As the start of a new formula 1 season looms, what is there to look forward to in 2016? There have been no major moves with all the big racers having remained at their respective clubs. Last season saw a whitewash for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes as they continued their domination having won 32 out of the last 38 races.
With Ferrari and McLaren chasing the silver bullets, have they stepped up their game? Will Red Bull finally put their engine troubles behind them or will they been draw into F1 politics further.
Will the Mercedes drivers go into full blow attack mode?
Lewis Hamilton was on fire last season and won the drivers’ championship with three races remaining. Nico Rosberg, however, wasn’t really able to find his form until the end of the season, getting pole in the last six races and winning three of them. Hamilton’s father recently said though that Lewis can rule for the next ’10 years’.
There was definitely an air of tension between the two especially after Hamilton was accused of being overly aggressive when he tried to overtake the German at the US grand prix. The problems between the two were mostly kept under wraps.
Team leader Toto Wolff has had his say though, contemplating completely changing the way in which they allow the two to compete. Last year they were under strict guidelines which allowed the leading driver to have first say on pit-stop, this season Wolff has said they might be allowed total freedom in order to keep the sport entertaining.
Can Ferrari and McLaren compete?
The big question. Ferrari have been given a lease of life in attaining one of the world’s best drivers in Sebastian Vettel but they must give him the platform to compete on. The Italian team made some strides in 2015, but it wasn’t too difficult after the terrible 2014 season. They have to some extend overcome the flaw in energy recovery that was stifling their hybrid engine. Technical director James Allison will be hoping they can bridge the 0.6 second gap between themselves and Mercedes.
That 0.6 seconds is nothing compared to the troubles of McLaren. They were lagging way behind last season and it will be difficult to see if they really can make up the 2.5 seconds Alonso said they could. Like Ferrari they have been having engine troubles, Honda who have been producing their engines were having problems with energy recovery from turbo and with both Button and Alonso coming into their twilight years it could be a very testing season for them.
What will happen to Red Bull?
A super power of F1 only a few season ago. But they now face a big challenge to get to where they once were. They made a late, late decision to stick with engine producers Renault but Christian Horner said that they have a ‘transitional season’ ahead of them. Because of the dire relationship between Red Bull and Renault the power units are even being badged under the team’s new sponsor, watchmaker Tag Heuer. The Team have been attempting to make up for the lack of engine power by making improvements to chassis.
Renault themselves have re-entered team ownership by buying Lotus and despite playing down their odds, will have to be an outsiders bet to do well this season.
Will it be competitive?
For the past two season Mercedes and Hamilton have been unstoppable and that is the likely scenario for this season. Hopefully we will see at least a three horse race between Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel, but it remains to be seen just how ‘free’ Toto Wolff will allow his two drivers to be. Unfortunately, it is hard to see McLaren being too competitive, they might just not be up to scratch.
With the varying possibilities it should be a fantastic season of Formula 1 and hopefully we can see the sport be as competitive as ever.