With all the excitement the new season brings, there are few things more enjoyable than trying to predict what will happen, then realising you know nothing by getting it all badly wrong. So myself and some F1 fans I know have boldly predicted the answers to a set of questions I devised on a whim. The results will come at the end of the season.
Here is part one:
- Okay, obvious one to start, who will win the driver’s title?Mike Gilyatt: I think it’ll be tighter than people think, Ferrari are quick and apparently reliable, but Hamilton will pip Vettel in the showdown the sport has been waiting for.
David Moysey: I personally can’t see past Lewis Hamilton. Nico Rosberg learnt how to beat him, but Bottas won’t do that this season.
Roger Knight: Lewis Hamilton. The fastest driver or very close to it, the fastest car or very close to it, and the most reliable car or very close to it.
Richard Gilyatt: Hamilton, as the 2016 champion is not on the grid in Australia this will reduce a huge amount of pressure on Hamilton’s shoulders. The new changes this could throw up a surprise or two especially Ferrari as they are sneaky when it comes to loopholes! But even still he seems to handle pressure well.
- Which team will finish 5th in the constructors?MG: With the big 3 obvious and Williams 4th, I’ll go with Force India. Rumour is Renault are strong, but I’ll believe that when I see it and I don’t trust the engine.
DM: For me Williams, top 4 to stay the same as last year.
RK: Force India. Testing implies they’ve slipped in the competitive order, and Esteban Ocon has promise but isn’t proven yet at that level. However testing also implies that they have good reliability, and given any opportunity Sergio Perez is capable of delivering big points finishes.
RG: This is a tough one, Renault with factory backing could have a pace, but the obvious two are Williams and Force India, with 2 new drivers and I feel Perez will out shine Massa but Williams seem to have the edge on the car. Heads or tails: Force India.
- Which driver will be involved in the most race ending collisions?MG: There are a few contenders, Verstappen might’ve annoyed enough people that they stop being so compliant, but it needs to be someone further back. I’ll go with Hulkenberg with a number of first lap incidents.
DM: Daniel Kvyat, not the best year for him last season, he’ll be starting near to the back of the grid.
RK: Lance Stroll. An obvious candidate due to his lack of experience, and he struggled in the first week of testing. Plus he’s likely to start races in the middle of the pack, which can be fraught with danger (ref Nico Hulkenberg, 2016).
RG: Ericsson, although this maybe a bad choice as to end peoples races you need to be alongside them and Sauber seem to be somewhat lacking in speed. However, he has previous with ending races including that of his team mate on one or more occasions.
- Which team will have the greatest driver disparity (in races where 1 point awarded for each time they beat their teammate)?MG: I want to say Alonso, but the engine might be a leveller with double DNFs. Hulkenberg over Palmer.
DM: There will be some close battles all through the field. Ferrari with Vettel over Raikkonen could be, also Hamilton over Bottas. But for me Renualt, Hulkenberg will destroy Palmer.
RK: McLaren. Fernando Alonso remains in the top bracket and is absolutely peerless with a difficult car, which is likely to be what he has at his disposal. Stoffel Vandoorne is very talented but a rookie in F1 terms, and will have a very difficult first full season.
RG: Force India, Perez has shown he’s a top midfield driver and I don’t feel Ocon will be ready to challenge him.
- Will any drivers be replaced mid-season? If yes, who (no added points for who)?MG: Alonso will leave McLaren and Button will turn down the opportunity to replace him with McLaren struggling to even finish races. Eric Boullier will end up in a race seat.
DM: Again I mention Daniel Kvyat, his crashes trying it get through the field will cause the end to a what was promising F1 career and Toro Rosso will put a 14 year old lad in as replacement.
RK: Yes, the last season without a replacement was 2008, so it seems a safe bet. Daniil Kvyat starts the season in the most precarious position; his relationship with the Red Bull hierarchy clearly deteriorated last season, and Pierre Gasly is an obvious contender to step up.
RG: No, after the Sauber issue last season or season before? I can’t see a mid-season change happen this year.
- Which race will have the fewest finishers?MG: Somewhere where it might rain, I’ll plump for Brazil.
DM: Melbourne, first race of the season. Could always get some non starters and reliability issues for teams will leave a small number of finishers.
RK: Suzuka. The weather is sometimes treacherous, the barriers are unforgiving, and the high-speed corners will be more demanding in the 2017 cars.
RG: Malaysia or Brazil based on rain! Monaco could be a contender as I’m not sure the cars will even fit around some of the corners so most overtaking moves will result in an accident. I’m going Brazil.
Part two can be found here.