2016 Formula 1 Season Preview

It feels like 2016 only just started and before you know it, it’s March, which can only mean one thing. The start of the new Formula One season with Australia hosting the season opener this weekend.

The sport has gone through many trials and tribulations, especially in the last few months as the guardians of Formula One tries desperately to maintain the relevance of the spectacle. One can’t help to notice the irony as you get the sense that one of the fastest sports in the world is progressing too slowly for the action-hungry fans who are already spoilt for choice when it comes to sporting events and entertainment elsewhere.

Be it as it may, when March arrives with teams heanding to Melbourne for the season opener Down Under, even the nay-sayers and doom-prophets drop their scathing attacks and negative remarks in anticipation of what the new season may dish up.

The 2016 season comes with it’s usual changes in regulations and we’ll also see a brand new Qualifying format which should add an interesting spin on things, while we also see the tyre-sponsor, Pirelli, introducing a new “Ultrasoft” compound. The qualifying-format will include three sessions where the slowest drivers will be eliminted every few minutes until the final two drivers will be left with a chance to go for pole. I expect a very crowded track especially during the last few minutes of every session, so let’s hope it all stays fair.

We’ll also see an American team compete for the first time since 1986 as the Haas F1 Team joins the grid with Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez teaming up, while most of the other big name drivers and teams stayed unchanged for the new season.

The 2016 calendar has 21 races scheduled starting with the Australian Grand Prix on the 20th of March and concluding on the 27th of November at the Yas Marina Circuit in Dubai. The European Grand Prix will return to the calendar, but will hosted at the new street circuit in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, while the German Grand Prix will be hosted at the Hockenheimring, after being cancelled in 2015.

The big question before the start of the new season remains: Has Ferrari caught up with the Silver Arrows during the off-season? Or will we see another runaway victory for Lewis Hamilton and company? And if so, can Nico Rosberg challenge the Briton this year and will we see more controversies as the two battle it out, while also trying to keep the best interest of the team at heart?

We’ve seen Ferrari upping the pace during pre-season testing, but we’ve also seen the Mercedes team showing their reliability as they clocked numerous laps without any problems. With Sebasian Vettel’s arrival at Ferrari at the end of 2014 we’ve seen a revival at the Maranello-based team. In his quest to emulate the great Michael Schumacher, he has also produced 3 wins in his first year at the team, but he’ll want to improve on that and with the support from the experienced Kimi Raikkonen, he’ll be set to take the fight to the Mercedes outfit.

The Teams and Drivers for the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship:

Constructor

Engine

Driver 1

Driver 2

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Raikkonen

Force India

Mercedes

Sergio Perez

Nico Hulkenberg

Haas F1 Team

Ferrari

Romain Grosjean

Esteban Gutierrez

McLaren

Honda

Fernando Alonso

Jenson Button

Mercedes AMG

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton

Manor Racing MRT

Mercedes

Rio Haryanto

Pascal Wehrlein

Red Bull Racing

TAG Heuer

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniil Kvyat

Reanault Sport F1 Team

Renault

Kevin Magnussen

Jolyon Palmer

Sauber F1 Team

Ferrari

Marcus Ericsson

Felipe Nasr

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Ferrari

Max Verstappen

Carlos Sainz, Jr.

Williams Martini Racing

Mercedes

Felippe Massa

Valtteri Bottas

The 2016 FIA Formula One Season Calendar:

Round

Grand Prix

Circuit

Date

1

Australian Grand Prix

 Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne

20 March

2

Bahrain Grand Prix

 Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir

3 April

3

Chinese Grand Prix

 Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai

17 April

4

Russian Grand Prix

 Sochi Autodrom, Sochi

1 May

5

Spanish Grand Prix

 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona

15 May

6

Monaco Grand Prix

  Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo

29 May

7

Canadian Grand Prix

 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal

12 June

8

European Grand Prix

 Baku City Circuit, Baku

19 June

9

Austrian Grand Prix

 Red Bull Ring, Spielberg

3 July

10

British Grand Prix

 Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone

10 July

11

Hungarian Grand Prix

 Hungaroring, Budapest

24 July

12

German Grand Prix

 Hockenheimring, Hockenheim

31 July

13

Belgian Grand Prix

 Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot

28 August

14

Italian Grand Prix

 Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza

4 September

15

Singapore Grand Prix

 Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore

18 September

16

Malaysian Grand Prix

 Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur

2 October

17

Japanese Grand Prix

 Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka

9 October

18

United States Grand Prix

 Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas

23 October

19

Mexican Grand Prix

 Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City

30 October

20

Brazilian Grand Prix

 Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo

13 November

21

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi

27 November