2015 Formula One season
|2015 FIA Formula One
World Championship season
GP2 Series · GP3 Series
The 2015 Formula One season is the 66th season of the Formula One World Championship, a motor racing championship for Formula One cars which is recognised by the sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), as the highest class of competition for open-wheel racing cars. Twenty-one drivers representing ten teams are contesting nineteen scheduled Grands Prix, starting in Australia on 15 March and ending in Abu Dhabi on 29 November as they compete for the World Drivers' and World Constructors' championships.
Lewis Hamilton is the defending Drivers' Champion after securing his second title at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. His team, Mercedes, began the season as the defending Constructors' Champion, having secured its first championship title at the 2014 Russian Grand Prix.
After ten races, Hamilton leads the Drivers' Championship standings by 21 points from team-mate Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in third. Mercedes leads the Constructors' standings ahead of Ferrari and Williams.
- 1 Teams and drivers
- 2 Season calendar
- 3 Regulation changes
- 4 Season report
- 5 Results and standings
- 6 Footnotes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Teams and drivers
|Entrant||Constructor||Chassis||Power unit||Tyre||No.||Race drivers||Rounds||No.||Free Practice drivers|
|Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||SF15-T||Ferrari 059/4||P||5
| Sebastian Vettel
|Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India-Mercedes||VJM08
|Mercedes PU106B Hybrid||P||11
| Sergio Pérez
|Lotus F1 Team||Lotus-Mercedes||E23 Hybrid||Mercedes PU106B Hybrid||P||8
| Romain Grosjean
|Manor Marussia F1 Team||Marussia-Ferrari||MR03B||Ferrari 059/3||P||28
| Will Stevens‡
|McLaren Honda||McLaren-Honda||MP4-30||Honda RA615H Hybrid||P||20
| Kevin Magnussen
|Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||F1 W06 Hybrid||Mercedes PU106B Hybrid||P||6
| Nico Rosberg
|Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Red Bull-Renault||RB11||Renault Energy F1-2015||P||3
| Daniel Ricciardo
|Sauber F1 Team||Sauber-Ferrari||C34||Ferrari 059/4||P||9
| Marcus Ericsson
|Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso-Renault||STR10||Renault Energy F1-2015||P||33
| Max Verstappen
Carlos Sainz Jr.
|Williams Martini Racing||Williams-Mercedes||FW37||Mercedes PU106B Hybrid||P||19
| Felipe Massa
^‡ Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were entered for the first round in Australia, but although both they and Manor were present, they did not compete as the team were unable to complete their cars in time for the event.
- Honda returned to Formula One as an engine supplier, providing McLaren with a V6 engine and Energy Recovery System package, ending the team's 20-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz. Honda had previously supplied McLaren from 1988 until 1992, when they ended their involvement in Formula One. Honda returned to the sport in 2000, again as an engine supplier, providing British American Racing and Jordan Grand Prix with engines until they purchased the former in 2006 and competed as a constructor until 2008.
- Lotus changed engine suppliers, ending their association with Renault in favour of a deal with Mercedes. This ended a 20-year involvement of Renault with the Enstone based team, after being an engine supplier to Benetton since 1995, and being the owner of the team from 2002 to 2010.
- Following the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, Marussia went into administration, missing the final three races of the 2014 season. In November 2014, administrators announced that the Marussia team would cease trading and close down, but the team was saved from liquidation in February 2015 when new investment was secured and the team left administration after an agreement with creditors was reached. The team re-entered as Manor Marussia and re-registered as a British, rather than Russian team.
- The assets of Caterham F1 were auctioned off by company administrators during the opening rounds of the season, and they were not included on the final entry list published ahead of the opening race.
- Fernando Alonso replaced Kevin Magnussen at McLaren, returning to the team after he last raced for them in 2007. Following an accident during pre-season testing, Alonso withdrew from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and Magnussen was named as his temporary replacement.
