Another 20-chapter Formula 1 story begins at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, March 15, when a global audience numbering hundreds of millions watches the 2015 season get underway.
Last year’s winner, Lewis Hamilton, is favorite for the drivers’ championship followed by his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes are considered to be in pole position for the constructors’ championship as they seek back-to-back titles but Santander-sponsored Ferrari will have something to say about that. Their drivers Sebastian Vettel, who switched from Red Bull Racing Renault, and Kimi Räikkönen, share five drivers’ championships between them and will be pushing hard for another.
Hailing from across the Pond, I certainly take an interest in the fortunes of fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton and his victory last year was a high point in the sporting calendar of an Englishman, without doubt.
The intense competition with Rosberg kept the attention and reminded me of Damon Hill’s rivalry with Michael Schumacher, a fairly robust driver, in the 1990s. Hill managed only one championship to Schumacher’s outstanding seven, but Hamilton has been tipped in some quarters to reach Schumacher’s heights.
Banco Santander, parent company of Santander Consumer USA, is also sponsoring the Spanish Grand Prix, May 10, in addition to the British Grand Prix, July 5, and the German Grand Prix, July 19. These long-standing fixtures will be offering Hamilton, Rosberg and Fernando Alonso of McLaren-Honda, who has been seen as a strong title contender but misses the Melbourne season opener, chances to drive in front on their home crowds, and perhaps claim victories that would taste all the sweeter.
It’s the United States Grand Prix, taking place on October 25 in Austin, just down the road (by Texas standards) from Santander Consumer USA’s offices in Dallas, that I’m most anticipating. A relative newcomer to F1 venues that hosted its first Grand Prix in 2012, the Circuit of the Americas appears to be a favorite with the drivers. Besides an exhilarating, demanding course, who wouldn’t like racing under clear blue Texas skies and in front of those fantastic fans? The fact that Hamilton has won two out of three races there won’t stop me watching either.
For more information and full details of the Formula 1 season, visit the official website.