So, the long dark winter is nearly over and we can look forward to racing resuming in a few weeks time and a new season of Fantasy F1 League
Can Mercedes continue their domination? Will Ferrari be able to step-up the challenge and will Red Bull be able to return to winning ways? Are McLaren and Renault capable of joining the front runners?
Lots of questions and interesting possibilities for the new season, despite a lack of new drivers and teams. In fact this season will see the fewest new faces for as far back as I can remember, still plenty to look forward to!
On paper Mercedes must be favourites again with Lewis Hamilton to man to beat. However, if you remember the 2016 season where Rosberg took the title, there are several similarities that mean Valterri Bottas might be the man to beat. Hamilton was lacklustre at the end of the 2015 campaign after he had won the title with 4 races to go, in 2017 he also won with races to spare and didn’t win any of the final 3 races with his team mate beating him in all of them. If Bottas can keep up this momentum perhaps he can take the title.
However, Mercedes have now won 4 titles in a row so perhaps it is time for another team to step up? Only one team has ever bettered that tally, Ferrari with Schumacher in the early 2000s, so perhaps the Mercedes domination is coming to an end? F1 tends to be cyclical with one team dominant for a few seasons so it would be no surprise if Ferrari or Red Bull took the title in 2018.
If Ferrari dominate then it is likely Sebastian Vettel will be champion, he has beaten Kimi Raikkonen as his team mate with ease whilst they have been at the Scuderia. If Red Bull can challenge at the front then the fight between Daniel Riccardio and Max Vrestappen will be much more interesting as both drivers have had success although recently Verstappen has perhaps had the edge.
Of the other teams McLaren need to see a big improvement and the Renault partnership should deliver this. Whilst I don’t expect them to be winning races in 2018 they should be on the podium a few times as they have one of the best chassis on the grid and the Renault is looking better all the time. Alonso is the type of mercurial driver who might just pull a win out of the bag if we have any very eventful races with some unusual circumstances.
Renault are the other team I think will be worth watching. I can see them possibly joining the front runners this season or at least being “the best of the rest” as they are maturing into a competitive team with two good drivers.
I will do an update to this once we have some times from pre-season testing, end of February time.
Here’s to a great season!