- Sebastian Vettel left Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2014 season after fifteen years with the team and its wider junior development programme to join Ferrari in the place of Alonso. Daniil Kvyat was promoted to Red Bull from Toro Rosso to fill the seat vacated by Vettel.
- With Kvyat joining Red Bull and Jean-Éric Vergne leaving the team to join the newly founded Formula E Championship while becoming a Ferrari development driver, Toro Rosso overhauled their lineup. The team signed 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Carlos Sainz Jr., and 2014 European Formula Three third-place finisher Max Verstappen, who became the youngest driver to make his Formula One début at the age of 17 years, 164 days when he started the season.
- Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrian Sutil were released from Sauber, where they were replaced by former Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson and GP2 driver Felipe Nasr. Gutiérrez and Sutil went on to join Ferrari and Williams respectively as reserve drivers.
- Manor Marussia hired former Caterham driver Will Stevens to drive for his first full season in the sport, while former Caterham test driver Roberto Merhi was signed to a short-term deal while he also drove full-time in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Former Marussia drivers Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi relinquished their seats, with Chilton joining the FIA World Endurance Championship, while Bianchi remained in a coma as a result of a brain injury suffered in an accident at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Bianchi died of his injuries on 17 July 2015.
- Kamui Kobayashi left Caterham to race in the Super Formula series in Japan before company administrators auctioned off team assets.
The following nineteen Grands Prix are scheduled to take place in 2015.
- The Mexican Grand Prix is scheduled to return to the Formula One calendar for the first time since 1992. The race is to be held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit located in the centre of Mexico City, which also was the location of all Mexican Grands Prix in previous decades. The circuit will be substantially reconfigured to accommodate the sport's return.
Failed race bids
- The Grand Prix of America, originally aimed for a debut in 2013 at the Port Imperial Street Circuit in New Jersey after a fifteen-year contract was signed, was again delayed for a third straight year.
- The German Grand Prix was set to return to the Nürburgring, in accordance with the event-sharing agreement established between the Nürburgring and the Hockenheimring in 2008. The Nürburgring had previously hosted the race in 2013 and so was scheduled to host it again in 2015, but the venue was left off the provisional calendar, leaving the event-sharing agreement at a stalemate. With both venues unwilling to host the event, the race was ultimately cancelled, leaving the country off the Grand Prix calendar for the first time since 1960.
- The Indian Grand Prix was cancelled for the second consecutive year following tax disputes between the FIA and the Uttar Pradesh government.
- The Korean Grand Prix was scheduled to return to the Formula One calendar after being removed in 2014, but the plan was ultimately abandoned.
- The number of power units that a driver may use in a season was reduced from five in 2014 to four in 2015.
- After the 2015 British Grand Prix the rules were changed to allow new power unit manufacturers one additional power unit in their first season of competition. This was retroactively applied to Honda.
- The rules regarding engine development that were introduced in 2014 were changed, with the manufacturers allowed to perform half the development permitted in 2014; the development will be halved again in 2016.
- Following the backlash over "ugly" nose designs in 2014, the FIA moved to amend the rules surrounding nose designs for the 2015 season. Noses are now lower than in 2014, retaining a minimum cross section, but they must taper to a point at a fixed linear rate, effectively outlawing the dramatic finger shapes seen in 2014 in favour of a more gradual shape. Furthermore, the design of the nose must be symmetrical and consistent with the centreline of the car, thereby banning the more exotic designs, such as the "twin-tusk" approach used by Lotus on the E22 chassis.
- The minimum weight of the cars at all times during an event was increased to 702 kilograms (1,548 lb), an increase of 10 kilograms (22 lb) from 2014.
- The ban on front-and-rear interconnected suspension systems (FRIC) implemented in the middle of the 2014 season was formalised, with the regulations stating that the front and rear suspension must be designed in such a way that any change in performance must be a direct result of a change in load applied solely to them.
