Formula One: What’s new in 2015

Honda returns, Manor rises from the ashes

A McLaren-Honda partnership garnered much success from 1988-1992, and the Japanese manufacturer returns to once again provide the Woking outfit with their engines. Initial signs suggest that they won't immediately return to the top of the pack.

It seemed that Marussia were on their way out after going into administration at the back end of the 2014 season. However, Manor have stepped in to save the operation and the team will take their place on the 2015 grid.

Mexico

Formula One returns to Mexico for the first time since 1992. Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City will play host to the Mexican Grand Prix on November 1.

New drivers

There are five newcomers on the 2015 grid, with Max Verstappen joined by Carlos Sainz Jr at Toro Rosso, while Will Stevens and Roberto Mehri will turn out for Manor. Felipe Nasr will race for Sauber.

One helmet per season

In order to make drivers more recognisable, it has been decided that drivers can only use one helmet design in 2015.

Double points are gone

Few will be sorry to see the back of Bernie's double points plan which saw additional points awarded in the final race of the season. Luckily the ruling did not have an impact on the 2014 Drivers' Championship, and it's rightly been consigned to the garbage heap.

Virtual safety car

A virtual safety car, which was trialed at the end of practice sessions in 2014, will be introduced in one of a number of changes to safety regulations. According to the FIA, the virtual safety car will be used when "double-waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger." Drivers will have to reduce their speed and clock a defined time through each sector.

Fewer power units

In 2014 each driver was able to make use of five power units, a number which has been cut to four this season and won't be increased unless additional races are added to the schedule.

Weight

The minimum weight of the 2015 cars has been increased slightly to 702kg (without fuel). In 2014 the minimum weight was 691kg.

Penalties

The replacement of a power unit will no longer mean a driver starts from the pitlane, with grid and time penalties coming into play instead. However, a driver will start from the pitlane if any equipment is still on the grid when the 15-second signal is sounded. 

A ten-second stop-and-go penalty can now be taken before a pitstop following a successful trial of five-second penalties last season. 

An unsafe release will result in a a ten-second stop-and-go. If a team is given three warnings about unsafe releases a a ten-second stop-and-go will then be enforced.

Parc ferme 

Previously parc ferme conditions came into play after the end of the third practice session, this has been adjusted to until before the start of qualifying.

Testing

The number of in-season tests has been reduced from four to two. The tests are scheduled to take place on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the Spanish GP and the Austrian GP. 

In other non-race related running, teams will be able to run at two demonstration events during the course of the year.

Super Licence

Verstappen's elevation to a Toro Rosso race-seat at the age of just 17 has led many to suggest that he's too young to be on the F1 grid. As of 2016 the Dutch driver would not have been able to make his debut at such a sprightly age, with new Super Licence regulations requiring drivers to be 18 years of age or over and to have completed in at least two years in a junior formulae.
 

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