We are just days away from the start of the 2020 Formula One season. It will be remembered as one of the most unusual championships since its inception in 1950 due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
However, progress has been made around the world and things are slowly phasing back to normal with the restart of several sporting codes already at the forefront. The new season is set to get underway on the first weekend of July at the famous Spielberg racing circuit in Austria.
So, what are the challenges that teams will be facing in this peculiar season? Will the Mercedes dominance continue? Toto Wolff has moulded the Brackley team into a ruthlessly efficient group that has improved year-on-year staying ahead of the pack for most of his eminent tenure. Can they keep it up for this season and keep their ever-improving rivals at bay? One does get the sense that their coherence will be heightened with British driver, Lewis Hamilton gunning for a record-equaling seventh championship. Wolff will know that this will be no easy task in an aberrant season filled with uncertainties.
Ferrari, where does one even begin here? Last month Italian motorsport giants, Ferrari announced the joint decision not to renew German driver Sebastian Vettel’s contract beyond the 2020 season. The decision came after prolonged negotiations between the two parties broke down.
Vettel was tasked with the job of bringing back the glory days to the Prancing Horse team which ultimately didn’t happen with Mercedes comfortably outpacing them. Vettel undeniably made some high-profile errors that cost him valuable points in his championship battles against arch-rival Lewis Hamilton. His misery was further intensified by the arrival of racing prodigy, Charles Leclerc who added more pressure to the four-time world champion. The 2020 season is now somewhat of a throwaway season and with Vettel leaving the team we could see a very combustible relationship between the German and Monacan. How will team principal, Mattia Binotto handle the sticky situation should tension arise? Only time will tell…
Red Bull has been on the up since their switch to the Honda engines. Spearheaded by Dutch sensation, Max Verstappen the team will be looking to really take it to their rivals this season. It has become a very common pattern for them to show teeth but no bite, can they finally deliver the ultimate package that will keep them in a championship fight? Ferrari showed last season that they can match the bar set by Mercedes, and it’s time Red Bull did too. We have become accustomed to seeing flashes of speed, but flashes of speed don’t win you titles. Christian Horner has a massive job of getting the team to consistently deliver a package that will make rivals look over their shoulders.
The midfield battle is shaping up to be the most exciting of them all, the resurgence of Zak Brown’s McLaren team has forced teams to step it up. Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were given an adequate car that bested the chasing pack, the Surrey team is certainly on the up but will they continue to close the gap or will it be another case of ‘maybe next season’?
Diabolical, the only word that springs to mind when you think of Williams’s 2019 season. From the outset, the team was seemingly doomed when they arrived late for their pre-season testing in Barcelona which proved telling as the team limped through the season. Claire Williams knows they have their work cut out for them if they are to re-join the midfield battle which most fans would like to see. Pre-season showed that maybe, just maybe they could haul themselves back into contention, but most fans will know by now that a lot can happen between testing and lights out.