- The anti-intrusion panels on both sides of the survival cell have been extended upwards to the rim of the cockpit and alongside the driver's head.
- The replacement of a complete power unit no longer results in a penalty. Penalties continue to be applied cumulatively for individual components of the power unit, and if such a grid place penalty is imposed and the driver's grid position is such that it cannot be applied in full, the remainder of the penalty is no longer carried over to the next race, but is instead applied in the form of a time penalty during the race corresponding to the number of grid spaces remaining in the penalty.
- After the 2015 British Grand Prix, these rules were changed with immediate effect, to make demotion to the back of the grid the maximum penalty for engine changes. Additional time penalties to be served during the race were abandoned.
- In addition to the existing five-second penalty that may be served during a driver's scheduled pit stop, a new ten-second penalty that has to be served in the same manner, was introduced.
- If a car is deemed to have been released from its pit stop in an unsafe manner, the driver receives a ten-second stop-and-go penalty. Further penalties are applied if the stewards believe that the driver is aware of this and attempts to drive the car regardless.
- The qualifying procedure has been further clarified to cater to different sizes of starting grids: if twenty-four cars are entered for the race, seven are eliminated after the each of the first two qualifying segments; if twenty-two are entered, six are eliminated after each qualifying segment and so on if fewer cars are eligible.
- Double points will no longer be awarded at the final event of the championship.
- In light of a regulation introduced in 2014 dictating that a race can not run for more than four hours and following recommendations from the report into Jules Bianchi's accident the previous season, the start times of five Grands Prix have been moved one hour earlier, so that races do not start with less than four hours until dusk. Thus, the Australian, Malaysia, Chinese, Japanese and Russian Grands Prix will start an hour earlier than in 2014.
- In the aftermath of Bianchi's accident, a new procedure called Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was introduced following trials during the last three Grands Prix of 2014. The procedure may be initiated when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of a circuit where competitors and officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not as such to warrant deployment of the actual safety car. It obliges drivers to reduce their speed to match the one indicated on their displays on their steering wheels.
- The safety car procedure was amended. Once the last lapped car has passed the leader, the safety car returns to the pits at the end of the following lap. This is a change of the previous practice which required the unlapped cars to have caught up with the back of the pack before the safety car could return to the pits.
- If a race is suspended (red-flagged), the cars no longer line up on the grid but instead slowly proceed to the pit lane. Pit exit is closed and the first car to arrive in the pit lane proceeds to the exit with the others lining up behind in the order in which they arrive, regardless of race standing or garage location. Severe circumstances may still require cars to stop immediately on track.
- If any team personnel or team equipment remain on the grid after the fifteen-second signal has been shown before the start of the formation lap, the driver of the car concerned must start the race from the pit lane. If the driver concerned fails to obey this, they receive a ten-second stop-and-go penalty.
- Drivers are no longer permitted to change the design of their helmet in-season.
Before the start of the season, Hamilton announced he would not be exercising his option of switching his car number to 1 for 2015, as was his prerogative as reigning World Champion, and would instead race with his career number 44. It was the first season since 1994, when Alain Prost retired from the sport following his fourth and final World Drivers' Championship title in 1993, that the field did not contain a number 1 car.
Following the financial struggles faced by Marussia and Caterham in 2014, the FIA approved the use of 2014-specification chassis in 2015 provided that teams showed cause and received an individual dispensation to compete with their old chassis. However, a request by Manor Marussia to use their 2014 car was later rejected by the other teams. Subsequent regulation changes allowed the team to use a modified 2014 chassis which met updated safety and dimensional limits. The car is powered by a 2014 specification Ferrari power unit, with a new chassis to be introduced later in the season.
Sauber's early season preparations were disrupted by a series of legal challenges from former Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde, who claimed that the team had reneged on a contract to race that was signed in June 2014. Van der Garde filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Victoria in Australia in an effort to force the team to replace one of their drivers with him at the opening round in Melbourne, with the court finding in his favour. Van der Garde later agreed to not participate in the event, with the driver and team settling the dispute for an undisclosed sum to terminate the contract following the first round.
