The 2020 Season Could Be the Most Interesting Season Yet
2020 will be an odd season due to Coronavirus effecting the season completely but it isn't the only reason the season will be interesting
The 2020 Formula 1 World Championship, is now days away from beginning. But this season could easily be one of the most interesting to unfold, as we watch F1 adjust to being behind-closed-doors and COVID-19 affecting the sport. But also, a shorter season is about to play out making everything so important.
Currently, the F1 calendar stands at only eight races long. However, within this week it is expected to be extended and may reach around fifteen races for this season, seven less than originally planned. But this still leads to a shorter season and will require a lot of work from the drivers, meaning there is potential for one of the most interesting season yet to unfold.
Let's look through the key factors:
Reliability and DNFs
Kubica (Williams Racing) with a reliability issue at the 2019 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix
As known reliability is important and DNFs will be aimed to be avoided by all teams. It is well-known points equal prizes so for teams, they will be aiming to avoid any kind of issue and will be hoping drivers do not come to blows with each other.
But sometimes, that cannot be avoided, and of course, it can often make for great entertainment, because as fans that is the purpose we are watching it for. Although it is not the same for the teams, they are there to perform their best and try and score points to get a large sum of prize money at the end of the season.
All the teams cannot afford either to affect them. For example, Mercedes have often struggled at the Red Bull Ring in Austria due to the heat. But, they simply cannot risk making any mistakes in tyres and they will be in hope that the W11 suits the track and the weather more. As the team will be hoping to chase down several records which I'll move on too later. A decreased number of points available to Mercedes and all teams will mean they have to be at the top of their game at each circuit. The Silver Arrows will know exactly what they need to do this weekend, even if they still stand out as the favourites despite their past struggles.
This applies to all races and all the teams on the grid. They will need to be at the top of their game. Not that the teams do not strive for perfection and being at their best each weekend. But a shorter season, in quick succession, means that they have to be at this point all the time, in peek performance constantly.
On DNF and reliability, there's much more detail which has to be touched on. Which you can read about here.
Hamilton Chasing the Records
This season could become record-breaking and there is only one man who can do that. It is Lewis Hamilton. As everyone is aware, Hamilton is on the verge of breaking Micheal Schumacher's records. A set which seemed unbreakable back in 2006 when he retired from F1 for the first time.
Hamilton is one world championship behind Schumacher and is seven wins from Schumacher's record of ninety-one. With the increase in the calendar likely going to happen it, it gives more chance for Hamilton to succeed in taking the record for the most wins in F1 history, he has already taken the pole record.
But with a decreased number of races, does this mean Hamilton's seventh world title would mean less? No. It really does not because the races are planned in such quick succession and the drivers have had seven months without real racing, four since they even got into an F1 car. It means each week the drivers have to be at their best because the season is coming thick and fast.
It almost suggests that this will be one of the hardest titles Hamilton will have had to fight for because of the shortness of the season. He will not be able to afford an off weekend, but that is pretty rare of Hamilton nowadays. He will have to fight hard, although he is not one who is chasing down the stats of F1, but he is someone who wants to win and perform his best.
These records being up for grabs to be broken make the idea of Hamilton and how he performs this season, interesting. It will be something, most fans will be amazed to see, especially if you watched Schumacher do it all.
This is an element of the season that has always been there and it can bring pressure to Hamilton for sure. But that is really when he performs at his best. So be prepared to watch Schumacher slip to second as statically the best driver in Formula 1.
Red Bull's Best Chance Since 2013
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) winning in Austria 2019
Pre-season winter testing at the Circuit De Catalunya-Barcelona showcased that Red Bull and Honda have pace in the care. Now, they did not have the same level of pace as the Mercedes car. But there seemed possible issues at Mercedes with their engine.
It seemed that Red Bull may have one of their best chance since 2013 to win a Formula 1 World title. This would allow Red Bull to achieve what they have been after, making Max Verstappen a World Champion and likely just the youngest F1 World Champions. Beating the record set by Sebastian Vettel in 2010 with Red Bull also.
This is something Red Bull have almost being dying to achieve with Verstappen since they put him in that Red Bull back in 2016. It is by far their best chance because a shorter season leads to fewer points available. Plus they may have an advantage with some of the tracks which will be raced at, as they will suit the build of the Red Bull.
With this chance that Verstappen and Red Bull have it really suggests an interesting and tight battle which may occur with Hamilton. This will be the chance to prove what people say that "Verstappen is better than Hamilton"
Although this is all dependent on whether testing does line-up with on-track performance, which sometimes it does not. But if it does, Red Bull will be aiming to produce one of their best seasons ever to beat Mercedes. They will probably aim to do everything possible to give them a gap over Mercedes and Hamilton.
