The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or NASCAR, may claim to be the biggest motor racing sport in the world, but it fails to rival the global appeal, speeds, and thrills of formula racing. Formula racing is one of the most popular forms of professional racing, with its annual competitions through its categories earning a global audience.
But while Formula E is the highest class of single-seat electric-powered racing and has gained a strong fan base since its inception in 2014, Formula One is still the undisputed king of the racing world. Of course, Formula D has also been making waves with its novel style of racing, but with another season of Formula One underway, you can see that the top class of racing has no other rival.
The 2019 season of Formula One is finally here, and this is the perfect time for all of you car enthusiasts to get into the sport. The common mantra among those not in the know is that the cars win the races and that the drivers do very little, but last season this was disproven. Now, with the top cars all but level, it’s going to come down to the skill and the mettle of those behind the wheel.
2018: Somehow, Mercedes won
HE’S DONE IT!! Lewis Hamilton wins the 2018 World Championship at the #MexicoGP 🇲🇽
Massive congratulations to our 5x FIA Formula 1 Drivers’ World Champion! 🇬🇧👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/VgIzFex9PR
Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK) October 28, 2018
Coming into the 2018 Formula One season, it was clear that the Ferrari was the better car. With Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in the two Prancing Horses, they looked set to uproot four years of Mercedes dominance and stop Lewis Hamilton from winning his fourth World Championship in five years; but Hamilton had other ideas. As explained by The Checkered Flag, it was a finely poised battle between Ferrari and Mercedes, but the truly extraordinary performances of Hamilton eased the Englishman ahead of his German rival, who crumbled during his home Grand Prix and failed to recover thereafter.
With further improvements made to both the Mercedes and Ferrari, the two will reignite their rivalry in 2019. Hamilton and Vettel will be going head to head once again to battle for the Drivers’ World Championship.
Looking to the 2019 campaign
The first race of 2019 is just hours away (YAY! 🙌)
Formula 1 (@F1) March 16, 2019
Prior to the season getting underway, winter testing indicated that the Ferrari is a bit quicker than the Mercedes, but by the finest margin of just 0.003 seconds according to Formula1’s 13 March report. The biggest difference is the number of laps completed by Mercedes over Ferrari, with the Ferrari falling a full three races-worth of distance behind the 1,190 laps clocked by the Silver Arrows in 2018. They say that it’s Ferrari’s championship to lose, but the experts say otherwise.
The best place to seek insights into the eventual winners of sporting tournaments is often the bookmakers as it’s their job to relay accurate odds so that they can operate their business. As of 16 March, Betway has Hamilton and Mercedes as the favourites at 10/11 and 8/11 to win the World Drivers’ Championship and the World Constructors’ Championship, respectively. This will greatly be down to the influence of Hamilton and his winning ways, but with the marginally better car and Vettel out to prove a point, he perhaps shouldn’t be as far back as 15/8, nor should Ferrari be at 6/4 to win the Constructors’ Championship.
Mercedes is the favourite because they still have a very good car as well as the same duo of drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas – who did enough to land the team both world championships. That said, SBNation shows that Bottas had a weak 2018 campaign as Hamilton’s secondary while Vettel is expected to have some competition from his new young teammate Charles Leclerc. The 21-year-old Monegasque racer has stated his intentions to not simply play second fiddle to the former world champion and instead make a name for himself in the Ferrari world. Depending on Bottas’ driving, Ferrari may be able to snatch a championship with two eager drivers in their cars.
There are many other storylines to keep an eye on outside of the Mercedes versus Ferrari duel at the top of the standings. Red Bull will attempt to challenge them both with Max Verstappen as their primary driver and the exciting Pierre Gasly joining his team. Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull to lead his own team, finding Renault to be the perfect home for him to try to challenge for the world championship, eventually. Then there’s McLaren, who will be trusting the 24-year-old Carlos Sainz Jr and the 19-year-old Lando Norris, per EVO, to build on the constructor’s sixth-place standing in 2018.
If you love your cars and love high-speed racing, now is the time to get into Formula One racing, it’s simply too close to call at the top, and the next generation of top-class drivers is now making a name for itself in the seats of the other cars.