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Australian F1 Grand Prix 2015: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2015

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 23:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in Parc Ferme after winning the World Championship and the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 23, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Buckle up, because Formula One is back on our screens once again this weekend, with the season getting underway in traditional style with the Australian Grand Prix.

The Melbourne race at Albert Park is always one of the most hotly anticipated occasions on the sporting calendar, as drivers get their first competitive run-out of the campaign. But after a flurry of team changes during the offseason, there’s additional intrigue this term.

Australia is the typical starting point for the Formula 1 season.
Australia is the typical starting point for the Formula 1 season.Clive Mason/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton looks like the man to beat in his Mercedes once again, but with team-mate Nico Rosberg likely to be in hot pursuit, expect another thrilling opener to what’s one of the most anticipated F1 seasons in years. It’s simply unmissable; here’s all the information you need on where to catch the race live and a closer look at how the teams are shaping up ahead of the curtain-raiser Down Under.

Date: Sunday, Mar. 15

Time: 5 a.m. (GMT), 1 a.m. (ET), 2 p.m. (Local)

TV Info: Sky Sports F1 (UK), NBCSN (US)

Driver Line-Ups
TeamDriver 1Driver 2
Red BullDaniel RicciardoDaniil Kvyat
MercedesLewis HamiltonNico Rosberg
FerrariSebastian VettelKimi Raikkonen
LotusPastor MaldonadoRomain Grosjean
McLarenFernando AlonsoJenson Button
Force IndiaNico HulkenbergSergio Perez
SauberMarcus EricssonFelipe Nasr
Toro RossoMax VerstappenCarlos Sainz Jr
WilliamsValtteri BottasFelipe Massa
Formula1.com

Mercedes Remain the Team to Beat

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16:  The field prepares to start the warm up lap before the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 16, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)
Andrew Hone/Getty Images

While it’s often said that you can’t read too much into the testing sessions conducted prior to the season getting underway, there’s little denying that the silver arrows set to be piloted by Hamilton and Rosberg remain the fastest cars on the grid.

The new F1 W06 Hybrid seems to be an improvement on the W05 that allowed Mercedes to dominate the calendar last year, but as aforementioned, we’ll only know for certain when the lights go out come race day on Sunday.

The W06 has looked great in testing.
The W06 has looked great in testing.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Hamilton was the man who reaped the benefits of this efficient machine last season to take the championship and he’s admitted in the build-up to the race that he can’t wait to get back behind the wheel again, per Formula1.com:

You're impatient to get back to racing but, at the same time, you never know what a new season will bring. Testing gives you a basic idea of whether the car feels good or not but, beyond that, it's anyone's game to win.

The team have been working incredibly hard through the winter and it was great to see everyone in the factory before I left for Melbourne. I'm so thankful for everything they do and I want to show that in the best way I can out on track.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP poses on St Kilda beach during previews to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on March 12, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Indeed, his duel with Rosberg last season made for magnificent viewing, and there are plenty who are expecting a repeat of the fireworks that lit up the 2014 season, per BBC Sport:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

'Hamilton and Rosberg's rivalry can make 2015 a classic Formula 1 season' http://t.co/4oD8mPIOZH http://t.co/jPIn5uj0g7

While Mercedes look almost certain to reign supreme again this year, it’d be naive to completely rule out some of the other teams that have made significant strides during the break. Williams are definitely ones to watch and arguably the team with the best chance of challenging the silver arrows this weekend and for the remainder of the season.

Williams look poised to be Mercedes' biggest challengers.
Williams look poised to be Mercedes' biggest challengers.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa are both extremely capable drivers and toward the back end of the 2014 season they showcased enough pace to trouble the Mercedes pairing on race days. If they’re to get in the mix for race wins on a regular basis this season, they must improve their qualifying performances, a facet that Mercedes had a stranglehold on in 2014.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will also be looking to make an impression at his home Grand Prix. He’s the No. 1 driver with the team now following the departure of Sebastian Vettel to Ferrari and as we can see here courtesy of the team’s Twitter account, he’s going to have plenty of support in Melbourne:

Red Bull Racing @redbullracing

Aussies Rule. @DanielRicciardo finds the best way to gear up for his home race. Meeting the local support! #AusGP #F1 http://t.co/RykfzBIEUg

Disappointingly, Fernando Alonso will miss the chance to make his second McLaren debut following his injury in testing, but Jenson Button will be looking to repay the faith showcased by the team after they decided to keep him on alongside the Spaniard.

Alonso will have to wait before making his second McLaren bow.
Alonso will have to wait before making his second McLaren bow.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

As the Brit noted on Twitter prior to the race, he has a very good record in Australia too:

Jenson Button @JensonButton

“@FormulaBanter: STAT: @JensonButton has won 3 out of the last 6 races at Melbourne. Consistency”👍😉

At this stage of the season it’s perilously difficult to call a potential winner, but it would definitely be a big surprise if one of the Mercedes drivers wasn’t on the top step of the podium come the race climax on Sunday.

Rosberg is a man who endured torrid luck during the run for home last season, allowing Hamilton to build up serious momentum to take the world title. The German will be doubly determined to ensure any remaining impetus is nipped in the bud here and he’ll do so with a race win to get this season off to the best possible start.

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