After the grueling weeks of pre-season Winter testing, and on basis of performances here, we can safely say that World Champions Red Bull and Renault engines are struggling. Whether it is an elaborate ruse or not, we will know soon, but with the season’s first Grand Prix at Melbourne this weekend, there is no clear favorite. Mercedes looked mighty strong in practice, and Ferrari looked smooth. Williams, surprisingly, looked the most reliable. Massa’s move already seems like a tiny masterstroke.
A lot of things (technicalities, regulations, fuel capacities, engines, aerodynamics) change from one season to the next, but looking at Vettel’s 4 consecutive Championships, you’d never think so.
The changes: New power unit with the 1.6 ltr turbocharged V6 engine, limited fuel delivery rates, narrower front wings, Double points in the last race (Abu Dhabi), new partners, and hopefully, a new (or old) World Champion.
2014 is here. The Australian Grand Prix is here- the 1st of 19 races this season. It is the race where the most reliable car often wins, and speed is of little concern. Few teams manage to finish this race in one piece.
It is impossible to predict anything for this race. The results will be purely based on the adaptability of teams, and I won’t be surprised if there’s no Renault on the podium. Vettel himself doesn’t sound too confident about their chances, but he is known to play it down before a slow start.
World Champions Red Bull have a new partner for Vettel– Daniel Ricciardo. Mark Webber has retired.
Ferrari has a new partner (equal) for Alonso—Iceman Kimi Raikkonen. This should be the most pulsating partnership to watch, with 3 World Championships between these guys.
Mercedes have the same team with ‘new’ boy Lewis Hamilton partnering Rosberg. The legend that Hamilton replaced is still in a medically-induced coma in hospital, and the entire sporting world will be praying for him. Get well soon, Michael Schumacher.
Kevin Magnussen will partner Jenson Button at Mclaren, and Massa will partner Bottas at Williams. None of these ex-great teams are title contenders yet, but we will get a better idea of their prospects soon.
Pastor Maldanado (Mad man) will partner another dangerous driver Roman Gorsjean at Lotus, both with equally reckless or promising futures—depending on how you look at it.
Sergio Perez will be the new star at Force India, partnering Hulkenburg.
Let the games begin.