It hardly seems five minutes since Jenson Button tied up the 2009 F1 World Championship, and already we’re on the eve of the first F1 race weekend of 2010 in Bahrain.
There have been accusations that Formula 1 has become boring; just a procession of cars going round in a circle many say. And at times over recent years it’s not always been easy to disagree. But 2010 looks like it could be shaping up to be the best season in F1 for a generation.
The headline for F1 2010 has to be the return of Michael Schumacher. Not in to his beloved Ferrari family but back where he first started in motor racing, with Mercedes (or, as we prefer to thing of them, Brawn). Heading up the proper return to F1 for Mercedes’ all German line-up (his team mate is fellow German Nico Rosberg) it looks very probable that it will take Michael little time to be back in the groove.
The biggest competition for last year’s world champion team is probably at the home of last year’s world champion driver – McLaren. Mercedes may well have a seven-times world champion in Michael Schumacher, but McLaren boast both the 2009 F1 champion and the 2008 in the shape of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. And that battle – between the two McLaren drivers – could be as interesting as anything else on the grid.
But no talk of the fight for F1 champion in 2010 would be complete without Ferrari. They boast hugely talented drivers with Latin temperament in two time world champion Fernando Alonso and team mate Felipe Massa (now recovered from his coming together with a lump of Brawn last year). Again, there could be a battle royal going on within Ferrari for dominance, never mind the prospect of competing with other drivers on the grid.
The final team in real contention for F1 dominance is Red Bull. They came extremely close to winning in 2009 and keep the same driver lineup of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Both are as good as it gets on the right day and the continuity of drivers and car could see Red Bull once again battling for the championship.
Frankly, most of the rest are there to make up the numbers. It seems highly unlikely that any other team will seriously threaten these four. So who will come out on top? On paper it should probably be Lewis Hamilton as long as McLaren have the car right. But having no fuel stops this year could play in to the hands of the smooth-driving Button.
Schumacher has the experience and the ability to surprise, but will the Mercedes be up to the job? There is also a big chance that Red Bull will steer through the battles around and take the rest by surprise. As for Ferrari, don’t be surprised to see a lot of internal politics and toys being thrown out of the pram, especially if Massa gets the better of Alonso early on.
But this if F1. In truth anything could happen. But it looks set to be a vintage year for F1.
F1 2010 Teams and Drivers
- McLaren-Mercedes | Jenson Button
- McLaren-Mercedes | Lewis Hamilton
- Mercedes Grand Prix | Michael Schumacher
- Mercedes Grand Prix | Nico Rosberg
- Red Bull Racing-Renault | Sebastian Vettel
- Red Bull Racing-Renault | Mark Webber
- Scuderia Ferrari | Felipe Massa
- Scuderia Ferrari | Fernando Alonso
- Williams-Cosworth | Rubens Barrichello
- Williams-Cosworth | Nico Hülkenberg
- Renault F1 | Robert Kubica
- Renault F1 | Vitaly Petrov
- Force India F1 Team-Mercedes | Adrian Sutil
- Force India F1 Team-Mercedes | Vitantonio Liuzzi
- Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari | Sebastien Buemi
- Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari | Jaime Alguersuari
- Lotus-Cosworth | Jarno Trulli
- Lotus-Cosworth | Heikki Kovalainen
- HRT F1 Team-Cosworth | Karun Chandhok
- HRT F1 Team-Cosworth | Bruno Senna
- BMW Sauber | Pedro de la Rosa
- BMW Sauber | Kamui Kobayashi
- Virgin Racing-Cosworth | Timo Glock
- Virgin Racing-Cosworth | Lucas di Grassi