Formula 1 Season Preview

There is plenty of anticipation heading in to the Formula One season as we look towards the opening race next week in Australia.

Daniel Lopes
 | 
Wed, 13 Mar, 12:00 AM

There is plenty of anticipation heading in to the Formula One season as we look towards the opening race next week in Australia.

Driver changes, rule changes and upgrades to a number of teams have added to the intrigue as we look to kick the season off at Melbourne’s Albert Park.

Here, our expert runs the rule over a number of key issues as we embark on another season of F1.

 

DRIVERS TITLE

 

It is Lewis Hamilton’s to lose as he aims to become just the second driver to win six world titles. Standing in his way? His old nemesis in Sebastien Vettel, himself a four-time world champion.

Mercedes and Hamilton were simply too reliable for Vettel and the ‘Prancing Horse’ last season which is what ultimately got them over the line in the drivers and constructors titles.

Pre season testing in Barcelona showed that the Ferrari package was the quickest overall but reliability issues halted what would have been a brilliant hitout prior to Melbourne. If Vettel is to push Hamilton for the title he needs to have his car spot on. Outside the pair, there is plenty of hype around Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc who debuts for Ferrari. He will no doubt be playing second fiddle to the German but what for him to make his mark. Max Verstappen from Red Bull is the only other realistic hope but he does have a few flaws in his make up that he needs addressing before he can go toe-to-toe with the big boys for the entire season.

 

CONSTRUCTORS TITLE

 

Mercedes or Ferrari are the only two to put your money on.

They have been the dominant teams over the past three years and nothing is going to change this season. Red Bull have always looked likely to close the gap but for one reason or another, simply don’t have the stamina to go with the other two teams. They’ve changed engine manufacturer’s this season so for us, they are a wait and see investment.

Renault looks best of the rest but won’t be winning top honours while expect improved performances from Mclaren, Haas, Racing Point (formerly Force India) and new entrant, Alpha Romeo.

 

RICCIARDO – GOOD MOVE OR BAD MOVE?

 

Whether the Aussie made the right choice in leaving Red Bull will be answered pretty quickly.

Renault’s performances during pre season testing weren’t bad and although they weren’t the fastest they were definitely one of the more reliable in Barcelona. If they give Ricciardo a solid car with a bit of grunt and something he can truly fight in, then a few podiums throughout the season are definitely in the mix.

Just how Red Bull go now with Pierre Gasly as Max Verstappen’s teammate is another question, as is how they will go with a Honda engine instead of the previous Renault one.

 

BOTTOM OF THE PILE

 

It looks like another poor season for Williams.

They missed the start – literally – for pre season testing and failed to flatter when they did get out on the track. On top of that, they’ve lost Technical Chief Paddy Lowe who has taken a leave of absence just days out from the start of the new campaign.

The only positive thing is that they have the very talented George Russell making his F1 debut and if anyone is going to get anything out of their package, it will be the reigning F2 champion.

 

IF LOOKS COULD KILL

 

All the cars have undergone a facelift in the offseason but the most impressive “new look” has to go to Haas.

The American team have gone with a sleek black look with a hint of gold which looks eerily similar to that of the super Lotus package back in the day.

Ferrari and Mercedes don’t look that different to last season but the Renault design is a lot nicer and looks more professional than what they were going around in last year.

The Alpha Romeo design is very ‘European’ but looks fantastic but the dunce award, for design at least, is probably going to be fought between Racing Point and Williams. How they made their cars look worse than last season is anyone’s guess.

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