A quick look at the betting for the 2015 Formula 1 Championship gives a pretty accurate indication of what we have lined up. Lewis Hamilton is the 8-15 favourite, his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg 11-4 and then its 18-1 on Daniel Ricciardo. In other words, get yourself ready for another series of Mercedes possessions all over the world. While it would be good to see Lewis Hamilton win a third World title and another hard fought year-long battle with Nico Rosberg, the less dedicated fan might just feel it’s all a bit predictable.
The recent testing sessions in Barcelona have done plenty to convince us that Mercedes have a big advantage over the rest of the opposition. Despite both Hamilton and Rosberg not being at their best they both managed fast times on slower tyres. The hope is that as the season progresses other teams will catch up and narrow that gap.
Here’s a look at what the teams and drivers are thinking ahead of the new season:
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): “I anticipate a very similar season to last year.”
Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): “We have a strong team and it is fair to say we are the best in F1 and we are the ones to beat, but the others have been pushing hard and some of them have been making huge steps.”
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari): “We are in a much stronger position. We still have work to do to get to where we want to – but that’s part of the game.”
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): “We have definitely improved as a team, so now we’ll see [how much] when we get the chance to put the car on the track.”
Sergio Perez (Force India): “”It’s going to be a painful start of the year, but I am sure we will get to where we want to be very soon. From the start of the season in general, we are not expecting big things. If we are able to score a couple of points from here up to Europe that will be a mega job from the team.”
Jenson Button (McLaren): “We have not had a lot of testing so we haven’t done much development work or basic set-up work. I have no aim in terms of position.”
Pastor Maldonado (Lotus): “The car feels much better. The entire package is working well, although we need to improve. I do not think we have 100 per cent of the car’s potential the moment.”
Daniel Riccardio (Red Bull): “Testing has been relatively good for us. We had a few reliability issues but we racked up a lot of miles and learned a lot. I still feel that we have a bit more to go. But there is no better place to do this than going racing. I’m ready to go.”
So the waiting is nearly over and another season is about to begin. Some of the teams (yes you McLaren) may not be quite as forward as they’d like to be, but we have months of great racing ahead of us.
It may well be a Mercedes procession again but if the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg is as exciting and has as many twists and turns, then this could be another fascinating year. Rosberg always seems to do far better in qualifying than the actual race, if he can improve on that then this could be his year.
Personal wishes for the season ahead? A stronger showing from Ferrari because no one wants to see this great team struggling as they did last year. Winning the title is out of the question but some more podium finishes, especially on home territory would be a lot better than the disappointments of 2014.