Formula 1: 2013 Australian Grand Prix Preview

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Formula 1: 2013 Australian Grand Prix Preview
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The Australian Grand Prix marks the return of Formula One after a long and somewhat painful absence.

We haven't seen the cars racing since last November, and it'll be fascinating to see what the designers and engineers have done over the winter.

Sebastian Vettel, last year's champion, will start off as the default "man to beat" this time around, but strong challenges are expected from the likes of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

HRT's owners have done the decent thing and put the team to bed permanently, so we'll have a 22-car grid for the first time since the start of 2008.

Sergio Perez is having his first go in a true front-running car. Felipe Massa will no doubt be "driving for his future" before the end of first practice and many eyes will be on Nico Rosberg as he goes wheel-to-wheel with new teammate Hamilton.

There's so much to look forward to. It's like having a second Christmas, isn't it?

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