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New-look Formula One kicks off season this weekend

March 26, 2009 |  8:45 am

Renault

With Formula One kicking off its 60th season at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend, there are plenty of questions surrounding the new technical regulations the globe-trotting racing series has adopted for 2009.

While the new rules will help teams cut costs and offer a more attractive outlet for would-be team owners (even though the cars are uglier), I have doubts that slick tires, lower-revving engines and smaller front and rear wings will make the racing much more competitive.

Still, the first few races following major rule changes are usually pretty interesting. We could see a few underachieving teams such as Toyota and Brawn GP (formerly Honda Racing) lift some eyebrows up and down the paddock, especially because the International Automobile Federation has now approved their controversial interpretation of the new rules.

In addition, defending world champion Lewis Hamilton has struggled with his new McLaren Mercedes in preseason testing, and he's admitted it could be a while before the silver arrows are back on top of the podium.

That's good news for Ferrari, which has looked strong over winter testing. It would be strange if either Felipe Massa or Kimi Raikkonen didn't win the world championship for the famous Scuderia.

Here's a quick video explaining the new rule changes in Formula One:

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: Renault driver Fernando Alonso navigates a corner during testing at Jerez in Spain on March 15. Credit: Cristina Quicler / Getty Images

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