The 2016 F1 season is upon as the fans anticipate whether the defending champion Lewis Hamilton can continue to dominate like in the previous seasons. We saw Hamilton and Mercedes continue their dominance in 2015 after they broke Sebastian Vettel’s 4-year dominance 2014.
It was a defining season for Lewis Hamilton as he secured his 3rd World Driver’s Championship, who not only won the championship with 3 races remaining but also the FIA Pole Trophy, having finished first in qualifying a massive 11 times out of 19 in the season. Though he slacked off a bit after confirming his victory, he was a comfortable 59 points ahead of Nico Rosberg - his teammate and nearest challenger.
The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were 3rd and 4th, clearly inferior to Hamilton and Raikkonen. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa (both Williams) finished behind the Ferraris.
Important Rule Changes for 2016 Season
Keeping in mind the fact that some major changes have been planned for the 2017 F1 season, only some minor tweaks were made for the 2016 season. One of the important change among them is the ‘radio restrictions’ imposed on a driver. In a bid to ensure that the drivers drive their cars ‘alone and unaided’, teams have been prevented from giving specific technical instructions for a racer that might help him allow to drive his car faster in the middle of a race.
There are modifications to the head protection structures in the cockpit in order to increase driver safety while tyre allocations were modified slightly with Pirelli supplying 13 sets of tyres for a race weekend. Drivers are also required to wear in-ear accelerometers at each event and their cars must be fitted with high-speed cameras for accident analysis.
Favourites for 2016
Both the ‘Silver Arrows’ drivers are red hot favourites for the title. Though Rosberg finished 2nd best to Hamilton in the 2 previous seasons, he cannot be written off. Rosberg won the final 3 races to finish the season strong to send a warning to Hamilton. Both Rosberg and Hamilton have clashed multiple times on and off the field and the 2016 title is also going to be a battle between the two unless the other teams don’t spring major surprises.
The nearest challengers for the Mercedes duo will be Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari are rumoured to be designing a superior car for 2017 and hence are thought to have not done much work on the 2016 car. Regardless, Vettel and Kimi are 2 experienced drivers and will extract the maximum out of the Ferraris.
The dark horses in the season could well be Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Red Bull have put in some fantastic work on their cars and the young Verstappen and Ricciardo are highly rated drivers. But, it is hard to see Mercedes’ dominance being broken this season. Hamilton will be eyeing a 3rd consecutive title.
2016 Driver’s Standings: (After 11 races)
|LEWIS HAMILTON (GBR)||Mercedes||192|
|NICO ROSBERG (GER)||Mercedes||186|
|DANIEL RICCIARDO (AUS)||Red Bull Racing||115|
|KIMI RAIKKONEN (FIN)||Ferrari||114|
|SEBASTIAN VETTEL (GER)||Ferrari||110|
|MAX VERSTAPPEN (NED)||Red Bull Racing||100|
|VALTTERI BOTTAS (FIN)||Williams||56|
|SERGIO PEREZ (MEX)||Force India||47|
|FELIPE MASSA (BRA)||Williams||38|
|CARLOS SAINZ (ESP)||Toro Rosso||30|
|ROMAIN GROSJEAN (FRA)||Haas||28|
|NICO HULKENBERG (GER)||Force India||27|
|FERNANDO ALONSO (ESP)||McLaren||24|
|DANIIL KVYAT (RUS)||Toro Rosso||23|
|JENSON BUTTON (GBR)||McLaren||13|
|KEVIN MAGNUSSEN (DEN)||Renault||6|
|PASCAL WEHRLEIN (GER)||MRT||1|
|STOFFEL VANDOORNE (BEL)||McLaren||1|
|ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (MEX)||Haas||0|
|JOLYON PALMER (GBR)||Renault||0|
|MARCUS ERICSSON (SWE)||Sauber||0|
|FELIPE NASR (BRA)||Sauber||0|
|RIO HARYANTO (INA)||MRT||0|