Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

The complete F1 Fanatic 2015 season preview

2015 F1 season preview

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With the first practice session of 2015 just hours away, here’s your essential guide to the season ahead.

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The 2015 teams, drivers and cars

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015It will be hard for Mercedes to improve upon last year, when they took 18 pole positions and 16 wins from 19 races. But with better reliability from their W06 it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Stung by their first championship defeat since 2009, Red Bull has turned up the heat on Renault to close the gap to Mercedes, and played a stealthy hand in pre-season testing. Not to be underestimated.

Williams

Felipe Massa, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Williams’ form has fluctuated wildly in recent seasons. But having enjoyed a winter of stability and with the benefit of F1’s best power unit they have a chance to build on last year’s strong showing.

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuito de Jerez, 2015Fernando Alonso spent five years in the pressure cooker environment of Ferrari, but 2014 was one disappointment too many. Sebastian Vettel has stepped into the breach and believes the team has made real gains over the winter.

McLaren

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015McLaren believe their new Honda package has great potential, and their rivals are wary of the threat they may pose later in the season. But they’ve got a lot of ground to make up and Alonso’s enforced absence from the first race is a setback they didn’t need.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015The VJM08 appeared late – on the second day of the final test – but has run reliably. With a consistent and proven driver line-up, Force India can be expected to resume their usual pace in the thick of the midfield action.

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Two rookie drivers and a target of fifth place in the championship sounds like a recipe for disappointment. But Max Verstappen is widely touted as the next big thing.

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015The team expect to make a leap forward after switching to Mercedes power. But that’s unlikely to mean a return to their race-winning form of 202 and 2013.

Sauber

Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Legal action from Giedo van der Garde may force the team to eject one of its other two contracted drivers for the season-opener, a development which has thrown fresh light on the dire financial situation some F1 teams are in.

Manor Marussia

Manor F1 carThere is an immense amount of goodwill for the team which used to be Marussia. But the late arrivals to the championship missed testing, making the challenge of getting two dated cars on the grid with a pair of inexperienced drivers even more daunting.

Circuits

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico, 2015

November’s Mexican Grand Prix will mark Formula One’s return to the country following a 23-year absence. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez nestles in the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City, home to over 21 million people.

The track is being completely revised from the version which was used when Nigel Mansell won the 1992 race. The loss of the mighty, 180-degree Peraltada is what we’ve come to expect from modern track design, but the limited scope for adjustment in a parkland circuit tightly bordered by public roads made it inevitable.

The altered circuit will hopefully retain some of the character of the original which often produced dramatic races. Regardless, expect a big crowd to turn out in support of Sergio Perez, who is set to become the first Mexican driver to start his home race in 45 years.

The rest of the calendar is unchanged from last year, with the exception of the German Grand Prix. It is remarkable that a classic race such as this one should find itself in this position at all, and that the schedule should be in doubt at such a late stage. The race was due to rotate from the Hockenheimring to the Nurburgring as usual, but the latter’s financial troubles have thrown that into jeopardy.

Drivers’ championship

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015As far as driving talent at the sharp end of the grid is concerned, F1 has seldom been in better shape. Five world champions sharing a total of ten titles occupy this year’s grid.

But the interesting development last year was that the second, third and fourth positions in the championship were all taken by drivers who are yet to win titles – indicating the high standard of ability among F1’s new generation.

Lewis Hamilton heads into the new season as favourite to claim what would be his third world championship crown. Here’s where all the current drivers finished in previous seasons:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2015drivercolours.csv

200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Felipe Massa1312133421166787
Fernando Alonso23641135924226
Jenson Button817793961518152598
Kimi Raikkonen10627251363512
Lewis Hamilton21545441
Nico Hulkenberg1411109
Nico Rosberg17913777962
Sebastian Vettel148211115
Pastor Maldonado19151816
Sergio Perez16101110
Romain Grosjean238714
Daniel Ricciardo2718143
Valtteri Bottas174
Daniil Kvyat15
Kevin Magnussen11
Marcus Ericsson19
Will Stevens23

More from the 2015 F1 season preview

2015 F1 drivers helmets in pictures – Drivers are no longer allowed to use special helmet designs when they choose

The new F1 rules for 2015 at a glance – New rules are in place for 2015 and a new penalty has been devised as well

Fans worldwide reveal the cost of watching F1 in 2015 – How much are you paying to watch F1?