McLaren's Fernando Alonso was involved in a pre-season testing accident that saw the two-time World Drivers' Champion hospitalised. McLaren claimed the crash was caused by a sudden gust of wind disrupting the car's downforce, while Alonso insisted the crash was caused by his steering wheel locking up. On doctor's advice, Alonso elected to sit out the opening round in Australia, prompting the team to replace him with Kevin Magnussen for the race. Alonso was ultimately cleared to race by the second round in Malaysia.
Mercedes began the season with a 1–2 finish in Australia, resulting in a twenty-eight point lead after just one round, finishing over 30 seconds clear of third place driver Sebastian Vettel, who secured a podium in his first race with Ferrari. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished a lap down in sixth, prompting the team to continue to press their frustrations with Renault, as they were forced to use its second of four allotted power units for Ricciardo on the very first day of the season. The team also voiced its displeasure over the progress Renault has made in terms of power, with team principal Christian Horner stating that the Energy F1-2015 is still 100 horsepower (75 kW) down on Mercedes's PU106B Hybrid. After the race, Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko suggested that Red Bull may exit Formula One entirely if changes to the regulations are not made to level the field or cut development costs. Renault countered with their own threat to pull out of Formula One as an engine supplier if its reputation continues to be damaged or is otherwise not profitable to the company. Mercedes followed up by finishing second and third in Malaysia, while Red Bull continued to struggle, rounding out the top ten a lap down. By the end of the flyaway rounds, Mercedes led the field, having earned 159 points (with Lewis Hamilton acquiring 93 out of 100 possible points), while Red Bull's struggles endured. The team acquired 26 points, enough for a distant fourth, and Ricciardo entered the European stages of the season on his fourth and final permissible power unit with fifteen events remaining on the calendar.
With McLaren's longest continuous testing session lasting twelve laps in Barcelona – a total of 56 kilometres (35 mi), a sixth of a total Grand Prix distance – before running into engine trouble, Honda elected to detune the power units for the opening Grands Prix in an effort to improve reliability and longevity while the manufacturer worked to improve these areas before homologation. Both cars qualified on the back row, and in the race Kevin Magnussen failed to reach the grid after suffering an abrupt engine failure, while Jenson Button managed to finish the race, albeit two laps behind the leaders in the last classified position. Magnussen reliquished his seat back to Alonso in Malaysia, however both cars qualified ahead of only the Manor Marussias and eventually retired. The team showed signs of improvement in terms of performance, able to compete with the midfield cars in China and Bahrain, although reliability continued to prove troublesome as Button's car was unable to compete in the latter Grand Prix.
Following a tumultuous pre-season in which they went through a period of administration and were saved by late investment, Manor Marussia arrived in Melbourne with a car that had passed its mandatory crash tests, but had completed no testing. However, it was discovered that after arrival in Australia and while assembling the cars, their computers had been wiped completely clean of all data in preparation for auction. Despite the team's efforts, they were unable to solve the oversight and could not compete in the Grand Prix. The team managed to get their cars running and on the racetrack by the second round in Malaysia and were able to set times within 107% of the leading times in practice, giving stewards reasonable grounds to allow the team to race when they failed to do so in qualifying. Merhi was able to finish the race three laps down in 15th, while Stevens did not start. Manor Marussia continued to show signs of consistency, with both cars qualifying within 107%, starting, and finishing both Grands Prix in China and Bahrain. They are one of two teams, the other being McLaren, to return to Europe without a championship point.
