5 Predictions For The 2019 Formula One Season
I know that the 2018 Formula One season has just ended, but it doesn't mean that I can't make a few predictions for next year, right? Next season is shaping up to be a classic, with new driver line-ups, regulation changes and the sport hitting a landmark 1,000 races - it will be a season to remember. With that in mind, I've come up with five things that I predict will happen in the 2019 Formula One season...
5) MCLAREN'S STRUGGLES WILL GET EVEN WORSE
I'm sorry to all you McLaren fans out there, but there seems to be no end in sight to your team's dismal form. The partnership with Renault has been a huge disappointment so far, and towards the tail end of this season - even Fernando Alonso (the best driver on the grid in terms of pure talent) could barely get out of Q1, never mind score points. Unless something drastic changes, it will be an uphill struggle for Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris next year, and it wouldn't be that much of a shock to see the boys in paprika orange slip further down the order in 2019.
4) THERE WILL BE MIXED FORTUNES FOR THE NEW BOYS
I've already predicted that Lando Norris will be in for a baptism of fire in 2019 - but what about the other new drivers joining the grid? I think Antonio Giovanazzi will have the best season out of the four rookies next year - with Sauber progressing very well with Alfa Romeo's support. George Russell will be a steady match for new team mate Robert Kubica at Williams, but how well he'll do will depend on if the team can give him a decent car. As for Alexander Albon, his move to Toro Rosso has taken many people by surprise - but he will be someone to watch in 2019, if his junior formulae record and Toro Rosso's driver recruitment is anything to go by...
3) RENAULT WILL BREAK INTO THE UPPER END OF THE GRID
Now I might be a little biased here (because I'm a Renault fan!), but I seriously think that with the pairing of Nico Hulkenburg and Daniel Ricciardo - and an-all new V6 engine, Renault can finally start scoring higher points finishes and podiums in 2019. This season, they were best of rest (or Formula 1.5 champions, if you believe in that concept) - and despite a few blips here and there, they were fairly decent in 2018. It's obvious that Renault are playing the long game with their ambitions in the sport - so a few battles with Red Bull and Ferrari wouldn't hurt one bit.
2) RED BULL WILL TAKE THE FIGHT TO MERCEDES & FERRARI
With their rocky relationship with Renault finally over, Red Bull and Honda might just be on the verge of making something special happen. Honda have massively improved in the past couple of years (whether McLaren fans like to admit it or not), and with Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly driving the cars - there's no reason why Red Bull can't take the fight to Mercedes and Ferrari in 2019 and mount a title challenge of their own. If Verstappen can get a hold of his aggression, and Gasly score a podium or two - then there will be a three-way title fight on our hands.
But who will actually be drivers champion? I have an idea of who it might be...
1) CHARLES LECLERC WILL WIN THE DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP IN HIS 1ST SEASON AT FERRARI
This is going to happen. It's not a question of if, it will be a question of when.
Charles Leclerc was an absolute gem to watch this season. Although his Sauber car was one of the worst on the grid, he managed to score to 39 points - with a best finish of 6th at the Azerbaijan GP. If it wasn't for reliability issues, it would've been a lot more. Ferrari have taken a bold move by signing him for 2019, but they must know something that a lot of us don't... I really hope Leclerc is at the front of the pack this year. Ferrari have the resources to do it, and there's no doubt Leclerc is more than good enough to win. Please Charles - for the sake of the fans, bring it home for the Tifosi!