It all depends on how Free Practice One unfolds, there will be more of an idea of what is going on with these cars. But it really is such a big chance for Red Bull and they are a team who will grab the opportunity.
Dark Horses: The Chance to Ruin The Order
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
Hamilton and Verstappen may think it is them in this battle. But as usual, there are driver's pegged as dark horses up and down the field. This is a focus on the championship, as I'll talk about the midfield later. But the top three teams have six drivers, so the other four drivers can always be labelled each as a 'dark horse'.
Charles Leclerc, maybe he does not really fall into this. As if his Ferrari is good enough, which testing, the only thing we have to go off suggested no, but if it is a good car he will be in the fight. It is well-known he will be in this fight. Himself and Verstappen will be the ones to watch unfold, as it could work in Hamilton's favour if they are battelling.
But there are three others at these teams. The biggest dark horse of the season? Sebastian Vettel. It almost does not seem right calling a four-time world champion and a dark horse for a championship. But he seemingly is now, due to his teammate. With this being his last year at Ferrari, and possibly his last year in F1. Would you not just love to see one last time Vettel take a championship? Or for one last time the ultimate showdown between Vettel and Hamilton?
Vettel no longer seems to be at the peak of his driving, he no longer seems to be that same driver who fought for the four world championships between 2010 to 2013. But he still has a whole load of talent and maybe it'll flare up at his last chance of being a title winner.
Valtteri Bottas is easily labelled as a dark horse because he's in a Mercedes. What stands in his way is Lewis Hamilton as his teammate. Mercedes will not risk a scenario like 2016, it is pretty well known. But there is still a chance of Bottas proving he is worthy of a World Championship.
As a racing driver in F1, the dream in a World title and when you are in a car, where you can do it, it might not stop you. So Bottas will of course race at the top of his game to prove that he should be a World Champion. But it truly depends on Mercedes' actions as to whether he can be in the fight for the title.
There is also Alex Albon. He has to be acknowledged, he will start his first full season with Red Bull. But there is a clear chance he will play second fiddle to Max Verstappen. As Red Bull has placed all their eggs in one basket with him, the focus is forever on Verstappen at that team.
But does this mean he cannot produce wins, for example? No, as factors can affect any race, meaning he will have to be there for Red Bull. As well, if Red Bull do pan out to be leading the championship they'll need Albon more than ever as a second to beat Mercedes.
Dark Horses are forever featured in an F1 season. But the season has already been so affected, it seems anything can happen. These are the drivers you have to keep an eye one to see if they can change things and add to the ever-growing list of interest in this season.
Racing Point seemed the fastest in testing
The Intense Midfield Battle
Every season, the midfield battle is intense and of interest to most of the Formula 1 Audience. It often becomes something everyone wants to see the most of during an F1 weekend. This season suggests we are in for another tight and interesting battle in the midfield
Racing Point are standing out as the team to beat in the midfield. They came to testing with this brand new car, dubbed the 'pink Mercedes'. They looked quick. The RP20 is the first car which Lawerence Stroll and his consortium's money has been used to create. This year the team will be hoping to restore themselves back into fourth place, which they had reached for several years.
Even though Racing Point seemed quick and looked great. pretty quietly Renault were getting on with things. Overall, their race pace was some of the best on the grid. Which suggests well for them as they struggled in 2019 with reliability and they just did not seem there as a team.
If they have built on this, it could be a positive year for Renault. They seem slightly like the dark horses of the midfield because a lot of people's attention is on McLaren and Racing Point as they both look together and fast. But if you look into the data of Renault, it is a positive sign for the team and their driving pairing [Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo] can easily produce good results and will be a pair to watch all season.
McLaren were a stand out last year, as they rose back up the grid to take fourth after dropping down the Championship table. Now they come into this season, as one of those heavily involved in the fight for 'best of the rest'. They have two very good drivers in Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, who have proved they can score a good sum of points.
With McLaren, Racing Point and Renault, there is an interesting battle formed, as they all want to reclaim fourth place and try and prove they are the team nearest to the top three. As all are aiming to prove they can fight with the top three. It will make for an interesting watch, to see if they are aiming to beat each team or if they are trying to get into the top three.
The midfield is forever an interesting watch, there are seven teams fighting for maybe five points positions and money in the championship table which they are needing to fund the team.
Despite the battle for the championship being as interesting as it will be in years, it seems the midfield will be aiming to firm their place in the table and prove something, especially if seats are available, they'll be wanting to make their teams seem the perfect place to be for 2022.
Overall, this season will be odd, with the impact which coronavirus has had on it. But it seems to be leading to an ever-interesting battle in every part of the sport.
What are you most looking forward to this season? And who do you think will take the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship title? Comment down below!