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The F1 ‘Silly Season’ That is 2020



The 2020 F1 season has been very much non-existent so far this year, with the closest we got to going round in circles being a couple of hours away from FP1 in Australia, along with some very odd online racing headed by the youngs lads of the sport from their bedrooms on games such as F1 2019, Euro Truck Simulator… and whatever the game was they were playing when they were racing lawnmowers. It’s not the same, but it’s been something and it has been enjoyable seeing the drivers laughing and joking online showing their personalities.


Things change soon though, as we head back to the track in the first week of July at the Red Bull Ring, host to the Austrian Grand Prix, the new 2020 season opener. As you all know, we will be racing there two weeks in a row and it is now clear that there will be no difference in the running of the two races, with it understood that Mercedes AMG-F1 were the only team of the ten to reject the possibility of a ‘revere grid’, which would have seen traditional qualifying replaced with a sprint race to determine Sunday’s grid. It would’ve been kind of cool to see this as we haven't had a change in Qualifying for many years and the last attempt was that god-awful elimination qualifying in Australia a few years back. Couldn’t be worse than that, right?

Nonetheless, we will be going racing in 2020 and this therefore calls for some random predictions, just because the Austrian GP is still a month away and I’m bored out of my mind. 


So…


Lando Norris- Did a great job in his rookie season and heads into 2020 in good stead. With his McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz destined for the Scuderia at the end of the season, I think McLaren may give Lando a bit more of a shot this year in terms of team decisions. Lando has led the online gaming tribe this year and last and I think we could well see him do just that at McLaren this year. Although Carlos Sainz is a fantastic driver and has the experience over Lando, I think McLaren should give him the resources to not just be a number 2 driver this year. He showed in 2019 that he’s got great pace (proven in beating Carlos 11-10 in terms of qualifying results) and although McLaren never necessarily put Lando at a disadvantage to Carlos, you just feel they could do more than making him sometimes feel like a number 2 driver. Give him some power so he’s ready to have a go at Ricciardo when he arrives at Woking for 2021.


Red Bull- I really do think Red Bull could put up a great fight to Mercedes this season. Red Bull has always been a team that appears to thrive off uncertainty and chaos, which is exactly what this season promises, which is something that a team like Mercedes haven’t been so notorious in doing. Mercedes is a team that has thrived for many years off fantastic planning and equally fantastic execution, but when things are a bit up in the air it always feels like Red Bull are the team that are there (more so than Ferrari) to be right there eating the crumbs, just waiting for their big return. This season, I think they will be eyeing more than just the crumbs, they’ll be looking at the whole pie. With Max Verstappen and a more settled Alex Albon as teammates, it’s highly possible they could take advantage of Ferrari’s inevitable mistakes, and even that of Mercedes. The Bulls did well in testing, and as they start the season at their home race, they’ll be looking to deliver, two weeks on the trot. Keep your eyes on what’s in your mirrors, Silver Arrows. 


Williams- absolute nightmare for them as they announce that the team is now up for sale amid the withdrawal of their main sponsor, ROKiT, thought to be worth around £30m in funding. Claire Williams, however, has said in an interview with Sky Sports that the team has a fully funded budget to compete in the 2020 season, and although it’s a shame the team is up for sale, people should not be viewing it as a bad thing. When it was suggested by Simon Lazenby of Sky Sports F1, that they could adopt a different style of team by pairing more closely with the different manufacturers in F1 (such as Haas with Ferrari, who are looked upon as a sister team to the Italian outfit), Claire Williams didn’t sound too opposing of the idea. An inevitable big change of tone knowing it could be a way of retaining ownership of the team her Father, Frank Williams, created all those years ago. You may recall Claire stating “over my dead body” when putting a stop to ‘sister team’ rumours in the Netflix documentary ‘Drive to Survive’ from the 2018 season. How things change.


To round off, here’s how I think round 1 in Austria will finish. 


P1- Max Verstappen

P2- Lewis Hamilton

P3- Sebastian Vettel

P4- Charles Leclerc

P5- Alex Albon

P6- Valtteri Bottas

P7- Lance Stroll

P8- Lando Norris

P9- Sergio Perez

P10- Carlos Sainz

P11- Pierre Gasly

P12- Esteban Ocon

P13- Daniel Ricciardo

P14- George Russell

P15- Daniil Kvyat

P16- Kimi Raikkonen

P17- Nicholas Latifi

P18- Antonio Giovinazzi

P19- Kevin Magnussen

DNF- Romain Grosjean


I wouldn't place any bets on this, but if you do, let me know how much you’ve lost.


Cheers, MW.


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