The 2010 F1 Season Preview

 With the 2010 Formula One Championship just a few days away, the excitement is building up, globally. The FIA have finally confirmed the 2010 entry list just a few days before the season starts, so we now know who is on the grid or not.
How will McLaren’s all British line up fare against the all Latin line up at Ferrari. And how will those teams fare against the all German Mercedes GP team? How will all the teams cope with the new rules, including the re-fuelling ban? Who will be the best of the new teams?
All these questions will be answered very soon…    

2010 Pit Stops Could Be Sub 3 Seconds

There are new rules for the 2010 Season, as there have been for the last few years.    

The biggest change has to be the ban on re-fuelling- this means that the team will only have to change tyres; this will cut pit stop times to sub three seconds! Red Bull and Renault have also found ways to make that even quicker. Reports have come in that Red Bull have gone to under two seconds. Also, Renault have designed new front and rear jacks to make the release of the car quicker- no reports of how quick they have got to yet.
Penalties will also have to be served in a maximum two laps instead of three, but if they have to serve the penalty after the race, like Spa 2008, 35 seconds will be the punishment, not 25.
Front tyre dimensions have also shrunk from 270mm to 245mm, this will make life hard with the heavier cars, full of extra fuel.
Garages used to have sizes for where in the championship the team had finished the previous year, but now every team will have an equal amount of space for that race track.
Of course the points system has changed from 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 to 25-18-15-12-8-6-4-2-1.    

My Verdict:
The re-fuel ban is crazy, the tyres dimensions isn’t crazy if you had less fuel, the points system is crazy, serving penalties in two laps is crazy, 35 seconds is just too much, but I love the garage idea!    

The McLaren MP4-25

First up is the all British team, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.      

The big question is: How will McLaren cope with two British world champions?
McLaren haven’t won a constructors championship since 1998, mainly because of driver combinations and Ferrari. But even after the Lewis-Fernando combination in 2007 they still couldn’t manage the title because of a bitter relationship. 2008 wasn’t much different with Heikki Kovalainen as second driver, he just wasn’t up to the standard of Lewis and couldn’t get consistent podiums or wins. And we all know what happened in 2009. Will Jenson in 2010 be any different?      

After the Lewis-Fernando saga, the silver team will be wanting to avoid this kind of scenario this time around. Lewis has recently admitted that he “misunderstood” the situation at the team during his first year, and that he won’t be making the same mistake with new team-mate Jenson Button.
Alonso expected the ‘number one’ slot at McLaren when he arrived, but the young Brit was too strong for him. Things started to go wrong from there.
But Jenson Button himself has said that he won’t have that attitude, as he knows what Lewis is capable of. He said that he wanted the challenge of a new team after winning the championship in 2009 with former team Brawn GP.      

My verdict:
Jenson Button will struggle at his new team and will fail to beat Lewis, but he will do better than Kovalainen did in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Lewis Hamilton will be having so much fun back at the front with drivers like Schumacher, but he won’t have an easy ride with Jenson, Massa, Alonso and the Red Bull’s.      

Twitter Status:
Jenson Button: @The_Real_JB
Lewis Hamilton: N/A
McLaren: @McLaren_eShop + @TheFifthDriver      

Nico Rosberg In The Mercedes GP W01

Next is the new, all German Mercedes GP Petronas team.      

With Brawn GP’s success to follow, this will be a hard year for the ‘silver arrows’ who haven’t been in the sport since 1955. Although they will be a strong force in 2010 I think they just won’t have the strength of teams such as McLaren, Red Bull or Ferrari. They do have Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn up their sleeves though! With more updates on the way for most of the teams, expect them to be fighting for wins later on in the season, but not in the first few races…      

My verdict:
Michael Schumacher will lead the team to most of their wins, if any.
I feel sorry for Nico Rosberg that he ended up with the 7 time world champion instead of McLaren-bound Button; he’s just going to end up like Barrichello did.      

Twitter Status:
Michael Schumacher: N/A
Nico Rosberg: @NicoRosberg16
Mercedes GP: @OfficialMGP      

The Red Bull RB6

Next, the all – no wait – just Red Bull.      

Now they have some wins under their belt, and the race officials know that they have to have the Austrian anthem ready, can they go one better and win the championship? Well with the same line up as 2009 and another good car, the chances are very good. Now all they need to do is to have less engine failures or hydraulic failures- was it a good idea to keep the Renault engine?      

