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2010 Season: The New Era Begins!

Ravikumar RajagopalCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2010

BEIJING - NOVEMBER 04:  Seven-time world F1 champion Michael Schumacher (L) and the highest scoring British driver in F1 history David Coulthard arrive on the final day of the Race of Champions Beijing 2009 at Beijing National Stadium on November 4, 2009 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
Feng Li/Getty Images

The year 2010 should be the most exciting year for Formula One as the sport will see one of the strongest grids it has seen since the start of the '90s. There will be as many as four world champions on the grid, and, of course, the return of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher after a span of three years at the age of 41 is one of the biggest comebacks in all of sports. He will be joined by the man who beat him twice en route to the World Championship, Fernando Alonso who now will be driving for Schumacher’s old team Ferrari while McLaren will field the all British World Championship team of Lewis Hamilton, and the reigning Champion Jenson Button.

They will be joined on the grid by drivers of immense calibre like Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica and Mark Webber. All given a right car have the potential to win world championships while the oldest man on the grid for the 2009 season Rubens Barrichello will no longer be the oldest man as he was superseded by his onetime team Schumacher will be joined by a mix of veterans, youngsters and first-timers on the grid for the coming season.

Schumacher is not the name which is making a comeback, Mercedes though through Sauber first and then McLaren has been involved in the sport for a long-time now as an engine supplier will be returning as a factory run team after more than 50 years. Mercedes by taking over the Brawn team has brought back the Silver Arrow once again to the sport. Apart from these two names, Cosworth the most successful engine manufacturer after Ferrari is back while though apart from the name, the team has no connection to the Colin Chapman led Lotus team, the name is back while the Senna name is also back due to Bruno Senna, the nephew of the legendary driver late Ayrton Senna.

The season will also see some new rules and regulations with the ban on refuelling during the race being the biggest while KERS which was such a disappointment during the 2009 season has been scrapped for this year by FOTA. There are other various technical changes while the engine freeze continues to remain. The points system will see changes and it is expected to benefit the driver who wins the most rather than a driver who is consistently on the podium.

Formula One over the last few seasons have been very exciting with Ferrari and McLaren slugging it out for the championships and taking it down to the wire during the 2007 and 2008 seasons while in 2009, Brawn GP had a Cinderella story with Button winning his first championship and though it was not as close as it was the previous 2 seasons, it was nice to see Brawn slug it out with Red Bull another independent team while the well funded teams failed to match the pace of these two teams.

Though 13 teams are expected to be on the grid for the Bahrain GP, only 11 are in a real position to enter and off the new teams, Lotus & Virgin Racing are well equipped to start the season while there are doubts hovering around the possibility of USF1 and Campos actually starting the season on time.

Though 2010 a lot of new things can be expected but some things will never change and don’t be too surprised to see Ferrari and McLaren fighting it out for the title while the all German team of Schumacher and Rosberg led Mercedes may take the fight to the Big 2 of the sport while Red Bull remains a dark horse and in Vettel they have a driver who can upset the established order. It is a season where as many as 4 teams will be in the running for the Championships while among the drivers as many as 6 of them do have a chance for the Championship.

Among the drivers expecting their first victory, Nico Rosberg is and could be the only one with a realistic chance of making it happen while fellow German Nick Heidfeld will be lucky to make it to the grid leave alone a win.

With the exit of Honda, Toyota, BMW and the sell-out of a major stake by Renault, F1 has only two manufacturer backed teams in Ferrari and Mercedes and it has gone back to its roots with a lot of independent teams led by the experienced due of McLaren and Williams. It was only a few years back that Williams was the only true independent team but now a host of other teams have followed them.

2010 is a new era for the sport and the season could be the most unpredictable for the sport. The return of Schumacher would do a great deal of good for the sport but then with a very talented gird which is a mix of seasoned professionals joined by some exciting rookies bodes well for the sport which truly is the pinnacle of motorsports.

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