• Matthew Hickey

Hickey: 2020 F1 Preview

Time to breakdown the F1 drivers and constructors for the 2020 Formula 1 Season! I have ranked the constructors by my predicted finishing order for them for this season, and the driver highlighted in blue is my prediction for the driver that will lead the team in points. Hope you enjoy this article! Let me know if you disagree with any of my predictions:

10. Williams

George Russell

Nicholas Latifi

Why have hope? Williams themselves have come out and stated that they have not made any fundamental changes to the car in the offseason. Yes, because last year's car was a beacon of hope. Just a quick reminder - they scored a whopping 1 point last season. George Russell continues to show a lot of promise, but his talent won't matter given the quality of his equipment. Given his success over Robert Kubica, I do think that Russell takes the edge over Nicholas Latifi.

There is one positive element to this review - we will all get the benefit of many more Host Mike pitfalls if Williams continues to struggle and say ridiculous things to the press.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

9. Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen

Romain Grosjean

Here's another team I have no hope for. This one is mainly down to the team's leadership. Team Principle Gunther Steiner continues to make bad decisions, chief amongst which was retaining Romain Grosjean. Grosjean struggled to keep his car clean in 2019 (and frankly most seasons he's participated in). Steiner also made some ridiculous statements, stating that their 2019 car was fine, but the tires made them slow... Right... I bet Williams is stating the same thing. I also bet Mercedes were really slow, but since their car fitted the tires correctly, they won a bunch of races. Or something.

I'll take the over-aggressive Kevin Magnussen as the team leader in points on the season.

Also, no Rich Energy in 2020. Sad trombone...

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

8. Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda

Daniil Kvyat

Pierre Gasly

I have absolutely no faith in the first two teams I listed. The rest of this list gets a little tough. First off, I absolutely love the new livery of the car. I feel like this is a fresh start for the former Toro Rosso outfit.

One thing I don't like is the driver's lineup. Demoting Pierre Gasly from Red Bull back to the sister team all but guarantees that his future has likely peaked at this organization. Why would Red Bull promote him again? Same with Kvyat, who is also a former Red Bull driver who got demoted and then eventually dropped only to be picked back up again. Neither of these drivers have a future at Red Bull, so I feel like they are placeholders while future Red Bull prospects make their way up the ladder. I would have preferred for the team to try a new direction.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

7. McLaren F1 Team

Carlos Sainz Jr.

Lando Norris

This might be a hot take (not HawT), but I see some natural regression from the British outfit this season. The last couple of seasons have not been kind to McLaren, but last year they finished 'Best of the Rest' outside of the Big Three. Sure, they showed some good pace, but I think some missteps by rivals Renault and Racing Point also led to their finishing position.

Lando Norris is a future star and has a great working dynamic with Carlos Sainz Jr., but I do still lack some faith in the McLaren operation given how bad they've been over the the previous decade. Sure, they are now two years removed from Honda, but a general sense of uneasiness should be warranted with this group.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

6. Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen

Antonio Giovinazzi

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo should just be a middle of the road team really. Not much to say. They had a pretty forgettable 2019 season, much like their forgettable 2020 livery.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

5. BWT Racing Point F1 Team

Lance Stroll

Sergio Perez

I don't really like this team. One driver is there because his sponsors tell him that he is there, and if they don't want him to race there next season, then he won't be there (Perez). The other driver is the the team owner's son (Stroll). So, neither of the drivers do much for me off the track. Stroll doesn't do much for me on the track either. I don't mind Perez, he's always had some good qualities about him. The idea of Lawrence Stroll getting together to buy a team so his son can be competitive has not and will never sit well with me.

However, I always get the sense that this team is about to turn the corner and contend for the 4th spot in the championship. The new consortium of investors should help the team grow, and so far they've performed well in the preseason. If they can keep the on-track mistakes to a minimum, I do believe they can have a strong 2020.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

4. Renault F1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo

Esteban Ocon

I really love the driver lineup this season. Nico Hulkenberg was a fine driver, but getting the chance to sign Esteban Ocon is a no-brainer for me. Couple that with Daniel Ricciardo, who I think is the most underrated driver on the grid, and I think you have the makings of great things for this team in 2020.

I do have questions about the Renault operation. They should have everything they need to succeed in F1 but it has seemed painful for them over the last couple of seasons. I am continuing to put my faith in them, because they do have plenty of resources and the addition of Ocon should help the team get a fresh perspective on things.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

3. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Alexabder Albon

Max Verstappen

Team Max Verstappen should have another solid reason in 2020. I do honestly feel like they can be a real threat to take P2 from Ferrari. It all comes down to the number two drivers in my opinion. Can Alexander Albon keep pace with and/or beat Sebastian Vettel in the points. I personally don't think so, but it will be a storyline to follow for the season. Also, can Honda continue their meteoric rise from the ashes into a legitimate consistent threat to Mercedes power?

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

2. Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow

Charles Leclerc

Sebastian Vettel

I think Ferrari have the ability to finish P2 in the constructors championship. The key to finishing P2 is to try and master the ability of staying out of your own way. I think they were absolutely foolish to be playing the "Driver 1 vs Driver 2 team order" game at race one last season. Charles Leclerc was very fast everywhere and was a few "rookie"-ish errors away from finishing with more points than Vettel. I don't agree with not allowing their drivers to race each other, nor do I understand the blind faith they put in Vettel when he makes many of his own rookie mistakes.... Even though he's raced since 2007... And is a four-time champion... Yeah, I'm still sticking with "rookie" mistakes.

There is hope though, as Ferrari has vowed, at least for the start of the season, to let their drivers race. Letting one of their drivers distinguish themselves, like Leclerc would have done if he wasn't blatantly minimized by Ferrari over Vettel, will ultimately help the team as a whole in my opinion. I think Leclerc will only get stronger in his second season with Ferrari, and that gives me hope for 2020.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

1. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Lewis Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas

I really don't think the other teams should bother trying to challenge Mercedes this year. They looked so good in pre-season testing and already have a leg-up on the other teams in the field that this one is over before it even started. Merc debuted a dual-axis system in their car that's activated/deactivated by the driver pulling forward/pushing back their steering wheel.

For complicated technical reasons, this makes the car go faster... or something. No other team could have anticipated that this type of system could be implemented in a car. It has been banned for the 2021 season, but nothing was declared for 2020. The sheer fact the team that has won every constructor title since 2014 chose not to disregard their championship winning car and instead got to work to make it even better shows just how strong and smart Mercedes is.

As far as which driver will be better in the championship, I'm sure Valtteri Bottas will be instructed to stay out of Lewis Hamilton's way. Hamilton will continue to cement is statistical dominance on the F1 all-time stat charts.

Photographer not listed, photo retrieved from MotorSportWeek

Opinions in this article reflect solely on the author.

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