Last year my predictions were a little bit mixed, some right, some not so much (read them here), so this year I’ve asked my other two writers to get involved as well, maybe between us we can get some better predictions.
As always I’ll start with the championships, Mercedes will win the Constructors’ Championship, but I fancy Rosberg to take the Drivers’ Championship this year with Hamilton and Vettel close behind.
Ferrari will do a little better than 2015 with a few more wins, Williams about the same as 2015 with just the odd podium here and there. Toro Rosso I can see doing very well, they have two very talented drivers and with a Ferrari engine in the back I think they will pick up at least one podium, potentially making Max Verstappen the youngest podium finisher.
Sauber were generally pretty awful in 2015 bar the first race of the season, I see them doing about the same in 2015 but with Manor and Haas close behind, who may well pick up a few point finishes, especially with Wehrlein in the Manor and Grosjean in the Haas, two very good drivers.
Final prediction from me is Renault, I think they will be similar to 2015 (as Lotus) but maybe a touch better. They have two fairly good drivers and I think they will score around 100 points in total.
Jack Amey – Formula E and F1 Opinion Writer
Mercedes are favourites for both titles after an impressive pre-season. They only had one issue – right at the end of testing – and often completed 100 laps per day for the car. Their programme was so intense that they had to give drivers half days as opposed to full days in the car.
That said, I’d expect Ferrari to be closer to Mercedes this season and make it more of a fight. Whether it will be enough to end the Mercedes domination I’m not so sure. But Sebastian Vettel is good enough to make a title fight out of a car that is not quite at the same level as the front runner…
WDC prediction: Lewis Hamilton to take his third consecutive title after a close fight with Vettel.
WCC prediction: Mercedes to win again, but by a smaller margin than 2015.
Force India will stand on the podium in 2016. It won’t be many, and it may just be the one. If Sergio Perez can continue his excellent end of 2015 form and Nico Hulkenberg can re-discover the form that got him linked with top teams – and a few things go their way – there is no reason why the Silverstone-based outfit can’t stand on the podium a few times.
Haas will score points in their debut season. They managed to lure Romain Grosjean from Lotus (now Renault) and have themselves a top driver. His speed could take Haas into the points on a number of occasions.
Manor will also score points this season. They have a GP2 race winner in Rio Haryanto and a highly-rated Mercedes young driver in Pascal Wehrlein in their two cars. The jury is out on both drivers as they make their debuts but Manor, now powered by current Mercedes power units, should have enough to score a point on the odd occasion.
McLaren will be around the midfield this season. After a disastrous 2015, there’s a lot of pressure of Honda to ensure there’s progress. Pre-season doesn’t show a lot but it seems like there has been some to move the Woking outfit from back markers to midfield.
Craig Woollard – IndyCar Writer
With the changes to the tyres and to the radio communications, it is safe to assume that we could see a few more chaotic races in 2016 than we did in 2015. The unnecessary changes to qualifying however are highly unlikely to change the pecking order much, if at all. These changes should assist some of the more well-drilled teams in the paddock, such as Ferrari and Red Bull, whilst Mercedes tripped up on several occasions last year. Those who are kind on their tyres, such as Sergio Perez, will find a softer compound at each event very much welcoming.
The general pecking order across the season is expected to change somewhat to last year. The frontrunners will very much consist of Mercedes and Ferrari, although the latter could be closer in outright pace than last year. With a resurgent Nico Rosberg, the two Silver Arrows could end up tripping over themselves, bringing both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen (who will both be driving a full-on James Allison Ferrari car for the first time) into play. However Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton on paper should leave with both championships.
Scrapping for the occasional podium is where Williams, Force India and Red Bull should be. Red Bull will be down on power again this season, but they will without a doubt have a very handy chassis. Force India are coming off the back of their best season to date and their car (which is an evolution of the late-2015 one) was rather handy at the end of the year. They could and perhaps should pick up podiums with both drivers this year. Williams might feature occasionally against Mercedes and Ferrari, but their main priorities should be Force India and Red Bull.
With a year-old Ferrari power unit, Toro Rosso should start off stronger than the Renault and Honda-powered teams. However this unit will not see any development across the season, and they will likely drop back as the year progresses. McLaren and the newly rebranded Renault team should also feature in the lower midfield.
Manor will almost certainly be towards the back of the pack again in 2016, but they will be much closer to the rest of the field than last year. New kids on the block Haas will be up to speed almost immediately with their Ferrari assistance. Sauber, who arrived to the party later than anybody this year will likely struggle at the beginning of the year, which could cost them in the table come November. Each of the 11 teams could score points however, and that has not happened since 2007 (McLaren did score points in 2007, but they lost all of them after the Spygate scandal).
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