We are just under a month away from the flag in Melbourne, and teams have started their last preparations ahead of the season in Barcelona. The last two years have been dominated by Mercedes WO5 and WO6 with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel. The big question is whether we’ll see the new WO7 being as dominant or will Ferrari catch up and break Mercedes’ dominance.
Ferrari will be an exciting prospect to watch. Ahead of the 2015 season, the team had a complete clean-up of staff, but only managed to bring the replacements on quite late, so they had very little time to come up with the 2015-racer. Now that Ferrari has had plenty of time to come up with the new SF1-H, Mercedes should keep an eye on the team from Maranello.
Another that could surprise in the battle for points is Red Bull. Their winter has been difficult with engine problems. Christian Horner said recently at their presentation of the RB12 that the first part of the season would be difficult for them. The fact of the matter is that after the first two days of testing in Barcelona they found themselves third just behind Mercedes and Ferrari.
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The last team as a possible surprise is Manor. The team now is almost completely changed from the team who left Abu Dhabi in December. The car is different with the 2015 Mercedes engine and the 2015 Williams Chassis. The drivers are different and so is the staff.
During the testing in Barcelona, Manor has found themselves 6th and 9th ahead of the likes of Renault, Haas and Sauber. This could well be the year they score their first points under the Manor name.
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In a season, there are no winners without some losers. One of them could be Renault. The team is basically Lotus from last year with a different name. It pretty much looks the same with only very few changes and more or less the same problems as last year. They may even perform worse than Lotus last year.
Sauber could very well experience a disappointing season like they did in 2014. They are still to announce their new car even though the off-season has started. They might struggle to keep up with the middle of the field and could face a season behind the lot.
Last, but not least there is McLaren. The 2015 season was a never-ending nightmare for the team, but the testing in Barcelona has shown signs of improvement. That’s why it’s probably a bit unfair that I’m seeing them as a potential disappointment, but for a team of McLarens' size they should be trying to fight for the podium.
The upcoming season will answer a lot of questions, and has the potential to be one of the best.
Will Ferrari be able to come out on top ahead of Mercedes? Give your opinion in the comment box below!