The 2019 season is less then a week away and with the most mixed up grid in recent memory here are my predictions for teams order.
This could be the year Ferrari finally take it all the way. They have been very impressive in testing, topping the first two days and consistently pulling high millage. They also have new management with Maurizio Arrivabene having been replaced by Mattia Binotto, who has been with Ferrari for a number of years. And on top of all they now have a new fiery youngster in Charles Leclerc alongside Vettel, while he may not be going straight for the title he will certainly push Vettel more than Raikkonen.
Mercedes are one of only two teams that go into to 2019 with the same driver line up and basically everything else about the team is the same as well. Not to say that’s a bad thing but with changes happening all over will Mercedes be able to keep up.
3. Red bull
Yes I still think Red Bull will keep its top three position after what we’ve seen from them so far. The Honda engine seems to be reliable and the car is fast, not only that they have two very talented drivers and now a lead driver in Verstappen this means it will be easier to control the drivers and avoid incidents like Baku last year
They did it last year and I think they’ll do it again. With the Renault engine getting better (despite the series of breakdowns Red Bull had in 2018) and Daniel Ricciardo jumping ship from Red Bull to join Nico Hulkenberg. Whats more Renault is now fully commuted to F1 and returning to being a top team having gone as far as to abandon its Formula e team to focus on F1.
Mclaren look in much better shape this year having suffered no serious problems in testing and set a couple fastest times. They have a fresh line up of drivers which could be what they need to get back up the grid. Also both drivers have a point to prove, Sainz wants to show he is a top driver that he can not only score podiums but win races while rookie Lando Norris will want to prove he deserves his F2 promotion and not go the way of Stoffel Vandoorne.
6. Alfa Romeo
Alfa (or Sauber as they were known) made a huge step up in 2018, after securing major investment from Ferrari and then title sponsor Alfa Romeo, they went from being last with 5 points in 2017 to eighth with almost 50 points a year later. It was the first time they were consistent points scorers since 2013. They also have fresh line up with Kimi Raikkonen swapping places with Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi take over from Marcus Ericsson.
Haas have done very well in the three years they’ve been in F1 beating more established teams like Mclaren, Force India and Williams to fifth in the standings last year. However I think they may start to fall behind this year having kept the same line up from 2018 and gained a new title sponsor in Rich Energy which some believe isn’t legitimate. Regardless it is unlikely the new sponsor will be able to provided the same level of investment as the manufacturers of Alfa, Renault or Mclaren.
8. Racing Point
The newly named Racing Point have also secured new investment in Lawrence Stroll and title sponsor SportPesa however something tells me this won’t be their year. They’ve lost the talent of Esteban Ocon and now have Lawrence’s son Lance Stroll, I’m not saying he’s a bad driver after all he has been on the podium and had a front row start but I don’t think he’s up to the level of Ocon.
9. Toro Rosso
The Red Bull academy is in a bit of trouble at the minute with Toro Rosso now having two returnees to the Red Bull family. Alexander Albon who was dropped from the Red bull junior program in 2012 and the infamous Daniil Kvyat who was demoted from Red Bull in place of Max Verstappen before being dropped. While I’m not saying they are bad drivers it does look like this a steppingstone year as they wait for younger drivers like Dan Ticktum to be able to graduate.
Yep it seems this will be another bad year for Williams, they have some great drivers but the team itself looks to be in disarray. Having missed the first two days of testing for the first time in their history they have also lost Paddy Lowe as technical director after only 2 years. All in all it doesn’t look good for the former championship winning team.