If you are a Formula 1 Grand Prix fanatic, you must be befuddled about what the new season holds for your team. The array of drivers on the grid reveals that four drivers are past winners of the championship title, meaning any of them can lay a claim to the title.
Well, the cars are now ready, and with about a month to Australia GP, the preseason leg has started earnestly with the first round at Jerez already done and dusted. This might not be the most reliable yardstick to gauge driver and teams, but at least it helps highlight who might grace the royal box at the greatest circuits in Monaco.
Here is a casual glance at first impressions from Jerez testing grounds:
Sauber, surprise package: After a terrible 2014 season with no points, a new car and a driver line-up seems to be working the trick. The Mercedes C34 engine enabled Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson to grab headlines with top times and this shows the team might win points this season.
Mercedes, the play-it-safe package: Mercedes might have completed a record 504 laps in terms of time, but it was all conservatism the rest of the way. Well, the W06 is nothing of a new machine because even the two drivers reckon it is familiar to last season’s car. Reliability was the focus of the team, but could lack of speed testing prove a costly mistake?
Ferrari, the best package: With two quickest testing times and fourth in terms of laps completed, the Italians have something to smile about after a miserable 2014 season. Vettel and Raikkonen are both optimistic the SF15-T machine can perform, and the mood at the Scudeira’s corner is upbeat for now. Could this be a revival?
McLaren, the learning package: Was Alonso right in moving to McLaren? That’s the question every pundit must be asking. The Honda powered car managed only 79 laps with myriad problems in the power unit. Could the much hyped McLaren-Honda partnership be stillborn? More testing will tell.
Lotus, the good-start package: Maldonado and Romain Grosjean have an unenviable task ahead. However, if the 190 laps they managed at Jerez are anything to go by then the two drivers have what it takes to go all the way. The Mercedes engine seems to have given them leverage and impetus to push further.
There are other teams on the grid, including Red Bull with a new Renault engine, which encountered ERS and battery issues, Toro Rosso who impressed in terms of laps and Williams who impressed with reliability in the FW37.
There is still Barcelona 1 and 2 and later in-season tire tests at Austria and Abu Dhabi to really tell who has the guts to win at the thrilling Monaco Grand Prix 2015.
Here are some more predictions for 2015.