Since they took to the sport in 2005 Red Bull have never finished higher than 5th in the championship, until 2009 when they just came short of winning behind the white car of Brawn GP. Webber’s broken leg from 2008 has now fully recovered, so he doesn’t have anything to worry about this time around- can he do it?
Vettel, a.k.a. ‘Baby Schumi’ has the real ‘Schumi’ to fight with this year…      

Here’s what ex-Red Bull driver, David Coulthard thinks: “The team had a late decision on the Renault engine choice, meaning the car missed the first test. They’ve also taken a decision to spend more time developing in the windtunnel and on the drawing board before committing to the first iteration that we will see in Bahrain. But with a limited regulation change going into 2010 they’re looking good.” (Taken from the F1 Racing Magazine)      

My Verdict:
Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber and Red Bull as a team will all have one thing on their mind- winning…      

Twitter Status:
Sebastien Vettel: N/A
Mark Webber: @AussieGrit
Red Bull: @redbullf1spy      

The Scuderia Ferrari F10

Now for the all Latin team, Scuderia Ferrari.      

As I write this, Ferrari just announced that they expect Red Bull to be top in Bahrain- playing yourselves down eh? Quite an interesting statement to make with under a week to go before the race opener. The most successful team will be strong whatever they say though, with the return of Felipe Massa and 2 time world champion Fernando Alonso, it’s a recipe for more success. Well that’s what nearly everyone says- I don’t agree, but maybe that’s just because I never really liked Ferrari?! Anyway, I think it’s a recipe for disaster; just think back to 2007 and when Alonso was at McLaren, remember that? What makes people think this will be any better? The main issue, apart from the ‘spy-gate’ scandal, was that Lewis was too strong for the Spaniard, so will Felipe be any weaker? Don’t get me wrong, Alonso is good driver- but really?      

That’s what I think anyway, after their worst season in years the Italian team will want to forget that by winning again. Will Schumacher help them out in some controversial way?
I really don’t like Ferrari, do I? ;-P      

I do like Massa, so I’m happy he’s back in F1, will he ‘do a Schumacher’? In the 1999 British GP Schumacher broke a leg, but came back to win the title in 2000. Can Felipe come back to win this year’s title, after his horrific crash in Hungary last year?      

My Verdict:
Felipe will be too strong for Alonso and he won’t like it.
Alonso could back-stab the Italian team if things don’t go well; there are probably things only he knows about the past…      

Twitter Status:
Felipe Massa: N/A
Fernando Alonso: N/A
Ferrari: @InsideFerrari      

Rubens Barrichello In The Williams FW32

Next is the Williams F1 Team.      

The British based team have scored a mere 170.5 points since their last win in Brazil 2004 with Montoya, and in 2009 things started to look up with Rosberg, when he consistently challenged for podiums, but he just never quite got there. He himself scored the biggest points haul of his career in one season, but it wasn’t so good for the Williams team with second driver Nakajima consistently not scoring points. Will things be different this time around with the most experienced driver on the grid, Rubens Barrichello, and 2009 GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg? With things looking up in testing over the winter, maybe things will be better for the team.      

Rubens Barrichello has always had the backseat in whatever team he was driving for. In Ferrari he was second to Schumacher, at BAR Honda/Honda/Brawn GP he was second to Jenson Button. Is this his chance to take a leading role in his own team?      

My Verdict:
Barrichello will be strong in this team, but whether he can beat the other strong teams is another question.
Nico ‘The Hulk’ Hulkenberg has the chance to prove himself as a talented driver, as I think he has a good car to drive in his first season.      

Twitter Status:
Rubens Barrichello: @rubarrichello
Nico Hulkenberg: @NicoHulkenberg
Williams: @f1_williams      

The Renault R30

The controversial Renault F1 Team next.      

This is a whole new start for the team now; Briatore is gone, Alonso is gone, Piquet is gone. But Robert Kubica and Eric Boullier have arrived and could be the saviours of the French team. If they can make him a good car, Kubica has the talent to bring it home, as we have seen during the 2007 and 2008 season’s when he was at BMW Sauber. But can Renault make him a good car? They definitely can’t make a good looking car! Some people think it’s a great return to the old style 80’s livery, but they could have done something a bit less strong, huh? You’ll be able to see it on track easily!

Renault have gone downhill since 2007, where they finished 3rd in the championship, then 4th in 2008, then a lowly 8th in 2009. Can they improve on that 8th at least? I think so, but anything better than 4th, I don’t know – not without some major upgrades…      

My Verdict:
Kubica will definitely lead the team, but I haven’t really seen how former GP2 driver Petrov can race.
Podiums? No. But regular points? Possibly.      

Twitter Status:
Robert Kubica: N/A
Vitaly Petrov: N/A
Renault: @rf1paddockpass      

The Force India VJM03

The Force India F1 team next.      