Lap times to fall in 2015 as F1 eyes 1,000bhp engines – Be prepared for faster F1 in 2015

Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2015? – Give your verdict on the contests within each team

The 2015 F1 season in 20 questions – Share your expectations for the year ahead

Win the ultimate F1 2015 gaming experience in the 2015 Predictions Championship – To celebrate F1 Fanatic’s tenth anniversary we have our biggest and best range of prizes ever for the Predictions Championship, including a £1,600 gaming system to play the latest official Formula One game. Enter here now:

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 27 comments on “The complete F1 Fanatic 2015 season preview”

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      12th March 2015, 14:41

      Pant-wettingly excited!

      1. That’s possibly too much information for the best of us.

        1. “best” = “rest”

        2. The Blade Runner (@)
          12th March 2015, 15:37

          Still true though! ;)

      2. I’ve been thoroughly soiled for days

    2. Maybe I’m the only one, but I really like this “new” Mexican circuit!

      Ok, maybe it isn’t as good as it was but it’s better than these entirely new races like Russia etc.

      1. @key75 It’s rather unfair to compare the two. One built when safety was something to laugh about and one when every little cm of asphalt has to be checked for safety hazards…

        I like Sochi (the games I’ve driven it on produced good races) but there is no doubt I like Mexico more.

      2. Well of course it’s better than Sochi – my local Asda car park is a better circuit than Sochi!

        It looks like a decent enough track with some good overtaking spots but you can only tell so much from a plan. If nothing else, at least it will contain packed grandstands rather than the empty ones we see in in some countries.

      3. Well, I agree with you two!

        What I wanted to say and maybe failed, was that Mexico’s circuit seems to be better in terms of entertainment, overtakings unlike other new tracks…
        Specially because of that new chicane in the Basebol Stadium, right in the middle of the grandstands!

    3. Thanks to misfortune and other bad luck RB distinguished itself quite quickly as P2 in the constructors where it actually could have been Williams. Looking forward to this battle for P2 that, I think, will now firmly also include Ferrari. Either way I think it will be Ferrari or Red Bull that will have to content with P4.

      Other things to look forward to include Mexico, several inner-team battles, and who can be that lucky guy to be in P3 when the Mercedes cars tumble over themselves. As far as the drivers title, I’m pretty much having the same opinion as last year, Nico will be able to keep up because he’ll be P2 all the time but isn’t really a contender if you take a more careful look.

    4. Where’s the press conference from thursday, didn’t Keith usually copy those here? It was 13 hours ago, afaik.

      1. @lari you could also go to the F1 site itself and read it…

        1. @xtwl Yes, but that’s not the point.

    5. An AUTOSPORT-shamingly excellent job as ever Keith!

      On a completely different note, Carmen Jorda has launched a new website, and what a victory for female egalitarianism it is. You may feel inclined to note the contrast in tone when compared with Palmer’s

      1. Well Carmen is not bad… not bad at all. Oh wait thought that it is some modelling website.

    6. I can’t wait to see this unfold. I do expect we will see at least one win from the Williams this year, but time will tell.

    7. Alonso is reportedly thinking of going to that Manor, they are tipped to beat McLaren anyway!
      (just a made-up story of course!)

      1. Yep

        proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPQkYxxftfU

        He tried to laugh it off but we know better!

    8. So far so good, exitment is allround this season. A week ago we didn’t knew the amount of teams present and a couple of days to the first race and we don’t know the drivers.

      My enthusiasm is probably going to end on disappointment…

      Yes it is that time of the year again

    9. Just a shame there will only be 16 cars this year.

      1. 16?
        Are you implying that Manor and Sauber will both have to drop out for financial reasons?

        1. @hic142 And then there are the two McLarens whom might not even make lap 15.

    10. As always on tenderhooks waiting for the new season to start, here is wishing an entertaining and safe season for all the sports fans. Except the idiot who thought it neccessary to redesign the Official F1 website so that an old incompetent like me couldn’t check the practice time start , give me strength.

    11. Oh, wow. Sebastian Vettel’s graph line is red. He really is driving a Ferrari.

      1. Haha yeah, and he even got the classic Ferrari red, while Kimi had to settle for the modern “look at me” orangey red.

    Comments are closed.