The new season of the Formula 1 Drivers Championship is upon us. This is a bit of a unique season as well because there are 21 Grands Prix across the season, more than which have ever been held before in a single season. So there is a tougher race to the ultimate finish line of winning the Formula 1 Drivers Championship 2016.
Lewis Hamilton kicks off the new season as the reigning champion in his Mercedes. That was his third title of his career and his second consecutive one after cruising to the 2014 title as well. Hamilton is running as 8/15 odds on favourite to win the Driver Championship yet again this season and his Mercedes team is 1/8 to take the victory again in the Constructors Championship. So heavy favourites all around there for the team.
For racing fans, they will be hoping that Ferrari have upped the ante a little bit and they were putting in fast time during practice out in Spain. However, they didn’t do nearly as much testing overall as the Mercedes team did. Will that hamper them down the line? Regardless, Ferrari look far closer to Mercedes this season than last and they have multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel still with them.
The biggest change that Ferrari need to nail this season is getting in better qualifications. They were very poor last season in that respect and they were on the back foot for most of the season because of it. But they can take hope from Vettel having gotten wins on the board last season, because they did mix it up with Mercedes on occasions. Vettel is running at a price of 9/2 to win another Formula 1 Driver Championship, with Nico Rosberg sandwiched in between him and Hamilton at a price of 3/1.
Formula 1 Drivers Championship 2016 Odds
Lewis Hamilton 8/15, Nico Rosberg 3/1, Sebastian Vettel 9/2, Kimi Raikkonen 40/1, Fernando Alonso 66/1, bar 80/1
Formula 1 Constructors Championship 2016 Odds
Mercedes 1/8, Ferrari 9/2, Red Bull 33/1, McLaren 33/1, bar 66/1
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Formula 1 Drivers Championship 2016 Season
So twenty one races to come this season. It all starts, as usual, with the Australian Grand Prix at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne on March 20th. The season wraps up all the way at the back end of November with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the 27th.
Australian Grand Prix: Australia Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne: 20 March
Bahrain Grand Prix: Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir: 3 April
Chinese Grand Prix: China Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai: 17 April
Russian Grand Prix: Russia Sochi Autodrom, Sochi: 1 May
Spanish Grand Prix: Spain Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona: 15 May
Monaco Grand Prix: Monaco Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo: 29 May
Canadian Grand Prix: Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal: 12 June
European Grand Prix: Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit, Baku: 19 June
Austrian Grand Prix: Austria Red Bull Ring, Spielberg: 3 July
British Grand Prix: United Kingdom Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone: 10 July
Hungarian Grand Prix: Hungary Hungaroring, Budapest: 24 July
German Grand Prix: Germany Hockenheimring, Hockenheim: 31 July
Belgian Grand Prix: Belgium Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot: 28 August
Italian Grand Prix: Italy Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza: 4 September
Singapore Grand Prix: Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore: 18 September
Malaysian Grand Prix: Malaysia Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur: 2 October
Japanese Grand Prix: Japan Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka: 9 October
United States Grand Prix: United States Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas: 23 October
Mexican Grand Prix: México Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City: 30 October
Brazilian Grand Prix: Brazil Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo: 13 November
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi: 27 November
So the difference this season is that there has been the return of the European Grand Prix. This race, which has moved around circuits throughout the history of F1 gets a running at a brand new street circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan on June 19th. So that will be a really interesting race to look forward too and the German Grand Prix goes back to Hockenheimring as they are now going to be alternating with the Nurburgring.
Also, as usual with F1 there has been tinkering with rules and regulations. Some of the changes this season includes a new tyre compound and extra chances for development through the season and perhaps the biggest one is that a ‘screamer pipe’ has been added to increase car noise, which is through a separate wastegate for exhaust pipes.
There has also been a change to qualifying as well, as it will now be operating on a knockout system. It has been designed to hopefully see the starting grids get mixed up a little bit from the usual processions. In this system, drivers will be eliminated from qualifying one by one, with the slowest driver not taking any further part in the qualifying until there are fifteen runners left. You then get another 15 minute segment in qualifying with the slowest driver being knocked out after six minutes of running and then a further driver knockout out after each 90 seconds have passed.
Formula 1 Drivers Championship Records and Stats
Legend Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in the history of the sport with seven Formula 1 Drivers Championship title. Argentine Juan Fangio still holds second place in the list of all time greats with five titles, his last coming in 1957. Of the current drivers, Sebastian Vettel is closest to catching him having won the title four times in his career (level with greats like Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna) while Lewis Hamilton is just behind with three wins. The only other driver currently in the sport who has won the title on more than one occasion is Spain’s Fernando Alonso (2).
Great Britain have produced the most Formula 1 Drivers Championship winners in the history of the sport, with ten different drivers having claimed the title, including great likes Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill. In total they have combined for 16 titles.
German drivers have won eleven titles and it has taken just two drivers to amass all that, Michael Schumacher with seven and Sebastian Vettel with his four. Brazil are next on the list having taken eight titles with three drivers (Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and AYrton Senna). The most constructor’s championships have been won by Ferrari, having notched up 15 of them, with McLaren holding second place with twelve of them.
With Lewis Hamilton winning back to back Championships, he joins an elite list of drivers who have won consecutive championships. Michael Schumacher holds the record with five consecutive wins (2000 – 2004) while Sebastian Vettel is close on four (jointly with Juan Manuel Fangio). Hamilton joins others like Senna, Alain Prost and Schumacher on two.
Formula 1 Drivers Championship Preview
Mercedes still look like the team to beat despite Ferrari looking an improved team during testing. If it is going to be Mercedes all the way then you will still put your money on Hamilton to bring home the bacon. Rosberg won three races in a row at the back end of season but that could have been down to Hamilton having won the title before those three races and he probably eased off a bit in his competitive edge. Rosberg was a little quicker than his teammate in testing, but when it comes to the crunch, Hamilton lives on the edge a little more in pushing his car. Hamilton to win.