March 14, 2016 @ 07:39 PM

Discussion: What to expect in Melbourne?

Will it be endurance or will it be the help of soft tyres? Who will come out on top in the Australian GP?

The start of the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix is only three days away, the teams are already assembled in Albert Park and the drivers already getting accustomed to the time zone in the land down under and the anticipation is palpable.

We know that in the pre-season testing in Barcelona a few weeks ago the Mercedes-AMG team showed endurance like no other by racking up more laps than anybody else on the grid while the Scarlet Ferraris lapped themselves the fastest lap times on the softer tyres and the Toro Rosso boys showed massive improvements having wedged themselves firmly in the top ten.

Force India is reporting favourable views what with the three drivers completing a total of 2000km in pre-season testing, the team also did test runs on different conditions on the car and the car showed the improvements that the team had hoped for. The same on the other hand could not be said for the Williams team, while the team remained optimistic to bring the fight to the Ferraris, testing had been focused on the endurance factor rather than speed.

Red Bull Racing’s gripe with engine manufacturers Renault looks to be continuing into 2016, while there were positive notes coming from both engineers and drivers alike both Force India and Williams, who were the closest competitors in 2015, are miles ahead of them which does not look very favourable for them.

This is Renault’s return as a proper works team since the manufactures dropped out following the Lotus takeover, and a few scandals thrown in the mix. But as much as the engine makers would like to stay adamant that their engines were working just fine, the times that almost-rookie-driver Kevin Magnussen and rookie-driver Jolyon Palmer racked up said otherwise.

What about McLaren-Honda? Well, both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are not that far from the top ten times but it was clear the team is still nowhere close to their former world-champion winning self and their rivals seem set to be the likes of Sauber, Manor Racing and Haas. We just hope that the team will bring on their game face come Saturday Qualifying.

Like all rookie teams in Formula 1, except for Brawn GP of course, Manor Racing is holding up the last place spots though reports are saying that the team are set to the battle at the tail-end of the midfield race. As for Haas, the team had kicked off the first day of testing flying high but was later plagued with numerous problems on the second day that the team did not recover from after that.

Sauber is the enigma here, the team had chosen to run their tests on a modified chassis from last year on the first week before pulling the blankets off the brand new 2016 car, the C35, on the second week. But both drivers racked in a healthy 838 laps, more than most of their rivals. While it may look unfavourable to the team at the moment, we’re sure there is a strategy somewhere that will see them bouncing back into the midfield batters.

So to recap, everything is looking up for all the teams during the pre-season testing so all that really remains is how much the teams has improved to determine which part of the field they belong in. What are your thoughts on the teams? Do you really want to see another Mercedes domination or do you want to see more winners in the season?

Jerrica Leong

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