The countdown to the 2016 Formula One Season has started in earnest after the Barcelona winter testing. With a mouth-watering challenge between Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton shaping up, you can bet the first race of the season at Melbourne will be great to watch. In fact, things have been spiced up by Ferrari’s impressive form which was evident on the last day of testing where Vettel posted the fastest time.
But before the action starts at the Australian GP, why not look at the drivers’ lineup. After all, nothing is as exciting as watching the races with all the facts at your fingertips. Take a look at the confirmed lineup:
· Mercedes: The new W06 will be driven by the same lineup of drivers led by championship holder Lewis Hamilton and German Nico Rosberg. Both drivers are expected to fight tooth and nail to win the title and exciting and aggressive racing is expected again this year.
· Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo, the impressive Australian driver, is going to team up with Russian-born Daniel Kvyat. The team expects to fare better than in 2014 with Ricciardo, already having joined the F1’s elite drivers’ club.
· Ferrari: The Scuderia team is leaving nothing to chance and with Kimi Raikkonen teaming up with Sebastian Vettel, the team can boast one of the most experienced driver line-up on the grid. If the showing at the Barcelona pre-season testing is anything to go by, you can bet that Ferrari will feature at the podium more regularly and might just surprise Mercedes at the end of the season.
· Williams-Mercedes: For another year running, Valtteri Bottas will team up with the experienced Felipe Massa as Williams tries to rekindle the vigor it had shown in the first races of the 2015 season.
· McLaren-Honda: This is another team powered by a strong driver lineup in the person of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Unfortunately, the Honda Power unit which was the Achilles heel of the team in the 2015 season still seems to suffer from reliability issues as was evident in the pre-season testing.
· Toro Rosso-Ferrari: To say that Toro Rosso has the most exciting drivers to watch would be an understatement. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz have repaid the faith Ferrari honchos showed by picking rookies to compete on the big stage. Clearly, Sainz and Verstappen will be moving to a more competitive seat in the course of their blossoming careers.
· Renault: It might not be the team of old, but Renault wants to make a mark and they have picked the modest experience of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer to test the waters in their return with the new Renault Sport RS16.
· Haas-Ferrari: Romain Grosjean surprised everyone by leaving Lotus but during pre-season testing, it was obvious that Haas might be a better place to try luck for points. The Frenchman will partner with Esteban Gutierrez.
· Manor-Mercedes: Pascal Wehrlein will team up with Rio Haryanto to help Manor gain traction in F1 this season.
· Sauber-Ferrari: Marcus Ericsson will once again partner with Felipe Nasr in the 2016 F1 season.
Well, nothing much has changed except the departure of crash-prone Pastor Maldonado in the drivers’ line up. It is now time to get a ticket for your favorite race and enjoy the F1 drama as it unfolds.