The 2020 F1 season is soon to be underway, therefore, it must be time to be a backseat driver and predict the end results. With no major technical regulations changes, it can be assumed largely that this season will be similar to the 2019 season. So bet the house on these predictions, they are definitely well thought out and completely not based of 5 minutes of research…
20. Nicholas Latifi
We start in last place, and unfortunately, there must be one. Latifi is going to be making his F1 debut after being promoted from the Formula 2 championship. Latifi spent 4 seasons with the DAMS team in F2 and finished 16th, 5th, 9th and 2nd. After watching the last two seasons of F2, I believe Latifi is too inconsistent. Although, when he is on pace, he can lead from the front. At the start of the 2019 season Latifi won 3 of the first 5 races, of the 17 races that followed, he won just once more. Williams’ poor car and Latifi’s inexperience will result in the pilot languishing at the back for much of the season.
19. George Russell
The reigning F1 virtual champion! George looked unstoppable in the virtual championship, and although just a video game, shows the dedication he puts into his craft. His talent is, unfortunately, let down by the Williams car that hopefully has had its problems sorted out in time for the new season. I believe that Russell will outqualify, and out finish Latifi in all races baring any incidents. Another good season in the Williams will firmly put Russell in with the chance to snatch a Mercedes seat soon. Russell will be aiming to sneak into the points this year after missing out in his debut season.
18. Antonio Giovinazzi
If you don’t see his name and think of it in the strongest Italian accent, I don’t know what to say. Gio scored 14 points last season, up until the crazy Brazilian race he had only 4 points. Gio unfortunately just doesn’t seem up to speed, especially compared to his veteran teammate. I think this is truly a make or break season for Gio, the Ferrari Driving Academy has some talented recruits that might be groomed for the Alfa Romeo seat.
17. Romain Grosjean
Grosjean, the French baguette, is going to be entering his tenth F1 season. Unfortunately, the trend of finishing near the back of the championship may continue. The Haas car needs to have its race pace and tyre wear problems fixed. With the constant pressure of team principal Guenther Steiner, Grosjean will be aiming for good points in order to secure his seat for the following season.
16. Kevin Magnussen
I think the Dane will be level on pace with Grosjean. They’ve both shown that they can be quick in the Haas, it is just whether their car wants to return the favour. I have put Magnussen ahead of Grosjean because he has shown more consistency over Grosjean, and limits the silly mistakes that Grosjean has a knack for. Grosjean better be careful of the Silverstone pitlane in his two visits this season!
15. Lance Stroll
The Canadian will look to improve on his 21 points gained in the 2019 season, and with the new Racing Point car, looks like he may well be able to. The 2020 Racing Point is effectively last seasons Mercedes car, and as a result, looks to break into the top midfield team battle. Stroll’s problem, however, is his qualifying pace. He may make up for it in the race, but if he qualifies higher, he may well consistently score points.
14 + 13. Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly
Next up is the two Alpha Tauri’s. I think these two will be regular contenders in trying to snatch the final championship point in races. As such, I don’t think much separates them. I’ve hedged my bets and put Gasly in front of the Russian torpedo on the basis that he has got his confidence back and strung together some good results in the back end of the season, not to forget his incredible second place in the hectic Brazilian race. Hopefully they can serve their beautiful Alpha Tauri livery justice and score good points.
12. Esteban Ocon
The returning Frenchman brings up the rear in what I think it going to be the proper midfield battle. Ocon certainly has pace, shown in Toto Wolff’s aim to get him a seat for this year to prepare him eventually for a Mercedes seat. However, I think his ‘ring rust’ will be problematic for him, no to mention getting fully to grips with a new car. We saw last year that it took a few races for Ricciardo to become accustomed to the new Renault car. Consequently, I think the beginning of the season Ocon will start slowly, but by the end of the European run, he will be starting to garner good results which will see him climb the championship standings.