The team is going into it’s fourth year now, which is the longest stint this team has had since it was known as Jordan. After coming close to scoring points in the Monaco 2008 GP and the 2009 Chinese GP, then finally breaking the dead lock in Belgium 2009 with Fisichella getting a podium, good things are expected of the team this year. Can they win a race? I’m not sure the drivers are good enough, but they can definitely come close and do well in the championship.      

The team has never finished higher than 9th in the championship, but I’m sure that will change this year, with a good car and reliability. Watch out for this team…      

My Verdict:
Adrian Sutil is a talented driver, and has driven for one team in his career, (Midland, Spyker and Force India) I think he has the talent to push himself in to a winning position, if the opportunity comes.
Vitantonio Liuzzi has not had much luck in his F1 career; he had a small stint at Toro Rosso but that was when they were new and inexperienced. But now, with a good car, I think he can start to show himself.      

Twitter Status:
Adrian Sutil: N/A
Vitantonio Liuzzi: N/A
Force India: @ClubForce      

Next is the ex-Minardi team: Toro Rosso.      

Toro Rosso have a chance this season with two good drivers, and a good car. Their first own-made factory car. Since they started in 2006 they have gone slowly, building experience and knowledge. In 2008 they had Vettel as one of their drivers, he won them their first ever race in Italy, and then went on to Red Bull to come second in 2009. But things didn’t go so well for Toro Rosso in 2009. Vettel leaving them hurt quite badly, as they could only mange to keep Bourdais and new boy Buemi. Bourdais went on to be sacked and replaced by Alguersuari who is the youngest ever driver to race in F1.      

Alguersuari didn’t have a good reponse from his fellow drivers on the grid; as the in-season testing ban meant he had never driven an F1 car, and was expected to just start racing with some of the best drivers in the world. But I think this kid has some talent and will do well this year.      

Sebastien Buemi has performed well as a rookie in 2009 and I expect him to do even better this time. With a good car and some luck I think he is points finish worthy.      

My Verdict:
This will be a close battle between these drivers, but I think a good one; they will work together and push the team forward. Who will come out on top? I really can’t say, but they will get in to the points.      

Twitter Status:
Sebastien Buemi: N/A
Jaime Alguersuari: @JAIMEALGUERSUAR
Toro Rosso: @ToroRossoSpy      

The Lotus T127

Next is the first of the new teams: Malaysian based Lotus F1 team.      

They claim to be the best of the new teams this year, and they are going well with that statement, by signing drivers such as Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen but has technical director Mike Gascoyne made a good car? Gascoyne has been at teams such as Force India and Midland. They have a big name to live up to, being one of the most successful teams in F1 history. They also have a little bet with fellow new team Virgin Racing on which team will come out on top!      

I think the driver line up is a straight hit; Trulli is one of the most underrated drivers in F1. He has only had one win, but that was at Monaco, and he was in a Renault, one of the best cars on the grid. His team-mate was Alonso mind you. Then after that he moved on to the unsuccessful Toyota, I don’t have to explain how that was bad. I think if he has a good enough car, he will shine in this team.      

Kovalainen has also had only one win, Hungary 2008, in one of the best cars on the grid. His team-mate was Lewis Hamilton, and he just couldn’t live up to him throughout his time there. So similar story here – good enough car= good enough chance.      

I think this team has the ambition to succeed, which is always good.      

My Verdict:
This team won’t be able to get into the points, but they will be a very strong new team.
Which driver will come out on top? I really don’t know, but they will work together well.      

Twitter Status:
Jarno Trulli: N/A
Heikki Kovalainen: @H_Kovalainen
Tony Fernandes: @tonyfernandes
Mike Gascoyne: @MikeGascoyne      

The New Hispania Racing Car

Next is the team to re-carry the big Senna name: Hispania Racing.      

This little new team has one big name to hold as they start this season, Bruno Senna, nephew of the late Ayrton Senna. They only just managed to save themselves from going under with fellow new team USF1. The team will now be called Hispania Racing or HRT. The new Spanish team recently signed the Indian GP2 driver, Karun Chandhok. Indian F1 fans have wanted the driver to race for home team Force India ever since they took over Spyker. But at least they get him in F1 at all.      

Chandhok hasn’t performed that well in GP2 to be honest, but I think he deserves the seat alongside fellow former iSport team-mate Bruno in GP2.
Martin Brundle on Bruno Senna: “Bruno’s a good kid and he’s had success in GP2, but just as it will be for all the rookies coming straight into F1, it’ll be tough. It’s uncanny but when Bruno lifts his visor up he looks just like Ayrton – it’s quite spooky.”      

