Who will win in Melbourne?

With the sun having set on Bahrain’s final pre-season test day, the eleven teams are well under way with their preparations for the season opener in Melbourne in a little over a week’s time. The 12 days of running have lead us to suspect the Mercedes works team are the squad to beat in the early stage of the season, but no team escaped the entire pre-season without at least a single mechanical issue halting their preparation.

From Brackley Lewis and Nico have told the media the team isn’t getting ahead of itself before the chequered flag in Melbourne. At Ferrari Alonso has said the limited testing before the beginning of the season  will have hindered every team and that preparations for Melbourne are on the back foot. The championship defenders, the charging bulls of Milton Keynes, struggled in both Jerez and Bahrain to turn a lap in anger but rumours have it that a reliable Red Bull will be a quick one, all it takes is Renault to get back into the game.

Below are brief summaries of each team’s testing form and their chances for Melbourne.

 

Bahrain test 2 summary and Australian Grand Prix chances

Red Bull Logo

 

 

Sebastian Vettel 1, Daniel Ricciardo 3

Sebastian Vettel 1, Daniel Ricciardo 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ①

The reigning champs have had a disastrous pre-season campaign, barely getting out of the garage during the first test in Bahrain and seeing little time on the track after that. Sebastian Vettel’s fastest time during the second test in Bahrain was over four seconds slower than the weekend’s quickest time. Ricciardo went faster but still found himself two-and-a-half seconds down on the fastest. Seb’s been very down about the team’s situation going to Melbourne and a magical fix shouldn’t be expected. But don’t forget they’ve won eight World Championships in four years and if anybody can recover from a lull in form it’s going to be the boys and girls in Milton Keynes.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 15/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 10/1

 

mercedes-logo

 

 

Lewis Hamilton 44, Nico Rosberg 6

Lewis Hamilton 44, Nico Rosberg 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ②

Mercedes look like the team best poised to set the benchmark in Melbourne. They didn’t set the fastest time in Bahrain, that honour was taken by Felipe Massa, but have looked the most settled team over the three tests. Rosberg and Hamilton have many times successfully managed race-simulation runs and the Mercedes engine doesn’t look like it’s struggling for power in any way. As the squad who looked quickest overall in Jerez and Bahrain, in some ways they’re the team under pressure and will be very embarrassed if they don’t at least show themselves as being able to challenge for the race win.

If everything holds together, Lewis and Nico have the best seats on the grid.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 2/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 1.5/1

 

Ferrari Logo

 

 

 

Fernando Alonso 14, Kimi Raikkonen 7

Fernando Alonso 14, Kimi Raikkonen 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ③

Ferrari have shied away from the media throughout pre-season, instead preferring to keep their heads down and tackle their issues in private. With Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso making Ferrari’s strongest partnership in many years the red cars are the ones who are most likely going to pull a surprise. Though they didn’t show themselves in Bahrain to be outright quickest (Alonso was fifth- and Raikkonen seventh-fastest overall) the car has been relatively reliable and could yet spring a surprise at Albert Park.

2014 is an important year for Ferrari and Stefano Domenicali. If the team can’t taste glory with arguably the grid’s strongest partnership heads will roll in the director’s room. A strong showing in Melbourne could set them up for a season of impressive results – but they need to reach the finish line first.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 5/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 3/1

 

Lotus F1 Team -  Official Logo

 

 

Romain Grosjean 8, Pastor Maldonado 13

Romain Grosjean 8, Pastor Maldonado 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ④

The second Bahrain test was a nightmare for Lotus. Not only is their engine supplier struggling, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado found themselves as 21st and 22nd (last, in other words) overall quickest. The pair only managed 127 laps in four days.

Lotus need something special to keep them alive and pre-season testing hasn’t suggested that 2014 is going to provide that season. The team won in Melbourne last time around but that was with a much more competitive engine and car.

If a freak wave knocked out every other car and all the Lotus cars needed to do was last the distance, a victory would still be fairly unlikely.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 30/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 15/1

 

 mcLaren logo

 

 

Jenson Button 22, Kevin Magnussen 20

Jenson Button 22, Kevin Magnussen 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ⑤

The second Bahrain test was a little tougher for McLaren than the team may have hoped. Magnussen and Button set the 11th and 15th fastest times respectively and were the two slowest Mercedes-powered cars. It was a strange change of form from the first two tests that suggested McLaren and Mercedes may have the upper hand on the field.

