2020 F1 Preview: The Contenders

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The silly season and the off-season have come and gone, another season of the Netflix Drive To Survive documentary has dropped and it appears the coronavirus won’t prevent the Italian teams from making it through customs at Tullamarine Airport.

That means it’s lights out for the 2020 Formula 1 season, with the Australian Grand Prix kicking things off again this week in Melbourne.

The usual suspects – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – lead the way again, with hopefuls like McLaren and Renault seemingly a step off the pace already.

The Toro Rosso team has been rebranded as Alpha Tauri, not to be confused with Alfa Romeo.

The top six drivers favoured to win the Australian Grand Prix are all from the top three teams. World champion Lewis Hamilton is the favourite at $2.10, with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen of Red Bull both $5.00.

Ferarri’s Charles LeClerc ($7.00) and Sebastian Vettel ($9.00) are fourth and fifth favourites, while Red Bull’s second driver, Alex Albon is a long way back at $51.00.

Aussie Daniel Ricciardo of Renault is a $61.00 shot to win his home country Grand Prix.

Mercedes

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (England), Valtteri Bottas (Finland)

Clearly the favourites again as Hamilton goes for a record-tying seventh World Championship and the team aims for a seventh consecutive Constructors title. The champions aren’t resting on their laurels, however, pushing the technology envelope with the new DAS (Dual Axis Steering) system that would take two pages to explain, but is essentially meant to help the tyres on long straights. Very hard to see much going wrong for them at this point so it’s their Constructors Championship to lose.

2019 Constructors finish: 1st

Odds of winning 2020 Constructors Championship: $1.28

Ferrari

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Charles Leclerc (Monaco)

Ferrari come into the season under a cloud of uncertainty and controversy. The FIA gave the team a stern warning over some potentially illegal engine tweaks, and the rest of the F1 constructors were furious there was no real penalty handed out. There’s also the coronavirus which at one point threatened to keep the Italian based team from travelling to Melbourne. Ferrari do have two very good drivers – Vettel is a four-time world champ, while Leclerc is talented yet ultimately unproven – so the big question is will the ‘let them race’ edict be good or bad for team morale?

2019 Constructors finish: 2nd

Odds of winning 2020 Constructors Championship: $5.50

Red Bull Racing

Drivers: Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Alex Albon (Thailand)

This is the second year of their engine deal with Honda and hopes are high for the new RB 16, which features a unique front end suspension. Verstappen is potentially a future world champion, while Albon was promoted in the middle of last season to replace the underperforming Pierre Gasly. Red Bull won three races last season and there’s no reason to think they can’t duplicate that – and even improve on it – this season.

2019 Constructors finish: 3rd

Odds of winning 2020 Constructors Championship: $5.50

Markets

Australian Grand Prix markets here.

 

What do you think?