11. Kimi Raikkonen
The Iceman, ol’ reliable. Kimi will be entering his 18th season in F1, and this year will take the record of the most races started, needing 11 more to break Rubens Barrichello’s record of 322. The 2007 champion will comfortably score points this season, unlike his teammate. I think this will be the biggest skill level difference between teams this year, but how can you compare someone with as much experience as the Finn. His knack of dragging a poor car to good results will see him sit comfortably in the midfield battle.
10. Lando Norris
The Brit returns for his second season and is already confirmed for McLaren until 2022, showing the faith the British outfit have in their young starlet. In the back end of last season, Lando was plagued by reliability issues and bad luck. In a recent interview, he stated how he didn’t enjoy last season because of the nerves associated with his debut. I expect this year he will be flying out the blocks, especially having the most practice in the field having routinely been out on Silverstone in his former F2 Carlin car.
9. Daniel Ricciardo
The Honey badger looks to finish his Renault tenure on a high and will be Renault’s best bet on securing good points this season. The Renault engine showed promise towards the end of the season, and I’m expecting Ricciardo to pull out all the stops to secure good points before leaving for McLaren next season. His bravery on the brakes, and ability to absolutely send it sees the Aussie finish strongly in this tight midfield battle.
8. Sergio Perez
The 2019 Mercedes, sorry, the 2020 Racing Point is going to carry the ever consistent Checo to a high scoring season. Entering into his seventh season with the Force India/Racing Point outfit, I see this being his most competitive season since the 2017 season where he scored a 7th place finish. Whilst he may have been carried by Jimmy Broadbent in the Baku virtual GP, I fully expect Checo to carry Stroll for the season.
7. Carlos Sainz
The little chilli is set to again reign as the king of the midfield this season, and I believe, with ease. Last season amongst the midfield teams he led the F1.5 championship by over 40 points. He consistently was best of the rest and capitalising on mistakes by the top 3 teams earned him many 5 place finishes, amongst his great maiden podium in Brazil. The aim this year before he departs for Ferrari will be to close the gap on the top 3 teams and lay the foundations for next year when Danny Ricciardo steps in to replace Sainz.
6. Alex Albon
If there was anyone that I wanted to put higher, it’s Albon. The Thai made big jumps in his debut season, being promoted to the Red Bull team halfway through the season. Albon improved throughout the tail end of the season, notably having his maiden podium stolen away from him in the frantic Brazilian race. I wanted to put him higher because I think he is only going to improve this season, however, I couldn’t decide who he would need to displace. The Red Bull car suits the beginning of the seasons races that have been announced, so my big prediction would be Albon to get his first podium in Hungary.
5 + 4. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel
The top 6 is where I found it most difficult to predict the results. With the calendar not fully announced, it’s hard to say whether there is going to be circuits that benefit a team more than others. I still think Ferrari are behind the Mercedes, and because of my surprise prediction later on, both Ferraris line up next to each other. I have Charles in fifth because of one factor, It’s Seb’s last season. This is probably going to be Seb’s last chance to race in a top flight team, consequently, I think Seb is going to go absolutely ham this season to get the best results he can before he can drive off into the sunset. It won’t be easy. With Charles being declared defacto first driver, Ferrari are going to be giving him all the updates and info first. Seb is going to need to use all of his experience
3. Valtteri Bottas
The Mercedes is going to be fast; we all know that. It’s no surprise that it is going to be at the top of the standings, however, I have Bottas in third simply because I think Verstappen is going to do a madness. He will be a mainstay on the podium, even picking up some wins. It will be an important season for Bottas, with Mercedes probably going to snap up Russell, it is either Hamilton retiring, or bye bye Bottas.
2. Max Verstappen
The beginning circuits on the calendar are going to suit Red Bull to a tee. It is a big possibility that Max could win the first 3 races of the year, with that lead, you can’t not put him in title contention. But ultimately, I don’t think it will be enough to be in full contention for the sheer dominance of the Mercedes.
It just is going to be him. He’s going to tie the record with 7 F1 titles and firmly establish himself in the centre of the F1 Mount Rushmore. It’s going to be easy for him that there’s not much even to say!
And with that, thank you for reading if you got this far! This was a big one! Put all your money on these predictions, and thank me later.