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Pre-Testing 2010 Predictions

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WDC: Lewis Hamilton
I had originally predicted Michael Schumacher but I’m now not so sure. I think Mercedes may start the season with the best car, having stopped development of the BGP 001 early in the season, but McLaren will outdevelopment

WCC: McLaren-Mercedes
As stated above, I think McLaren will come good in the second half of the year, as last year proved their enormous capacity for development. It’s a gamble to go for Merc as we don’t know how Michael will do yet

Race Winners: Hamilton, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel
The big 3 will probably share most of the wins, whilst Vettel will get lucky with a wet race

Mid-Season Replacements: Ricciardo for Alguersuari, di Resta for Liuzzi
Not saying either will be justified but Jaime’s seat in particular looks wobbly – we’ve seen before that when Speed and Bourdais weren’t confirmed until late into the winter, they’ve soon been axed, and Ricciardo has impressed them already. Di Resta is hot property and rumoured to be doing Fridays so I think Force India will hurry Liuzzi out of the door to get him in a car ASAP. Maybe Mercedes beckons in the future…

Surprise Driver of the Year: Hulkenberg
He will be good. He will probably be beating regularly Barrichello by the end of the year

Most Disappointing Driver of the Year: Kubica
Renault will be sh*t so he will be sh*t. But Ferrari may sign him anyway

Surprise Team of the Year: Sauber
They will do well. Even with they sign de la Rosa, they will do well. BMW were funding their car in the same way that Honda were funding the Brawn (albeit probably on a larger scale) But I’ve cursed teams in the past when I’ve said that so they probably won’t now

Most Disappointing Team of the Year: Force India
I said last year that they’ll establish themselves in the midfield now. But I’m going to go back on that now. They won’t be any worse but they’ll still be behind the big teams. No further progress next year

Other Surprise of the Year: Another established name will sign for a new team for 2011
Not sure who but to give you some ideas, I’ve listed a few names below

Other Disappointment of the Year: Refuelling ban
Racing will still be sh*t, no matter how many changes are made

Drivers dropped/released at the end of the season: Massa, Webber, di Grassi
Again not necessarily saying they will be justified, but I can’t see Massa lasting at Ferrari or Webber at Red Bull with the slightest hint of underperformance – Ferrari are known to have their sights set on Kubica (as Robert revealed earlier in the year when he said Ferrari had contacted him), whilst there have been rumours for a few weeks already that Red Bull have their sights set on Raikkonen (plus it is also worth considering that to keep Vettel, they will need to build the team around him, and Buemi’s only signed a 1 year deal at Toro Rosso). Di Grassi will be dumped by Virgin 1) so that they can find a pay driver and 2) because Branson won’t like him because he’s dull

Best new team: Lotus
This is on the proviso that Stefan GP don’t make it – if they do, they’ll easily be the best new team as they’ll be inheriting a decent car. Otherwise, Lotus look the best-prepared of the new teams, Virgin could be hit or miss, there are a few question marks about Campos, and US F1…well they’re US F1. I’m not going to say we’ll have 26 cars on the grid or that Teams X, Y and Z will definitely make it, but I will predict that all the new teams that make it to the first race will last the season and also make it to the first race in 2011 (in some form or other)

Other things I think will happen:

– Hamilton and Button will fall out and Button will whinge about it

– Vettel and Webber’s relationship will become more strain as Red Bull fail to maintain their status as a leading team

– The Korean International Circuit will see lots of complaints, because it’ll be dull

– There will be rumours that Hyundai are planning to enter F1. Again. Also expect rumours about VW and Honda as they are easy targets

– Toro Rosso will be usurped by one of the new teams by the end of the season, in the same way as MF1 when Super Aguri reeled them in

– Another established F1 team will be up for sale at the end of the year

– There will be another major change (addition or removal) to the calendar which everyone will moan about. Maybe Rome replacing Monza or something like that. But the Tilkerings may start to depart the calendar – Turkey, China, Valencia…

– Another/more silly rule/s will be introduced…oh wait, that’s already happened. Well, the tyres rule will either have no impact or it’ll be farcical

Outside F1:

– Kimi Raikkonen will not even get close to winning a round of the WRC

– Another formula is announced for the WRC for the future that the manufactuers will moan about and thus there will be another year with the old cars. If it survives

– Either Jorge Lorenzo or Valentino Rossi will leave Yamaha at the end of the season

– Montoya will win on an oval in the Sprint Cup

– The IRL will only end up with a single engine manufacturer and single chassis for the new generation car

– Audi will lose Le Mans again and will pull out (nothing behind this – I just think they’ll go, but not necessarily VW AG)

– The WTCC will die

– The BTCC will struggle and there will be little serious interest in the new generation rules

– Everyone will continue to not give a toss about the FIA World GT1 Championship even with a new name and new events

– The F3 Euroseries will collapse as GP3 takes over as the top 3rd tier series

– There will be a surprise addition (a new team) announced to the GP2 field for 2011

– Another spec single seater series will be announced, maybe out of the ashes of A1 GP (if there is anything to salvage)

– Quite a few people will be saying by the end of the year “I always knew Jean Todt would make a good FIA President”

Champion predictions for other series:

WRC: Loeb (who else?)
MotoGP: Stoner
NASCAR: Johnson (who else?)
IRL: Briscoe
GP2: van der Garde
GP3: Gutierrez
F3 Euroseries: Bottas
British F3: Vergne
Le Mans: A works Peugeot
WTCC: Huff
BTCC: God knows…

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Written by James Bennett

January 29, 2010 at 01:10

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