It’s time to rev up for start of the new Formula One season and, with 21 races on the calendar, it’s set to be a stonker. With 11 teams heading to the grid in Melbourne on the 20 March for the first Grand Prix of the year, who’ll have the advantage when the lights go off?
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will be hoping to clinch a third consecutive constructors’ title for the Silver Arrows. The F1 WOW7 Hybrid looks much like its predecessor, but Mercedes claims it’s made a host of ‘minor revolutions, and the car was impressive in pre-season testing.
Ferrari’s designers have given the SF16-H a dramatic new look, adding white to the traditional red livery. The team believes it’s made enough technical improvements to ensure the Prancing Horse can take on Mercedes too, so the Tifosi could have something to cheer about when Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel go out on track.
Neither Valtteri Bottas nor Felipe Massa seem happy with Williams’ new car, while Frank Williams, Team Principal, has told press that staying within the top three teams will be tough. Second-in-command, Claire Williams, however, has claimed that the FW38 is still competitive.
It’s been a tough few years for Red Bull and team principal, Christian Horner, has hinted that it’s likely to be mid-season before they start to achieve any real results. The RB12 boasts a swish new livery, while Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat’s driving partnership remains unchanged.
Force India will be trying to build upon their 2015 success, following a fifth place constructors’ championship finish. The VJM09 is an upgraded version of last year’s B-Spec car, and drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have spoken highly of it.
The former Lotus team has employed two new drivers, Kevin Magnussen and British 2014 GP2 Champion, Jolyon Palmer. Although Renault’s bosses have made it clear they aren’t title contenders yet, the R.S.16 could help the team to turn their fortunes around.
Torro Rosso’s STR11 is an unknown quantity, following the team’s switch from using Renault to Ferrari engines. With talented young drivers, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, Jr. still on board, however, the team could achieve some great results.
Sauber and its drivers, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, are aiming to consolidate their midfield position this year. Their 2016 vehicle, the C35, incorporates a new Ferrari gearbox and, they claim, a substantially improved aerodynamic system.
McLaren hopes its reliability issues are in the past, now the MP4-31 has been launched. Group CEO, Ron Dennis, has been non-committal about how soon race wins could come, however, despite having former World Champions, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, behind the wheel.
Formula One rookies Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein will be driving for Manor this year. The team believes the MRTO5, which boasts a new Mercedes engine, is its best car yet, so they could pull off some surprising results.
The new kid on the block, Haas has a lot to prove, but the American outfit’s convinced the VF-16 could win points. With NASCAR team founder, Gene Haas, at the helm, and experienced drivers Roman Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez on board, they could get up to speed faster than expected.
Who do you think will lift the F1 drivers’ and constructors’ trophies this year? Let us know below.