It’s time for the third and final part of our Formula One season preview. With the examination of the teams, drivers, and new rules out of the way, it’s time to put all of the information we have together for predictions for the 2011 season. Of course, the combination of the new rules and testing times is not necessarily an accurate portrayal of who’s fast which makes predicting the season a difficult proposition. However, as we like to say around here: We’re ambitious but rubbish.
World Drivers’ Championship
- Sebastian Vettel
- Fernando Alonso
- Mark Webber
- Nico Rosberg
- Felipe Massa
As I said when I was previewing the drivers and teams, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seems to be the simple philosophy that drove Red Bull during the off-season. It might be a bit predictable to suggest that the defending world champion will repeat but there’s nothing that suggests that it won’t happen. Everyone agrees that the Red Bull RB7 is the fastest chassis on the gird right now. The Ferrari 150 Italia was clearly the second-fastest car in testing. Most drivers agree that Red Bull and Ferrari will be the fastest out of the gate this season. I think that Red Bull is the faster of the two and Vettel will have matured enough to outpace his older teammate Webber. But just to shake things up, I’m going to say that Nico Rosberg will out point Massa by season’s end. With McLaren off the pace and Kubica out due to injury, Rosberg becomes the best of the rest. Now, Schumacher could surprise as the fastest Mercedes driver but Rosberg will have the drive to outpace his more accomplished teammate.
World Constructors’ Championship
- Red Bull-Renault
With Vettel as my pick for World Drivers’ Champion and Webber pegged for third, it’s logical to predict that Red Bull will lift their second consecutive World Constructors’ Championship. Placing Ferrari in second and Mercedes in third should seem entirely logical as they appear to be the next fastest of the teams. I think Renault has too strong of a car to not finish best of the rest. I think they’re interchangeable with Williams for this spot as both cars have shown signs of speed during testing. However, if the exhaust-blown diffuser works as well as it could, Renault should be safe for fourth. Despite their lack of pace in testing, I think that McLaren will develop the car back into the picture like they did in 2009. It took them until the late part of the season before they could contend for wins but I see no reason why McLaren couldn’t do the same this year.