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Motor racing: F1 drives into unknown at season-opener

Published on Mar 16, 2014 8:06 AM
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (centre) celebrates taking pole position as he stands beside Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, who qualified second and third respectively, after the qualifying session for the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Formula One enters a new and unpredictable era at Sunday's Australian Grand Prix after a change in engines and a limit on fuel left many drivers wondering whether they will reach the finish.

Britain's Lewis Hamilton will start the season-opener on pole after a thrilling qualifying session which most cars escaped unscathed, defying doomsday predictions of widespread mechanical failures.

However, 58 laps of the parkland Melbourne circuit will provide a severe test for the teams which are still adapting to the new, quieter 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines and their energy recovery systems (ERS).

And the great unknown is how drivers will manage the new 100kg limit on fuel, which represents about two-thirds of the loads consumed previously.

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