Ferrari came into the season seemingly much more competitive, finishing on the podium in the opening race. Returning driver Kimi Räikkönen stated that the SF15-T is "much better" to drive than last year's F14 T. With Vettel winning comfortably and Räikkönen finishing in fourth despite suffering a tyre failure in Malaysia, Ferrari began to show that they would stand out as "best of the rest" among the other nine teams. They followed this up with a 3–4 finish in China and Räikkönen securing his first podium appearance in Bahrain since rejoining Ferrari the previous season. With 107 points, the team returns to Europe fifty-two points behind Mercedes, and forty-six points ahead of third place Williams.
European and Canadian rounds
Mercedes arrived at Spain already with a comfortable lead, having amassed a fifty-two point cushion over Ferrari after the first four races. Lewis Hamilton entered having left only 7 points out of a possible 100 on the table, giving him a twenty-seven point lead over teammate Nico Rosberg entering the eight-race European portion of the season.
Rosberg quickly cut into Hamilton's Championship lead by securing victories in Spain (reducing his deficit to twenty points) and Monaco. The latter win was aided by the result of a costly miscalculation by the Mercedes team to pit Hamilton with a 19-second lead during a safety car period (that briefly saw the use of the "Virtual Safety Car" for the first time in F1's history) with 14 laps remaining. Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel did not pit, allowing both to narrowly pass Hamilton by the pit exit lane. Racing resumed on lap 71 and Rosberg quickly pulled away, remaining in the lead till the chequered flag. Vettel held off Hamilton for second and third, respectively. As a result, Hamilton's lead over Rosberg in the Drivers' Championship was cut in half, to just ten points. Meanwhile, Button secured McLaren's first points of the season by finishing 8th. This leaves the Manor drivers of Stevens and Merhi, along with fellow McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, as the only full-time drivers not to score a point after seven rounds.
At the following Grands Prix in Canada, Austria, and Britain, Mercedes put to rest the criticism following the result in Monaco with three successive 1–2 finishes, extending their championship lead to 160 points over Ferrari. Williams collected their first two podiums of the season in the form of a third-place results by Valtteri Bottas in Canada and Felipe Massa in Austria, while Ferrari lost ground to Mercedes following a retirement in Austria and an eighth place finish in Britain by Räikkönen. Other power unit manufacturers continued to show their struggles, with Renault finishing in the top five only once, in Monaco, indicating their continued lack of power. Honda continued to have reliability issues and, through Britain, suffered nine retirements and two failure to starts due to power unit problems, translating to only seven overall finishes out of 18 possible results.
The Driver's championship remained close between leader Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with the gap between them never larger than 27 points after Hamilton's round five victory in Bahrain. The two would trade victories between rounds six and nine, closing the lead to as little as ten points. Sebastian Vettel, who at one time was within three points of the lead after his second round victory in Malaysia and the only non-Mercedes winner after nine rounds, could not overcome team miscues in Canada and Austria, and fell 59 points off the pace of Hamilton. He rebounded in Hungary by winning his second race of the season, reducing the gap to Hamilton to 42 points in the process.
Results and standings
World Drivers' Championship standings
Points are awarded to the top ten classified finishers using the following structure:
In the event of a tie, a count-back system is used as a tie-breaker, with a driver's best result used to decide the standings.[N 1]
Bold – Pole position
- † – Drivers did not finish the Grand Prix, but were classified as they completed more than 90% of the race distance.
World Constructors' Championship standings
Bold – Pole position
- † – Drivers did not finish the Grand Prix, but were classified as they completed more than 90% of the race distance.
- In the event that two or more drivers achieved the same result an equal number of times, their next-best result was used. Should two or more drivers achieve equal results an equal number of times, the standings were settled in favour of the driver who was the first to achieve their best result.
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"For sure it's much better than what we had last year", Raikkonen said.
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Q: Do you feel that the race result restored the balance of the team after the Monaco incident? TW: I must say that after Monaco it was very difficult for the team to handle that situation after the massive media hype. We were exposed to massive criticism. It looked as if all the previous race wins and both title wins of 2014 were suddenly forgotten and a bunch of idiots were managing the team. Today's result makes that all a thing of the past.