What will the F1 grid order look like in 2016?
- 16th February 2016, 6:39 at 6:39 am #312347DavidParticipant
As we’re all well aware, season 2016 is looming and the teams are about to start testing their shiny new machines. So I thought it would be fun to offer our 2 cents on how we think the grid will look over the course of the season, at least through to the Summer Break, before testing gets underway. It should be cool to gauge the accuracy by the halfway point and/or the end of the season, so feel free to chime in.
Here’s what I think:
The top spots will again be occupied by Mercedes and Ferrari, in a far less Mercedes dominated season. It might be a stretch for Ferrari to pick up the Constructors’ crown, but Vettel might very well be challenging for the WDC through his speed, consistency and ability to rally the team around him.
Williams has a good chance of maintaining the 3rd spot, as they have proven in the last two constructors’ campaigns. Between Massa’s raw speed and experience (like him or not), and Bottas’ ever improving and near perfect race craft, they also enjoy one of the best driver lineups. It won’t be easy given the competition for 3rd, but they stand a realistic chance, especially if their new car also proves to be a decent improvement in slow and medium speed corners over the last two seasons. This is something they laid plenty of ground work for last year, and should yield notable results.
Under Adrian Newey’s supervision, the Red Bull chassis is bound to be one of the best, if not the best, as it proved during last season. Kvyat grew a lot over the course of 2015, and added experience to his speed while he’s also had the time to further settle in within the team. And Ricciardo is a qualifying specialist and one of the best overtakers, as he has consistently proven in the last two years.
The only remaining question is the Renault engine. With the determination that comes with running your own works team, and the lessons learned from their last 2 campaigns and the rows with Red Bull now having blown over and reached a detent, I would be very surprised if Renault, multiple F1 world champions primarily as engine suppliers, haven’t learned from the past two years. So yes, they stand a very good chance to claim third, and perhaps even threaten for 2nd on occasion, depending on circuit type. If political Ferrari could turn their engine woes around over the course of one winter, so can Renault.
The same goes for McLaren, who have one of the best driver lineups on the grid, and had the entire 2015 season to do some very publicly scrutinized testing. Much like it took Ferrari’s Allison a year to settle in and show the impact of his arrival at the Scuderia, Prodromou has now had that same period at Woking. But if I had to guess, McLaren are likely to come in behind Red Bull and Williams by mid-season.
Force India is a bigger question mark than the aforementioned teams, given their ability to produce a very good chassis to go with the best engine (minus the optimum, up to date software advantage afforded to the Mercedes Petronas), amid formerly well-publicized financial issues and on-track driver inconsistencies and errors. But when on form as a whole, they can easily nibble at the heels of both Ferrari and Williams, as they showed on a few occasions last year. Their 2016 success depends in large part on the improvements, or stagnation, of the Red Bull and Williams chassis’.
Last year, Lotus had a decent chassis and the best engine to boot. But they failed to capitalize on several big points haul opportunities, partly due to Maldonado’s erratic amateurish on-track behavior, but also due to the team itself being disorganized with strategy and reliability when it counted. Unless they produce a comparatively subpar chassis for this year, I can’t imagine them going backwards this year as a Renault works team, especially given their all-new driver lineup in pairing of the intelligent and very quick Palmer and K-Mag. This would put them firmly and closely behind Force India. Again, the Renault engine would have to be a vast improvement over last year’s to achieve this, and I think it will be.
Considering the over-the-winter gains made by the Ferrari engine department a year ago, and the expected improvements for this year by Ferrari and Renault and Mercedes (the Force India PU), Toro Rosso will suffer a notable stagnation on the grid for 2016. Their chassis has never really blown anyone’s socks off at any point, which makes their driver lineup their only real strong suit for this year. But drivers can rarely outperform the machinery underneath them. For these reasons, I think they will be closer to the bottom three teams behind them than they will be to Renault and Force India in front.