None the less, McLaren will head to Melbourne among the more likely teams to challenge for the podium. It might take a little luck, a little drizzle and a few retirements ahead of them, but the car is capable of securing results. Jenson’s got a strong history in Albert Park and if anybody is going to pull up a surprise at the opening round you could be confident it would be the 2009 World Champion. Kevin… Well… we’ll have to wait and see what he can do.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 10/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 6/1

 

Sahara_Force_India_Logo

 

 

 

Sergio Perez 11, Nico Hulkenberg 27

Sergio Perez 11, Nico Hulkenberg 27

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ⑥

With the engine situation panning out as it has, Force India have the opportunity to have their best season in history in 2014. They’ve got the right engine, two very capable drivers and a car that has shown potential in all three tests. Perez was the sixth fastest driver in Bahrain and Hulkenberg just two places behind; the car’s quick but whether or not it can last a race distance in race conditions is another thing all together. As with McLaren a little luck would help their chances, but something says the podium is just out of reach for the team.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 14/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 10/1

 

Teamlogo_SauberF1Team

 

 

Esteban Gutierrez 22, Adrian Sutil 99

Esteban Gutierrez 22, Adrian Sutil 99

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ⑦

Sauber don’t look good for Melbourne. Blunt as it sounds, the squad simply didn’t look competitive in Bahrain. Adrian ended up 13th overall and Esteban 17th, with daylight between the pair and the quickest time. They’ve got the second-fastest engine – a place they don’t want to be compared to where their regular rivals are – and two drivers that wouldn’t be relied upon to set a superb lap when the time came. Force India have improved and Williams have improved but Sauber have stayed just about where they usually are.

For Melbourne? Points maybe, but podiums or a race victory are very out of the question.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 25/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 15/1

 

Toro Rosso logo

 

 

 

Jean-Eric Vergne 25, Daniil Kvyat 26

Jean-Eric Vergne 25, Daniil Kvyat 26

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ⑧

Toro Rosso’s switch to Renault engines couldn’t have been more poorly timed. In a year where engine power may be the decider at the front, Faenza jumped from a strong engine to a very, very poor one. Jean-Eric recently admitted the squad had deep issues that needed solving if Melbourne was going to offer them any chances at points but expecting those problems to go away before the season opener is very, very optimistic. For Vergne and Kvyat reaching the chequered flag will have been a victory for the team on its own.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 40/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 20/1

 

williams-f1-logo

 

 

 

Felipe Massa 19, Valtteri Bottas 77

Felipe Massa 19, Valtteri Bottas 77

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 position: ⑨

Felipe Massa 19, Valtteri Bottas 77

Williams are one of the squads who genuinely appear to have made a step up in 2014. The car looks quick, they’ve got the right engine and with Martini sponsorship about to soften the inside of the team’s pockets they have a great opportunity to re-establish themselves at the top of the grid. Massa may have struggled in recent years but the fresh air at Grove may have done him a world of good. An impressive result in Melbourne could really help raise the value of Williams, which would in turn result in greater revenue. They’ve tended to fall away after the early part of the season in recent years and will need to turn this around for 2014 if they have any hope of surviving as a team. Bottas is quick, Massa is experienced: with their two heads combined perhaps a Melbourne surprise is on the cards.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 6/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 9/1

 

marussia-logo-2

 

 

 

Jules Bianchi 17, Max Chilton 4

Jules Bianchi 17, Max Chilton 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 result: ⑩

Jules Bianchi 17, Max Chilton 4

Marussia’s Bahrain running would have allowed the team to leave the island nation with a bit more confidence than they have in recent seasons. Though they were only 14th and 16th fastest overall, they were well ahead of their normal rival Caterham and were generally quite close in distance covered over the test. With Bianchi needing to impress if he is going to break into the Ferrari stronghold in the coming years, Melbourne will be the best opportunity for him to come good on his potential. Throw in some rain and/or some unreliability for the cars in front in Melbourne and Marussia could be on track for their best result ever. Whether or not the squad has the strength to maintain a position close to the midfield all year is debatable so a successful first race of 2014 is their best chance of nabbing their first points.

Chilton showed in 2013 that he was able to make it to the end of races and if he can improve himself by a second a lap he might yet give us a reason to think he deserves a spot on the grid.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 40/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 30/1

 

 

caterham-f1-team-logo-design-via-imjustcreative3

 

 

 

Kamui Kobayashi 10, Marcus Ericsson 9

Kamui Kobayashi 10, Marcus Ericsson 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 result: ⑪

Kamui Kobayashi 10, Marcus Ericsson 9

Caterham are in trouble. Big trouble.  They were clearly the slowest team after Lotus and are carrying the weakest engine on the grid. Kobayashi hasn’t had great things to say about the team’s chances in Melbourne and Ericsson has appeared to hide from the media completely.

Tony Fernandes’s comment on Twitter that “Caterham though it doesn’t look like has promise” won’t have done anything to instill confidence in the team’s factory, even if he did say shortly after that the team did have promise (what was that first tweet about, then?). A miracle, that’s what the team needs. Rain, luck, retirements ahead, an alien invasion and Bernie to change the rules to “last to cross the line wins” is what the team needs. Race win? No. A podium? No. Points? No.

TobyHusseyReports odds on a win in Melbourne: 100/1

TobyHusseyReports odds on a podium in Melbourne: 70/1

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s