Like so many sporting events around the globe, the Formula One spectacle has been put on ice for the foreseeable future.
The COVID19 pandemic causing at least the first 4 races of the season to be cancelled with the expectation that many more will be delayed or written off in the coming weeks – the end of May being the (perhaps unrealistic) target date for the season to begin.
After a shambolic day for the FIA last week a more decisive and timely decision to delay the proceeding races was announced on Thursday, with he hope that Baku will open the F1 season on June 5th meaning space in the calendar needing to be found for Monaco, Spain and The Netherlands. With so much time still to go before we see some on track battles, teams, engineers and factories will have to wait even longer to see how their cars perform in true race situations: but which of them will benefit or struggle most from this delay?
The Williams team have undoubtedly made progress from last years car with the general sentiment from pre season testing in Spain that they have increased their pace- though still likely a way being in the midfield – the potential for occasional points seems to be on the cards, but a 10th place finish still the most likely outcome.
That being said, I’m sure they were interested to see how the now-no-longer-rookie George Russell would get on in the early stages of the season, with the need to balance to resource to continue to develop the 2020 car (if points seems possible) verses a full blown resources drive to next years vehicle. With the 2021 new regs the Oxfordshire outlet have been rumoured to be writing off 2020 as another throwaway year with 2021 taking most the attention- I’m sure with more time now to look ahead to that, Williams will be hoping that in 13 months time they can look the last few years as a mere footnote in their journey back to chasing podiums under the new regulations.
Were they sandbagging? We were on the precipice of finding out, but for all the rumours and uncertainty the sense from testing was that Red Bull had perhaps secured the jump Ferrari for the 2020 season.
With the Ferrari factory in Italy going into lock down the team have already admitted supply chain issues will affect the team during this period – so any insight they took away from an underwhelming testing may be difficult to implement upon.
A challenging period for Italy as a whole, some relief from this later in the year could come from the joy that a pacy and winning Ferrari brings to the passionate Italian fan-base who will be willing them forward
Not a huge amount to say on the reining world champs – they brought some exciting new gadgets to testing and seemed, as always, to have a fast and likely championship winning car.
Whilst they (and us) were surely interested in seeing what, if any, impact their DAS system had across a variety of tracks to start the season but outside of that, the German team seemed slick and proficient as always, a few questions around engine reliability, and with a shorter season any mishaps or lost points will impact massively if their is a tight battle up top – but they may be way out in front if the last few seasons are anything to go by.
Red Bull team have seemed raring to go ever since testing. Some even tipping Max Verstappen as the only real challenger to Lewis this season with the assumption that he will be able to split the Mercedes drivers and surpass both the men in Red to maybe even take the title.
Red Bull will surely be as disappointed as everyone that the season has not begun, but with a short calendar on the cards, some early race wins and podiums (when we do start racing), with a more harmonised driver line up that the last few seasons could fine themselves front of the pack and offer them their best chance in a while to take the constructors crown.
Later in the week we will be breaking down the remaining teams, Sector 2 we’ll take a look in detail at McLaren, Racing Point and Alfa Romeo.