The waters around the impending back markers are a bit murkier than those of the midfield and the front runners, but this is what I gather from them so far:
Sauber, Haas and Manor will be scrapping over the last three spots. Sauber may well produce a worthwhile chassis, but they lack the funds for in-season development and will thus fall behind, especially relative to perhaps Haas who will at least not suffer from financial issues (yet) in their maiden season, and have plenty of backup from Ferrari – at least as advertised in media. They might be a rookie team in F1, but there is plenty of winning single seater competition experience in their personnel, especially in Gene Haas himself. This should put them on par with Sauber, or at least in second-to-last position by the end their first season. But, and I seriously doubt it, if they come up with a decent chassis out of the box, then who knows, they might even finish ahead of Sauber or even get embarrassingly close to Toro Rosso.
Manor is likely to finish dead last, as I have serious doubts about their resources and abilities to come up with a chassis that is anything other than a fortified bathtub. I hope they’ll surprise with the upset of one or three points finishes, as I love seeing the underdog make good. But like Alonso quipped, you can put a rocket in a Manor, they will still be last.16th February 2016, 10:40 at 10:40 am #312351
I almost fully agree with you which is a miracle given how ‘murky’ these waters all are…
The odd bits of different opinion comes in when it comes to gaps (e. g. between Force India and Renault, I think it’ll be bigger) and the position of Toro Rosso.
Toro Rosso actually had one of the best chassis on the grid in 2015, so there’s a point (I mean ask anybody), and the ’15 Ferrari was so much better than the ’15 Renault that I can’t imagine the ’16 Renault being better than the ’15 Ferrari, especially early-to-mid season. On par later on, at best. That gives Toro Rosso exactly the same position in the pecking order as last year – very near to and occasionally ahead of Force India. A bit behind this year, I reckon, due to the potential chassis compromise to fit the Ferrari PU.
I think the Renault chassis will be even worse than last year’s. Last year’s was already pretty bad – I remember Verstappen or Sainz saying in Melbourne that the STR is sooo much better in every corner, it’s just the Mercedes ngine that helps Lotus pull away on the straights. With next to no funds even keeping their 2015 project alive, I imagine their ’16 project suffered even more badly. And what applies to STR in the PU department, applies here as well: no way the ’16 Renault will be stronger than the ’15 Mercedes. Than means, on engine alone, Renault will be slower than the ’15 itself. ‘In F1, even if you stay stationary, you’re basically going backwards,’ imagine what will happen if you’re getting slower.
So my tl;dr list is:
4. Red Bull
6. Force India
7. Toro Rosso
11. Manor16th February 2016, 12:08 at 12:08 pm #312352PorscheF1Participant
I don’t understand why people are so positive about Honda and McLaren. They’re going to be nowhere again.
Red Bull and Williams will just depend on the track, whether it’s more engine or downforce related. Force India will be fifth and on occasion even third I think.
I have two bets going on in which both I say Haas will be ahead of Renault and Sauber.
4. Red Bull
5. Force India
6. Toro Rosso
11. Manor16th February 2016, 17:31 at 5:31 pm #312357WheelToWheelParticipant
Mercedes will average half a second quicker than Ferrari. I think Williams are going to have a tough year in 2016 so that’s my reasoning. And McLaren, er I think Alonso will be leaving them during the year
3. Red Bull
4. Force India
6. Toro Rosso
11. Manor16th February 2016, 18:03 at 6:03 pm #312359JackySteegParticipant
I can’t see much change at the top except for a jump forward for Toro Rosso. I reckon they will usually be quicker than Red Bull (I suspect the ’15-spec Ferrari will be better than the ’16-spec Renault) but through a pair of more experienced drivers and some big results on high-downforce circuits, I reckon Red Bull will be ahead overall. I’d love for Force India to keep up the pace they showed at the end of last season, but I can’t see it happening, although they should be a comfortable midfield and regularly point-scoring team.
