9 Things I Look forward to in the Up-Coming F1 Season
While I’m not for making predictions (and I will certainly not be making any in this blog), I can’t help but to be hyped up for the up-coming Formula One season which will start this weekend. So here are the 9 things I’m most looking forward to about the season.
And no, the new qualifying system is not on here, since I think it’s effects in the on-coming season will be pretty negligible.
Unquestionably the thing I’m looking forward to most is how the new Ultra Soft tyre and the new tyre rules will affect races. I was heavily against removing refueling during races which happened in 2010. While the FIA probably earnestly believed that making cars race with the equal amount of petrol was going to even out the playing field, it really only just emphasised the speed difference of cars further.
What I’m really hoping to see this on-coming season is some team taking advantage of the more option-friendly tyre rule (where teams have three compounds to choose from) and come out with a surprise result (and maybe even possibly a podium).
The future of F1 has been looking bleak for a while now. Although there are plenty of solid several season surviving teams in the roster, there are sadly not as many new teams vying to enter the sport as there used to. Haas F1 is indeed the first new team to enter the sport since 2010.
Haas have themselves made it clear from the get-go that their goal is to simply learn this season. They are not reaching for that stars and that’s a good thing. Their minimal goal is to score points.
The situation, however, will look extremely bad if Haas isn’t able to make any headway in the on-coming season. And it may discourage any other hopeful new-comers to the sport.
2015 was a positively embarrassing year for Williams. The team lost most of its points and podium chances, not to the errors of its drivers but to those of its pit crew. Even if we’re to forget Williams’ hilarious list of pit foul ups which include everything from bolt-guns not working to a single wrong tyre being put on a car, when you are consistently a second slower than everyone else on the pits, that is a sign that you’re not doing your all.
Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will probably have another points filled season, but this year, I’m sure Bottas wants his first podium.
4. Does Red Bull have a chance?
The team needs to step up this season. Just like Williams, they have a superb pair of drivers. Now, all they need to succeed is a car that can keep up with them.
Some might be a bit surprised about why I care at all about what happens to Manor. The truth is, I like rooting for the underdog. Manor is the last remaining of the 2010 debut teams. They sprung back to life after being brought to administration at the end of 2014 and have finally managed to build a new car.
Now again, just like with Haas, I don’t rank Manor’s chances as being very high but the car can’t possibly be worse than what they’ve been driving for the past two years. They have an inexperienced driver duo which is a bit worrisome. However, I hope that they will at least be able to give Haas a run for their money and, if everything goes right, be able to drive for points.
Esteban Gutierrez is getting a second chance in F1 this year. Second chances in F1 are rare. Gutierrez’s two-year stint in Sauber was embarrassing and though he couldn’t do much about it given 2014 was the team’s worst season ever, there was very little positive left to say about Esteban at the end of the season.
Gutierrez is also facing harsh competition. His team-mate is easily one of the most talented drivers on the track (who is taking a huge risk by driving for a new team). This is the season that can either make or break Gutierrez’s career.
This same is admittedly true for Carlos Sainz Jr and Marcus Ericsson (driving his third season), but Gutierrez I think has the most to lose at this point.
F1s can be ugly and nothing can hide the fact that several F1 teams are (still) in huge financial difficulties. Force India is trooping along, even though its owner Vijay Mallya is now under investigation in his home country. Sauber however, is clearly in trouble, having failed to pay its employees and losing a key staff member just before the start of the season.
Sauber is already fixture of the sport and Force India has been a solid team for its relatively short history. It would be a real shame to see either of these teams go. Both teams need serious results this year.
It goes without saying that Mercedes will be leading the fight from the first race. The question really stand now if Ferrari, Williams and, indeed, Red Bull (or perhaps someone else) are able to catch up and finally give the team a run for their money. No-one ever likes it when one team dominates the sport but whining about it doesn’t really solve anything.
The facts are: Mercedes are fast. Mercedes are reliable. The only thing that can potentially throw a wrench in the works is if the already notoriously bad relationship between its drivers gets out of hand this season. Hamilton and Rosberg have been really good at playing it cool after last year – but nothing changes the fact that these two drivers recent each other.
Hamilton is the favourite to win the championship (again) and Rosberg will have to do everything to stop him or be forever remembered as just another number-2 driver.