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It’s the dawn of a new Formula 1 season, and with that come the usual flurry of car launches. After Williams’ early unveiling of its FW37, Lotus, McLaren, Sauber, Ferrari, Mercedes, Toro Rosso and Red Bull all revealed their cars ahead of the first pre-season test in Jerez. And thanks to new regulations, the noses on the 2015 contenders are a world away from the strange probosces that plagued the cars last year.

Lotus went first with the E23, which it says is a “huge leap forward” over the hideous unequal twin-tusk E22. After achieving fourth place back-to-back, two wins and several podium places in its first two seasons, the team slid to a poor eighth place last year – with only Sauber and the now-defunct Marussia and Caterham teams behind – so here’s hoping the much more handsome looks and a switch to Mercedes power will return it to past glory. Returning to their seats this year are Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

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McLaren is also looking to reverse its fortunes with its new MP4-30, as it spent the past two seasons languishing in fifth place with no wins to its name. Much has changed at Woking this year – it has reunited with Honda after 23 years, poached former double world champion Fernando Alonso from Ferrari to race alongside Jenson Button and ditched its silly “anteater” nose for a sleeker new design.

So it’s disappointing that the only notable change to its livery in 2015 is a token red stripe, with the result looking rather like the West-branded cars it ran when it was still the works Mercedes team. McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis has hinted, however, that the livery will change at a later date – we’re really looking forward to it (and hoping that it isn’t yet another evolution of the same 50-shades-of-grey theme).

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Ferrari may be without Alonso for 2015, but it has picked up a certain four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the process, to partner Kimi Räikkönen. That, along with a much better looking SF15-T racer (which new team boss Maurizio Arrivabene calls “sexy”), is expected to propel the Scuderia’s race-winning hopes – it won none last year, the first time it’s happened since 1993. And judging by Vettel topping the timesheets in Jerez for two days in a row, we’d say it’s well on its way towards achieving it.

Returning constructors’ champion Mercedes AMG Petronas arguably had the best looking machine last season, and its new F1 W06 Hybrid is equally as pleasing aesthetically. But will the Brackley-based team dominate this season quite like how it did in 2014? And will reigning champ Lewis Hamilton be able to keep his eager teammate Nico Rosberg at bay for a second consecutive year?

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The team’s strong showing at Jerez is going to keep their rivals up at night – while Ferrari nabbed the headlines with fastest laps, Mercedes’ ability to cover upwards of 150 laps a day was arguably more telling of its form, demonstrating the new car’s impressive reliability.

Having lost both drivers’ and constructors’ titles last season, Infiniti Red Bull Racing is going to have its work cut out this season to close the gap to Mercedes, with the new RB11 being the basis of a renewed title challenge. And don’t worry, the hypnosis-inducing livery won’t make it to the small screens – it’s just a camouflage to conceal the car’s true form from its competitors. Daniil Kyvat has been promoted from Toro Rosso, taking his place next to fellow graduate Daniel Ricciardo, who impressed with three wins last year.

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Sauber sprang quite a surprise – after running a grey car for the past few seasons, the Swiss team switched it up with a bright IKEA-esque blue-and-yellow scheme for the new C34. The colours belong to Banco do Brasil, a backer that followed rookie Felipe Nasr to Hinwil. Not a bad first performance so far for the Brazilian (and the team), either – he scored the fastest time on the third day at Jerez, after being at the sharp end of the grid for most of testing along with teammate Marcus Ericsson.

Elsewhere, Toro Rosso launched a less virile-looking STR10, with an all-rookie lineup of Carlos Sainz Jr. (yes, son of that Carlos Sainz) and Max Verstappen (son of Jos), the latter set to be the youngest ever F1 driver at just 17. Force India is the only team yet to unveil their new car – it better be quick, as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix kicks off just over a month from now, on March 13-15.

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McLaren MP4-30
Sauber C34 Ferrari
Ferrari SF15-T
Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid
Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
Red Bull RB11