With the 2014 Formula 1 season kicking off at the Australian Grand Prix, the Fiasco Sports Motorsport gurus give their thoughts on how it will all unfold.
Who will win the first race?
Daniel: With Mercedes getting the most laps in and showing the best speed in testing, it will be hard to look past the Silver Arrow. I’m backing Nico Rosberg to draw first blood in 2014.
Loren: Lewis Hamilton for the first race win, Mercedes were incredibly strong during pre-season testing and is a previous winner, claiming victory in 2008.
Fraser: I’ll be pulling for Daniel Ricciardo but I think Hamilton will take it this year. A dark horse could be Kimi Raikkonen despite concerns over Ferrari’s preseason.
Mark: Mercedes looked good in testing but we all know how little that means once the season starts. That being said I’m still going to pick Lewis Hamilton. But don’t count out the likes of the Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, two drivers who can make an average car look good.
Who will win the championship?
Daniel: Lewis Hamilton looks the best positioned driver to end the Vettel reign. That said, Fernando Alonso is always at the pointy end when it counts.
Loren: The Championship is a tough one to decide at the moment with cars still in development, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Mercedes drivers came through, so I’ll just say Hamilton!
Fraser: I believe that one of the Mercedes drivers will take it. ‘Winning’ preseason testing doesn’t count in the championship but in regards to form, it’s hard to ignore. Out of the two drivers, I’m feeling Rosberg over Hamilton. I might have to eat my words but we’ll see.
Mark: So much has changed this year that picking a champion is a very difficult task. Can Sebastian Vettel make it five in row? It’s a big ask for Red Bull Racing especially considering their testing woes. It’s hard to bet against Vettel and Adrian Newey and you know Red Bull are going to come on strong in the second half of the season once they sort out their problems. If they don’t, it’s anyone’s championship, if they do, Vettel has title number five. My pick: Vettel.
Who will win the constructors championship?
Daniel: Mercedes look the most likely to take out the constructors championship at the moment. They have two excellent drivers and look like they’re miles ahead in development compared to the other teams.
Loren: Definitely Mercedes.
Fraser: I’m going with Mercedes on this one, they have two really strong drivers in Hamilton and Rosberg and barring catastrophic failure, they have a really strong car.
How many races will Sebastian Vettel win this year?
Daniel: Things currently aren’t looking great for Vettel and Red Bull, but you can’t keep a champion team down. I think he will take four victories late in the season.
Loren: Vettel will have a tough year this year with the RB10, I reckon maybe one or two, because Red Bull have good strategies.
Fraser: I don’t think Vettel will take as many races as he did in 2013, I think some teams will really surprise this year (for better or worse) and Red Bull might slip back. Still, I can see Vettel winning four races. The real interesting aspect will be how he places when he doesn’t win.
Mark: Five. I think Red Bull will be strong in the second half of the season which is where Vettel will pick up most of his wins.
How many races before someone is accused of cheating?
Daniel: There has already been controversy surrounding the legality of the Lotus front wing design but I think they will behave until Bahrain.
Loren: I’ll give it one race. I’m sure someone has an unfair aerodynamic advantage or something.
Fraser: I’ll say two, I think Melbourne will be a benchmark and then any basis of cheating will be made on the comparison of Australia and Malaysia.
Mark: At least one team will be unhappy about another team’s performance after Melbourne.
Which car looks the best?
Daniel: Caterham obviously. Just kidding, even a blind person could sense how ugly those things are. Actually, most of them are pretty ugly this year with their noses but it’s great to see a return of the Martini livery on the Williams car.
Loren: The Williams-Martini car looks absolutely stunning!
Fraser: While I love the Williams-Martini livery, I’ve always really liked Lotus’ design. I really don’t think there is a bad livery this year.
Mark: The Mercedes wins this just because they have a nose that doesn’t look like a vacuum, anteater or as Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz put it a “gentleman’s appendage”. The Martini livery on the Williams is a great look this year and I’ve always been a fan of Ferrari red.
Who will be the first one to cause a crash?
Daniel: Pastor Crashdonaldo.
Loren: I’ll go Romain Grosjean, based on his past history with crashing and banging into others.
Fraser: I have a feeling that it will be Kamui Kobayashi. After not racing in 2013, I think he’ll have a slight adjustment period and that will cause some incident involving him. Could even be the first corner of the Melbourne GP.
Mark: One of the Lotus drivers. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have a bad habit of getting involved in collisions. Outside chance, Kobayashi tries something and punts someone off the road.
Which rookie will score the most points?
Daniel: McLaren’s Father-Son draft pick Kevin Magnussen looks the most likely to score decent points.
Loren: Magnussen, he’s in a great car and a great team with McLaren.
Fraser: I’m going to go with Daniil Kvyat. Toro Rosso signed him after 22 laps at the young drivers test so the team must see some promise and I believe that the team is on the up and could surprise.
Mark: Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren. Being in a better car will put him higher up the order. Daniil Kvyat could have a great season but unless the Toro Rosso is spectacular or McLaren have another shocking season like 2013 then Magnussen has it.