The sound of engines roaring, the gorgeous grid-girls roaming the length of the straight and the smell of petrol fumes floating through the air… These three things alone are enough to give ‘rev-heads’ shivers down their spines. Throw in a highly competetive 2010 season which wasn’t decided until the dying stages and Formula 1 fans all around the globe are sure to be as excited as anyone come this weekend as the 2011 season commences in Melbourne, Australia.
Formula 1 is without a doubt the most popular, the most glamorous and the most famous form of motor sport on our planet and with this new season about to get underway, it’s worth breaking down and analysing the main contenders in an attempt to see what the 2011 season will hold. With all the controversy and success of last year’s season, will the champion Sebastian Vettel be able to repeat his championship winning ways? Or will we see a breakout superstar that is going to take the world of Formula 1 by storm? In addition to this, a new Indian Grand Prix will spice things up for sure… Pardon the pun.
All right, here we go!
After a 2010 season which finally saw Red Bull deliver on years of talk and potential, they head into 2011 as red-hot favourites… It’s just a question of who will take control, Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber? In a nutshell, Red Bull basically have the same drivers, the same team and the same Renault engine. Last season their opponents were comfortably off the pace, despite some late-season improvements from Ferrari. Despite this, given all the similarities mentioned thus far, it’s highly possibly that they’ll achieve the same result too, that being claiming pole position in 15 out of the 19 races and going on to win nine of them.
If you were one of the few who weren’t convinced that Vettel was the number one driver, you should be now as it’s become very clear over the off-season that he is certainly the golden child. With this in mind, it’s likely that he will again be given preferential treatment from team management and therefore starts as a slight favourite over Webber. The early season races will determine whether or not this trend will continue and it’s important Webber secures some early season wins to make Christian Horner reconsider Red Bull’s approach.
The 2010 season was one of missed opportunities for McLaren and management would have expected better from Jenson Button and in particular Lewis Hamilton, the head boy of the past two years. Hamilton, who despite excelling in numerous tests, seemed somewhat distracted in the second half of the year and made countless errors which ensures he is no longer top of the class. On their day, both drivers are capable of mixing it with the best, however they are second‑favourites for a reason. Red Bull have them covered with both pace and reliability, the two most crucial aspects in this electrifying sport.
If however they can secure some early victories and remain within touching distance of their Red Bull rivals, then the pressure, as seen before, may well get to both Vettel and Webber. They must ensure though that they don’t give the speedsters a head-start because they’ll never catch them.
2010, what a mess. Last season could, sorry should have been so much better for the Italian motoring giants, however a truly disastrous decision to call Fernando Alonso in for an early pit stop in Abu Dhabi cost him the driver’s title whilst also costing Chris Dyer, the head of engineering, his job. The veterans of the sport are certainly in the leading pack and arguably have the most skillful driver. In addition to this, it was only in 2008 that number two driver, Felipe Massa, came within a heartbeat of the title. Unfortunately for him though, a life-threatening crash in 2009 has taken a mental toll and he struggled to bounce back in 2010… It’s time to move on.
Despite the obvious potential, as they showed last year, a good season can unravel faster than a ball of wool in a cattery and I think there are more questions hovering over the men in red than answers.
That briefly summarises the main three contenders and it’s hard to see any of the others consistently getting close. Robert Kubica (Renault) had some good races in 2010 however he is currently injured and has been replaced by Nick Heidfeld. These two in addition to Nic0 Rosberg (Mercedes) are three of the younger drivers in the championship and have all shown glimpses of their potential in the past. Then of course there’s 42-year-old veteran Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) who despite a reckless 2010, has the potential to cause an upset or two on his day. The fact remains though that the 2011 season, much like the 2010 version, is ultimately a fight between three stand-out teams and their six respective drivers. The two key deciding factors will be which team produces the most consistent and reliable cars and which driver can keep his cool under pressure and make the least amount of errors.
Drivers Championship Prediction:
1st – Sebastian Vettel
2nd – Mark Webber
3rd – Lewis Hamilton
4th – Fernando Alonso
5th – Jenson Button
6th – Felipe Massa
I’d like to hear your thoughts so please comment in the space provided below… Feel free to agree with my predictions and reasoning or better yet, tell me why I’m wrong.