to win the championship. Nico
Rosberg has to watch out Schumacher will not dominate the
Mercedes team, and Button wants to prove he's faster than
Hamilton, while Hamilton wants to prove the opposite, the same
goes for Massa and Alonso. At Red Bull Racing, Vettel is still the
favorite to become the world champion, but Webber will certainly
not sit back without putting up a fight, and simply watch Vettel
win the title.

Of course there is also rivalry amongst teams, airline owners
Tony Fernandes (Lotus) and Richard Branson (Virgin) have made a
bet about who of them will be the fastest this year, the one who
loses the bet will have to dress up like a stewardess and serve
coffee and tea on the airline of the winner.

A new season

All the ingredients are there, new teams, new drivers, new team
bosses, new regulations, and if everything goes according to plan,
we will see 13 teams with 26 drivers on the start grid of the next
19 races. This year there are four world champions active in
Formula One; Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Lewis
Hamilton and current title defender Jenson Button. The 2010
Formula One season looks very promising, lets forget about all the
misery Formula One had to go through last year, and let's enjoy
the 2010 season.