Can’t see any significant improvement for Honda, but I can see the gap between the back and the front shrinking. I’d like to think that all teams have a realistic shot of scoring points this season. But I just get the feeling Haas will be at the back. Gene Haas talks like a man who has either done everything right, or a man who has no idea what he’s getting into. I reckon it will be the latter.
4. Red Bull
5. Toro Rosso
6. Force India
11. Haas16th February 2016, 19:51 at 7:51 pm #312362RetardedF1shParticipant
Ferrari should be closer to Mercedes after the radical changes they have made. Ferrari engines will get Toro Rosso a bit further up the grid and Renault will drop down after changing from Mercedes to Renault. Manor should be closer to the rest but still last. McLaren will be better but it won’t be enough to get them near the top. Sauber has been in big troubles for the past few years and I wouldn’t be suprised to see them behind Haas. The rest will stay where they were last year.
10.Manor16th February 2016, 22:45 at 10:45 pm #312364
@xtwl Williams is actually abandoning their low drag-low downforce approach and are going more conventional this year. It’s a completely new aero design for them. Now others, like Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Mercedes are two years down that development path so that may still mean Williams won’t be among the best downforce-wise – but they tell us their numbers look very well-improved from last season, so I think they will. And that elevates them above Red Bull pretty firmly.
Judging from the lists above, I think we can concur that the three biggest dark horses of the season should be McLaren, Toro Rosso and Haas – people rank them wildly differently and indeed their success hangs on just a few factors playing out right or wrong.
Has Honda managed to get larger turbines into the V and improve recovery efficiency? Will the ’15 Ferrari indeed be better than the ’16 Renault, especially mid-to-late season? Did Haas really benefit from using Ferrari expertise wherever it could?
Opponents sounded off this winter like they really expect all three questions to be answered with a more or less confident ‘yes.’ Mercedes TWICE warned of a much-improved McLaren-Honda based on their nearly 20-year experience with McLaren recently, Max Verstappen said switching from ’15 Renaults to ’15 Ferraris will alone yield 1s to Toro Rosso and Force India expected Haas to be regularly in contention in the midfield battle a while ago.17th February 2016, 11:39 at 11:39 am #312432sam3110Participant
Toro Rosso17th February 2016, 12:02 at 12:02 pm #312433KaIIeParticipant
Group 1: Mercedes, Ferrari
Group 2: Williams, Red Bull, Force India, Toro Rosso
Group 3: Renault, McLaren
Group 4: Sauber, Manor, Haas
Mercedes will continue to dominate, but Ferrari manages to challenge them quite often. The mid-field pecking order will vary from race to race, with Williams and Red Bull being in the hunt for the occasional podium every now and then. Both Force India and Toro Rosso have a few excellent races, but generally they’ll lack pace. McLaren has improved from last year, while Renault has taken a small step back.
The back of the grid is occupied by Sauber, Manor and Haas. Sauber may have a few good results in the beginning of the year, but they lack funds to develop their car properly. Manor is vastly improved from last year, but they are still too slow. Haas is yet another new team and will score no points this year.17th February 2016, 16:47 at 4:47 pm #312437GeeMacParticipant
1. Mercedes – They won’t be challenged until 2017 at the earliest.
2. Ferrari – They’ll get closer, but not close enough.
3. Williams – Stuck in no mans land again, hopefully they’ll be able to get more podiums this season.
4. Force India – They’ll continue the upward trend…mostly because of the Mercedes lump in the back and the quality of their drivers.
5. Red Bull – No number of Tag Heuer badges will hide the PU’s shortcomings.
6. Toro Rosso – I don’t see them getting much higher with a year old PU.
7. Renault – Rebuilding year, they’ll be grabbing the odd points finish.
8. McLaren – Over the course of the season they should outscore Manor, Haas and Sauber. If they don’t they should seriously question where their cash is going.
