Testing is over once again and the Australian GP is looming, which means it must be time for the yearly predictions by the StatBlog crew.
Jack Elleker – F1StatMan
Last year my predictions were fairly good, some spot on, others a bit less so, but more right than wrong on the whole. While I pay no attention to times during testing whatsoever, I do pay attention to laps, and Mercedes did a LOT of laps, I see them winning both titles again, with Hamilton taking the Drivers’ Championship, but I think Bottas will be a lot closer to him.
Ferrari I think will be a bit behind, their engine seems to be worse and the current politics around it may further affect them. They’ll still win races, but fewer than last year, and finish behind Red Bull. And speaking of Red Bull, Albon will get that first podium he deserved from Brazil last season, but I can’t see him getting a win just yet.
McLaren and Pink Mercedes I think will be best of the rest and close the gap to the top three, with potential for a podium or two each if things go their way, but not close enough to get one without a crazy race. Renault, AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo will have similar enough pace to each other and all stay close throughout the season.
Williams should do slightly better, they still won’t be good and single or low double figures of points and likely, but still an improvement upon an abysmal 2019, and with two decent drivers in their car. Haas may have a problem, they had a poor season, and weren’t great in testing either, Williams may actually have another team to fight against.
Craig Woollard – Featured Columnist
For anyone hoping for Lewis Hamilton’s and Mercedes’ respective dominance of the drivers’ and constructors’ crowns to end – I fear that you will be disappointed. While DAS has taken up a lot of the headlines, I feel that its benefit is minimal in comparison to how tidy the overall package looks. Reliability, however, is an intriguing topic.
I expect Max Verstappen to be Hamilton’s biggest threat for the title, although whether he is able to string 21 races (we hope there will be 21 races) remains a question. To beat Hamilton, he will need to do exactly that. I also expect Alex Albon to be more of a threat in his second season.
What of Ferrari? After a somewhat lacklustre showing in testing, the situation may not be as dire as it appears. At worst, expect the team to be at the head of the midfield in Australia. But the development race should be intense, and that goes in Ferrari’s favour.
At the front of the midfield – is Mercedes. Well, the so-called Pink Mercedes – also known as the Racing Point RP20. Renowned podium snatcher Sergio Perez is in a very strong position to add to his tally. Just how quickly the team may hit a development ceiling with what is in design a year-old car remains to be seen.
It’s a very important year for Renault – who failed to build on its fourth place from 2018 last season. And it seems to only once again be in the midfield mix alongside customers McLaren. The relationship between Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon will be totally fascinating – both have major points to prove.
The tail end of the midfield is where the recently rebranded AlphaTauri, the other Alfa (as in Romeo) and Haas (subject to having a car that has a stronger operating window) should end up. Even if their cars are up there with the other midfield runners, there’s a sense that the driver line-ups are not quite as potent.
At the back, will likely be Williams. But, the team should be capable of snapping at the heels of the midfielders on occasion, and should snatch more than the solitary point that the team managed last year.
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