Formula One - the new season begins

Caroline Cassidy

After a few long, winter months without a fix, petrolheads throughout the world are once again gearing up for the new Formula One season as the race for the Championship begins again.

Formula One car
Formula One car

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The action starts on 25 - 27 March with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

This year the racing calendar has been expanded to 20 rounds as the inaugural running of the Indian Grand Prix is added to the fixture.

Since tyre manufacturer Bridgestone declined to renew their contract with the sport, rivals Pirelli have taken over as sole tyre supplier for all F1 teams but after the very first test session in Valencia, several drivers experienced greater wear with the Pirelli tyres and both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have reportedly suggested more than one tyre stop may be necessary come race season.

Pre-season testing has been underway for some time and most recently, champ Sebastian Vettel has been setting the pace at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya for Red Bull. He will be hoping that he can successfully defend his title as Driver's Champion, while Red Bull will also rely on Mark Webber.

But he will face stiff competition from motor racing legend Michael Schumacher who teams up with Nico Rosberg for Mercedes and who has already outstripped Ferrari's Felipe Massa at the four-day test in Jerez. However, Ferrari also boast the talented Fernando Alonso and the two-time world champion will no doubt be trying to regain the title.

British fans will be hoping to see Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button returning to their best for McLaren while Williams rely on Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado.

Or perhaps Renault will return to the top spot with the aid of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov.

Who's your tip for the top spot?