9. Manor – A reliable, up to date Mercedes PU should see them grab some early season points.
10. Haas – I think they’ll be quicker than Manor over the course of the year, but there will be early season teething problems that will limit their points scoring opportunities.
11. Sauber – They have seriously lost their way and need someone to take over the team and give them some direction.17th February 2016, 20:43 at 8:43 pm #312442Antonio NarteaParticipant
4. Red Bull
6. Force India
9. Torro Rosso
Mercedes has the best chance to top the field once again, but I expect them to have a much harder time while trying to do so. A much closer fight at the top looks to be in the making.
Williams should finish off confortably in 3rd.
Red Bull will have a slightly improved season, as their revised Renault engine in combination with another brilliant chassis will give them a bitter-sweet edge over Renault.
Inbetween them, the radical improvers of the season, McLaren, who finally find some sort of balance and capitalize on their drivers generally overperforming to claim 5th.
Force India manage to trail once again in 6th over the course of another typical / no-surprises season for the team.
Renault took on a difficult taks trying to rebuild the sinking Lotus ship. A learning year is a learning year afterall and they have to settle with 7th at the end of the season.
Surprises come from both Haas and Manor teams, capitalizing on their newly-founded partnerships with the biggest guns in the sport. Wise driver choices in Grosjean and Werhlein put them one step ahead of Torro Rosso, making the best out of their outdated engines and Sauber, respectively, who endure one of their worst seasons once again, finishing without scoring a single point.17th February 2016, 23:04 at 11:04 pm #312453
There you go, re my previous posts here.19th February 2016, 17:59 at 5:59 pm #312521SvenParticipant
Hello to everyone!
I think 2016 is going to rock our worlds. Many things on the not expected:
1. Ferrari. Many people expect this.
2. McLaren. Honda is super engine builder and will not be still
3. Haas. A Ferrari team
4. Renault. Like Honda, will make impressions
5. Force India. Has been doing very good
6. Mercedes. They have done all they can. Everyones caught up. Drivers not as good as others.
7. Manor. Toto Wolff said they are doing great and many of us agree
8. Red Bull. Mr. Horner ruined a great team
9. Toro Rosso. Rookie Drivers on #2 Red Bull will show as rookies
10, Sauber. Still has nothing very good.
11. Williams. Getting worse end of the last year and has not stopped going down. On bottom this year
Lets see what will happen and how close we get. :)20th February 2016, 16:15 at 4:15 pm #312566WheelToWheelParticipant
The overall view from the forum
1. Mercedes 16
2. Ferrari 21
3. Williams 43
4. Red Bull 53
5. Force India 56
6. McLaren 72
7. Renault 77
8. Toro Rosso 79
9. Haas 96
10. Sauber 106
11. Manor 107
I think McLaren are being rated too highly and Toro Rosso should probably switch positions with them. Also Haas are well clear of Sauber which is a bit of a surprise21st February 2016, 23:37 at 11:37 pm #312646BrownyParticipant
1. Mercedes – Will still be the team to beat, but not as dominant as the last two years
2. Ferrari – Will take the challenge to Mercedes, but still not quite up to Mercedes’ pace
3. Williams – Another year, another lonely third fastest car
4. Force India – Excellent drivers and finished well last year, should build on that
5. Red Bull – Will be an excellent chassis again, but the engine will struggle
6. Toro Rosso – Will have the better of Red Bull most races but big points in the high downforce races will see Red Bull finish ahead of junior team
7. Renault – Will suffer from the lack of development last year, will improve as the season goes on
8. McLaren – An improvement from last year, though still the worst engine will see cracks appear between McLaren and Honda
9. Manor – Will be a very close battle with Haas, but the later will have some growing pains which will see Manor get some points early season to keep them ahead
10. Haas – See above, solid but probably below expectation year
11. Sauber – Will drop to the back of the field, without a partnership with a big team they will struggle compared to Manor and Haas
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