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Formula One rings the changes for 2006
March 09, 2006 21:55 IST
The first race of the 2006 Formula One season in Bahrain on March 12 will introduce significant rule changes as well as new faces.
The following looks at what is different for 2006:
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Japan's Super Aguri, the 11th team who were given the go-ahead only in January, become the first completely new entrants in Formula One since Toyota's debut in 2002.
Formula One last had 11 teams that same season, when Arrows folded.
Four other teams are under new ownership or have changed their names since 2005: BAR have become Honda Racing F1, Sauber are now BMW-Sauber, Jordan are renamed Midland and Minardi become Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Germany's Nico Rosberg, son of 1982 champion Keke and winner of the inaugural GP2 feeder series last year, is the highest-profile new driver. He joins Williams.
Scott Speed, making his debut with Toro Rosso, becomes the first American Formula One race driver since Michael Andretti left McLaren in 1993.
Super Aguri, with Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide, who first drove a Formula One car only last month, have the first all-Japanese line-up.
Ferrari, with Brazilian Felipe Massa joining from Sauber, have a new driver for the first time since 2000.
He takes the place of compatriot Rubens Barrichello, who has switched to Honda.
Germany's Nick Heidfeld has gone from Williams to the new BMW-Sauber team while Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi will compete for Toro Rosso after four races with Red Bull.
Dutchman Christijan Albers has joined Midland from Minardi while Sato goes from BAR to Super Aguri.
The three litre V10 engines have been replaced by 2.4 litre V8 units, although rev-restricted V10s can be used. This will be an option only for Toro Rosso.
The new engines are expected to deliver around 20 percent less power, with around 750bhp likely rather than the previous top output of 950 bhp, resulting in lower top speeds and reduced acceleration.
After a year of making tyres last for qualifying and the race, Formula One will again have drivers making regular pitstops for fresh rubber.
That could boost the fortunes of Bridgestone and Ferrari, eclipsed by Michelin last year but dominant in 2004 when races were sprints between tyre changes.
Williams and Toyota will join Ferrari on Bridgestone tyres after switching from Michelin while Toro Rosso have gone in the other direction.
This will be Michelin's farewell season before leaving Bridgestone as sole supplier in 2007.
Qualifying has become a three-part knockout affair.
All cars will be on the track together at first, with three separate sessions in a one-hour period instead of last year's single-lap format with just one car out at a time.
The slowest six cars in the first 15 minute session drop out and take positions 17-22 on the starting grid. Six more are eliminated after a second similar session, taking places 11-16.
The final 10 drivers then fight for pole position in the decisive 20-minute session.
Those cars which go out before the final session can be fully refuelled before the race starts whereas those in the top 10 can only replace what they used in qualifying.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage