Formula One is about to kick off the season in Albert Park, a rather ayptical circuit which is considered 'one of the easier' circuits on the calender.
After a long and tortuous winter break, F1 fans all around the globe can finally breath: F1 is back. And there's a lot to look out for.
The cars will have clawed back a considerable amount of performance, ever since the cars officially drove under the new and more restrictive aerodynamic rules last year. Pirelli commented that they'll be around 2s to 2.5s faster compared to last year. Judged on what we have seen so far in testing, this could very well be the case. The cars have increased downforce and increased drag, which actually might pose a problem since Albert Park is considered among the circuits with the highest fuel consumption. We shouldn't be surprised if cars lift and coast a tad more then last year.
Further indications from testing point out that Mercedes might have kept its advantage from last year. However, like last year showed, reliability can always be an issue and weather forecast predicts rain on Sunday, so the others might stand a fighting chance. Ferrari and Williams especially look to be quick and consistent and will jump on every mistake Mercedes makes. Red Bull is more a question mark since they had their reliability issues during testing. If last year is anything to go by however, they will have bounced back from this and might catapult themselves to be the number one contender.
At the back of the grid we could have some exciting battles between Lotus, Sauber and Force India, all teams who had considerable issues to deal with. The former switched from Renault to Mercedes as their PU supplier, while the latter 2 have financial issues to deal with. Especially Force India looks to be considerable behind on the development schedule.
Mclaren-Honda meanwhile is another question mark. The Honda PU showed to be very unreliable during winter testing and general opinion is that there's a high chance that the PU might not be able to do the full race distance. It's to be seen if Honda has made the necessary progress to show the contrary.
All the way at the back we'll find the Manor team, risen from the ashes formed from the Marussia team. It'll be a question if they manage to stay within the 107% during Q1 of qualifying.