The Formula 1 season starts in less than two weeks and it looks as though it will be the most unpredictable season ever. There are just a couple more testing sessions to go before the cars are packed up and flown over to Melbourne. Usually by this time after analysing the testing so far, I have a good knowledge of who will be the quickest at Albert Park, yet I can honestly say I don’t know which car will be on top. Testing has thrown up a lot of wildcards this year. Red Bull, Williams, Renault, Toyota, Ferrari, BMW and Brawn have all spent time at the top of the charts while McLaren seems to be really struggling.
At the last couple of tests in Barcelona Brawn have been almost a second ahead of the other teams, which despite the protests of Ross Brawn makes me believe that they are running the car under weight. They may have a car that will be quick when they reach Melbourne, but it won’t be that quick. I suspect that they will score a lot of points and maybe one or two podiums, but I doubt that they will do much more than that. Too many people are getting carried away with their testing and should not forget that there have been several times that the team that won the Testing World Championship has finished nowhere once the real racing starts. (Remember Ligier back in 1997?)
I have a feeling that the 2009 season will be a three horse race between Ferrari, BMW Sauber and Toyota. I feel that Ferrari will prevail with Felipe Massa becoming the World Driver’s Champion, but feel that BMW will give them a real scare. I also see Toyota emerging as the third force in F1 with Trulli and Glock winning a couple of races for the Japanese squad.
The battle for fourth in the constructors will be between Red Bull, Renault, McLaren and Brawn (if they can keep the momentum from testing). I suspect McLaren’s 2009 season will end better than it starts, as they look to be a long way behind everyone else. Fortunately for McLaren they have enough resources and money to catch up to everyone.
This season will be interesting and we could possibly see more winning teams and drivers than any other so far. I think that after next week’s testing I will write up my official 2009 predictions.