Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Going back to the F1 future // Predictions for the 2011 Formula One season

Published by Lukeh

Lotus Renault stole this story from Universal Pictures. We're stealing it back.
Credit: Amblin

A new year, a new season and a new start... here we go again. With the teams launching their new cars and the sport slowly waking up, we find ourselves with a new season slowly creeping up on us in just a few weeks. 2010 was quite a year wasn’t it? There was drama, scuffles, many, many comments about Eddie Jordan’s shirts, glorious moments, not so glorious moments and also HRT. One of my favourite bits of the new season build though is trying to predict what is going to happen, as we all sit here wondering how good each team is going to be. I mean, anything could happen. Remember Brawn in 2009 and the many people who just assumed their fast pace in testing was just to get some sponsors on their side? They sure shut us up. Not me, I believed in the dream team, honest. But that was then and this is now and we go into the new season with so many questions as usual...

Will Red Bull be dominant again?

Will Fernando Alonso be faster than you?

Who will be the big surprise of 2011?

Are we going to see more beards in the sport?

Which rookies are going to stand out?

How many carousels will HRT use with their never ending driver swapping?

The questions go on and on into infinity (and beyond), and it would be silly to simply keep asking these. Instead, I thought it’d be a good chance not only for me to discuss my predictions for 2011 but also for us all to share yours in the comments too with other commenters. Initially I wanted to go through it team by team but it seemed a huge amount of content for a post that I didn’t want to bore everyone with. There’s still plenty to be said but I felt it would’ve been a bit too much, so here are some of my thoughts, feelings and predictions for the new season.

First off, as we all know the media seemed to call 2010 the best season ever, when it wasn’t really. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the best season ever! Nevertheless, we will instead this year get comments of 2011 being the ‘even bestester season ever’, with some crazy wet races, a huge surprise halfway through the season and an epic championship battle that ends in a climatic, crazy race in Brazil. Definitely the even bestester ever season ever.

The big surprise this year will be both the Lotus cars I reckon. We have Lotus Eric, who has a strong line up in Kubica and Petrov, and Lotus Tony, who needs to really push his team forward after their debut year. Both teams will do well for their status though I reckon, with Kubica possible getting in the odd win here and there and Petrov snatching a few podiums too. As for Lotus Tony, they can only get better from their opening year in the sport and a new engine and better car development will help them a lot I think. They may even reach the dizzying heights of 11th. At some point though Lotus will get fed up of the feud and just organise some kind of cage wrestling match to determine which Lotus is Lotus. It’s bound to happen eventually. Tip – put your money on Tony. He’s got mad skills.

The middle pack of F1 won’t change dramatically this season either though, I feel. Toro Rosso need more from Algeursauri and Buemi who both have definitely improved over 2010 but really need a year to show everyone why they deserve to stick in the sport. Buemi for me is someone who really needs to stand out as Algeursauri left a better impression on me in 2010 than his team mate. Force India are another team that need to improvement because by the end of 2010 they may has well have not turned up. Not particularly nice but they just seemed to evaporate into nothingness like a HRT contract deal. Di Resta will be a very good signing for them and I’ve got good hopes for the young Scots he enters F1 for the first time. As for Sutil, well... at least he can run funny. Hulkenburg should probably have his seat. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if we see Di Resta somehow finish with more points than Sutil, and that’ll be my big prediction for the season.

Sauber and their generic livery will suffer over 2011 I fear despite having super Kobayashi at the wheel once more. If he can bring in his usual kamizake style with good strategy calls again he may get points but I fear for the team over the next year. The team would definitely be faster if they went back to their old Petronas blue and turquoise livery. That is definitely how you make cars faster, see. Going back to good liveries. And as for Williams, well they had a very good 2010 I reckon with Barrichello really oushing the car forwards as the season went on but with Maldonaldo being the new rookie on the block I’m not sure what to expect. Rubens will do awesome as he is Rubens, and his Rubens-ness will see another good year for him though.

Then we get to the front chaps. I won’t beat around the bush – Fernando Alonso will be world champion in 2011. I just see it happening, but he won’t win it easily because Sebastien Vettel and Jenson Button will push him all the way. These will be my three top drivers in 2011, going all the way to Brazil for the championship hunt. Nico Rosberg shall also be a stand out driver, getting his first victory in this season and consistently finishing near the top whereas his team mate Darth I mean, Michael Schumacher will struggle with the new tyres and the car again before decided halfway through the season his neck is feeling odd and getting Nick Heidfeld and his Super Beard to step in. Webber will also grow a super beard but not do as well as he did in 2011 where as Felipe Massa will once again have a poor year failing to get a victory and ultimately leaving Ferrari. Finally, Lewis Hamilton will do pretty well but will blame his lack of championship success on ‘outside distractions’, dump Nicole Sherzinger, get back together with her and then blame Ron Dennis for something and cause a kerfuffle in the team.

You may have noticed I haven’t said anything about HRT or Virgin... that’s because they’ll both be at the back all season doing nothing. Sorry Timo. Although my favourite HRT driver in 2011 will be a tie between Giancarlo Fisichella, Tarso Marquez, Franck Montagny, Pedro Diniz, Damon Hill, Mark Blundell, Gaston Mazzacane, Pedro De La Rosa, Colin Kolles, Chris Evans and Louise Goodman.

And that’s my predictions for the new season. In summary:

  • Fernando Alonso will be World Champion, but only just from Vettel and Button
  • Eric Lotus will win a few races, Lotus Tony will improve a lot
  • At some point someone will use a Spinal Tap reference to say F1 in 11 has been turned up to 11.
  • Not a lot of huge changes to the pack except Rosberg to do better
  • HD coverage will break F1 fans with glasses so Bernie will release expensive range of HD compatible F1 glasses
  • Di Resta will beat Sutil, Schumi to retire again in summer, Heidfeld to grow a beard
  • Franck Montagny will appear at some point for Christine
  • Rubens will be awesome, because he’s Rubens
  • Bahrain will be absolutely terrible as will the Indian GP and also anything related to Tilke again, even mentioning his name will be a crime by the end of the year

Of course, these are just my completely inane predictions. We really want to know yours in the comments and I'm sure just like this year, they'll be revisited at the end of the season. Anything could happen in 2011 and now is your chance to predict even the craziest things!