World Champion Lewis Hamilton roars into action this weekend as Formula 1 arrives in Australia. However, the 2009 season is a very different animal. New technical regulations should help overtaking by adding mechanical grip and reducing aerodynamic dependency. Cars therefore feature higher rear wings, smoother bodywork, and slick tyres. There is even an optional engine 'boost' button.
The FIA also proposed changes to the driver's championship. However, these unpopular measures were defered only days before the first race. The driver winning the most races, claimed the FIA, should become champion. Driver points would still have been awarded but only counted in the event of a tie. Second and lower places would have been decided on points alone. As things stand, scoring for both championships are unchanged.
Pre-season testing is notoriously difficult to interpret - but the teams appear closely matched. Ferrari is consistently fast, but Renault and Brawn GP (formally Honda) are serious contenders. McLaren is struggling for pace so Lewis Hamilton faces an uphill battle. Tune into the BBC for coverage.