My Verdict:
I’m not sure how the team will do in terms of success because we haven’t had a look at how quick the car is, so I can’t say anything there.
In terms of drivers, I think it’s a strong line up, but there won’t be anything special, there just isn’t enough experience, even though they used to be team-mates at iSport.      

Twitter Status:
Karun Chandhok: @karunchandhok
Bruno Senna: @Bsenna
Hispania Racing: @HRTf1      

The Sauber C29

Now the Ferrari engined Sauber team.      

This white car is going to be at Bahrain unlike Stefan GP or USF1. During testing “See you in Bahrain” was written across the side of the C29’s shark fin, and the car goes quickly as a bonus. With BMW pulling out of the sport, Sauber are left with Ferrari engines to power them along. Team boss Peter Sauber is back in charge of the team once more as he only wants “To finish around sixth in the championship, and not to be a team owner for another 17 years.”      

The car goes quickly, and the drivers go quickly, things have to go well this year, right? Who knows, as said by Button, there are at least 7 top teams this year. McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes GP, Red Bull, Force India, Toro Rosso and finally Sauber. They have signed up long serving McLaren tester, Pedro De La Rosa, and new kid Kamui Kobayashi who scored in his second race. Will they win races? I don’t think so, but they will be in the position for podiums when the time comes…      

My Verdict:
The team will be strong, but whether they can keep up the form is another matter. You will see them in the points though.
This is a big chance for Kamui to shine, if he can beat his team-mate he will surely be on some bigger teams lists for next year.
This is the last chance for De La Rosa- let’s see if he can make the most of it.      

Twitter Status:
Pedro De La Rosa: N/A
Kamui Kobayashi: N/A
Sauber: N/A      

The Virgin VR-01

The final team is Virgin Racing.      

The only team to use CFD alone to design their car. (Computational Fluid Dynamics-research it on Wikipedia; it’s mind boggling.) Owned by Richard Branson, they have a good package to be best of the new teams. Virgin used to be Manor GP before Branson bought the team to diversify his Virgin empire. Drivers like Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi have the setting for a great team. However, I’ve noticed throughout testing that the team’s reliability is flawed; wings falling off, hydraulic failures, parts running late- can this team live up to the bet they made with Lotus?      

Timo Glock had a tough time at Toyota, as has everyone who have driven for the ex-Japanese team. With only a few podiums to celebrate, it’s time for Glock to step up to the No.1 driver role. New team-mate Lucas Di Grassi is Glock’s first team-mate with a lower pedigree, so here’s his chance to shine – if he can. He is also the newest driver to Tweet! Follow him here: @realTimoGlock      

Lucas is stepping up from GP2 this season, I don’t know much about him so I can’t say much, but from what I can see, he’s had a good career in GP2 with 5 wins and 16 podiums.      

My Verdict
The team will be strong with Glock and Di Grassi, but will be riddled with reliability issues.
Timo Glock to come out on top.      

Twitter Status:
Timo Glock: @realTimoGlock
Lucas Di Grassi: @lucasdigrassi
Virgin Racing: @VirginRacing      


USF1’s failed entry.      

I just have to do a small piece on USF1. I said from the beginning that they wouldn’t make it, and look where they are! I don’t have anything against America but really, America don’t belong in F1. A quote in the F1 Racing magazine, from Lauren Spurin ( a bar tender from Charlotte, where USF1’s North Carolina HQ is based) shows the general attitude which makes me feel this way… ” I didn’t know we had a team here. The problem with F1 is it’s always on TV at really weird hours. NASCAR rules….. and besides, if you have 36 races a year in your own backyard, why go out of your way to follow something halfway across the world?” Scott Speed, Danica Patrick and USF1 all failed, it’s time they give up…      

Stefan GP’s failed entry.
Stefan GP sadly haven’t made it to the grid this year, yet. It could still happen, although it’s unlikely. I’m quite disappointed, but good luck to them for whenever they do make it.
Jacques Villenuve and Kazuki Nakajima were due to race for the Serbian team, had they got on the grid. That would have put 5 world champions on the same grid!

F1 In 2010 Is Nearly Here

March 12th, Friday, 7.00am UK time, FP1, Bahrain.      

So, here we go, only a few days to go and I’ve covered every single team and their Twitter status. Bahrain has a new layout for this year and most of the drivers are not impressed, and neither am I. Everyone on Twitter, including Jake Humphrey (@jakehumphreyf1) are all on their way to the Arabic track. This is it! We are finally here….      


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One Comment on “The 2010 F1 Season Preview”

  1. Enigma Says:

    Only 15 hours to go!

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