The announcement that the Formula 1 season will get underway in Austria on July 5 has sparked a wave of excitement amongst motorsports fans across the world.
Eight races have been confirmed in Europe, with F1 bosses aiming to eventually formulate a schedule that will comprise a total of 15-18 events.
The season is expected to culminate with races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi during December, while China, Vietnam and Japan may also join the party prior to that.
Read on as we take a closer look at the opening schedule and assess some of the key talking points for the upcoming season.
Austria set for F1 double-header
The Red Bull Ring in Austria will host the first two races of the season on July 5 and 12, with the third event taking place in Hungary the following week.
Max Verstappen is likely to be one of the most popular betting tips on all F1 races during those opening weeks, having performed well in the corresponding events in 2019.
However, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton will also be confident of getting off to a flyer, particularly with the fourth and fifth races taking place in Great Britain.
Events in Spain, Belgium and Italy complete the line-up for the first part of the season, with the remainder of the schedule to be confirmed in due course.
Mercedes blocks reverse grid proposal
F1 bosses had hoped to shake up the new season by running 30-minute reversed grid qualifying races on the second weekend of double-header events.
However, despite support from the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari, the idea has been shelved due to Mercedes’ refusal to change the format.
The team’s boss, Toto Wolff, vetoed the idea as he doesn’t think it will improve the racing and believes it is too gimmicky for F1.
With changes to the regulations needing unanimous approval, the revision will not be implemented during the upcoming campaign.
Hamilton gunning for seventh title
British star Hamilton will be out to cement his status as one of the greatest drivers of all-time as he chases a seventh F1 title.
He finished 87 points clear of Valtteri Bottas last time around and is fully expected to dominate his teammate once again this term.
Verstappen and Charles Leclerc could emerge as the biggest threats to Hamilton having impressed in patches during the 2019 season, and the trio’s battles on the track will be a treat for those streaming F1 races online or watching them on TV.
However, both drivers will need to up their consistency levels if they are to mount a serious challenge to the reigning champion.
Vettel out to prove he is not a busted flush
Vettel had a disappointing 2019 by his high standards, finishing a massive 173 points behind Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.
He was also 24 points adrift of teammate Leclerc and undoubtedly has a major point to prove as he heads into his final season with Ferrari.
The four-time world champion appeared to be on a downward spiral last year and it remains to be seen whether he has the hunger to still cut it at the top level.
Vettel is believed to be eyeing a spot with Mercedes next season, but he’ll have to prove his worth all over again for that to come to fruition.