After dramatic 2007 and 2008 seasons, this could be another season where anything is possible. With some changes in the teams and new rules like the re-introduction of slicks and also aerodynamic changes, it is going to be one heck of a season. Based on pre-season testing and also the development of the cars over last season, this is what we can expect from each team.
Ferrari would again seem to dominate this season not because they are superior than any other car in terms of power but they have been the most consistent team during testing and if they improvise on reliability from the last season and get it back to the Schumacher level era and sort off the Massa-Kimi issue, then they could go on and win both the Championships once again.
McLaren would the team which seems to fall from the pecking order of last year based on their pre-season testing form. They have not done anything impressive and so far seem to lag behind Ferrari, BMW, Renault and even Brawn GP. If they could not do something drastic within the next few weeks, they would have Hamilton trying to score points rather than go for wins.
BMW once again have shown good form during the testing phase and their car has been in development since last season. Though they had Kubica fighting for the title last year, 2009 has always been their big year and they would be the one to challenge the Ferrari for both the titles as they have in Nick Heidfeld a seasoned campaigner who can be an able ally for Kubica.
Renault from having a hopeless car went on to win races towards the end of the season thanks largely to Alonso who has kept the faith in the team and decided to stick on for another season. The they could be the surprise package of the season but their only issue will be Nelson Piquet who is lucky to hold on to his seat this season and if he has a similar start to last season, well he could be replaced by Senna or Grosjean.
Toyota will be going into the 2009 season as always as they have been for the last few seasons. They are neither on top nor at the bottom of the field. But this year is highly crucial for them as if they fail to win a race and be consistent at the top of the order, well they could be following Honda’s route and be out of F1. Glock would be keep to improvise and he will be looking for a McLaren seat in the future.
Red Bull Racing will be the dark horse of the season thanks to Adrian Newey designed car and in Vettel they have a future World Champion who could go on and challenge the big guns on their day. Webber is back after injuries and hopes he can match Vettel’s pace and provide him the support he needs. Don’t be surprised if Vettel wins a few races and RBR pull-off a Jordan of the 1999 season.
Toro Rosso is off a miraculous season in 2008 and to do better than that would be next to impossible unless the new rookie Sébastien Buemi manages to do what Vettel did the previous year. With the global recession owning one F1 team is tough but Dietrich Mateschitz has two and he can just hope that STR does well enough to attract a new buyer.
Williams will once again go into a F1 season with promises of a good performance but time is running out for the independent team and if they fail to provide Rosberg with a car to challenge for the points leave alone the championship, then he will leave the Rosberg and half the grid would be keen to have him. If they manage to do better than Toyota then the possibility of Toyota shutting and making Williams its work teams will always be on the cards.
Brawn GP is the surprise package of the 2009 season. After Honda bailed out of F1 at the last minute, Brawn and his team managed a MBO at the last minute and then came on top of its first testing and the Mercedes powered car was faster than the likes of Ferrari, BWM and McLaren. With Button and Barrichello they have an experienced line-up and if they can keep up their testing pace, they could be leaders at the early phase of the season.
Force India goes into the season with a same bunch of drivers but with a different engine. They have signed a long-term deal with Mercedes and well could be the b-team of McLaren in the future but for now they are just focussed on scoring their maiden points in F1.