The 2010 Formula 1 season starts in just 3 days time in Bahrain, with practice starting on Friday 12 March and the race on Sunday 14 March. The anticipation reaches boiling point with so many questions about to be answered. Will Schumacher win his Eight world title? will Ferrari get back on top? can we have a third successive British World Champion? and finally will all the new teams do well, or fall by the wayside?
Michael Schumacher has shown great pace in early pre-season practice, but has so far been behind McLaren and Ferrari. Red bull have also been competitive especially in the form of Sebastian Vettel.
There are fewer rule changes this year, and the most significant is the ban on refuelling. It has obliged teams to develop longer cars with up to 160 kg of fuel-tank capacity instead of the previous maximum of 80, and to juggle weight distribution. The ban will place a premium on preserving their Bridgestone tyres between the mandatory stop(s) in which drivers must switch compounds. It will also change strategy, and promote greater efforts to overtake, as drivers will be less able to wait for pit stops to make up places. Calculation of testing form has been a nightmare, since fuel loads can vary so much (from 10 to 160 kg). Just so you know, every 10 kg of fuel equates to 0.3 seconds on lap time.
The other major change places much more emphasis on victory, as the new points system goes down to 10th place, thus: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. This will also make a half race win more substantial, with last years Malaysian grand Prix finishing with half points, it meant many people finished with half points. Now half points will still be a good points haul for the top 5 places.
There will still be strong emphasis on reliability and cost cutting with engine replacement penalties increased to 10 grid places.
Bahrain is where it all begins and it looks good for Ferrari Alonso firm favourite to take the Chequered flag at odds of 5/2 with Bet365 , second favourite is 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton at 4/1 with third expected to be Sebastian Vettel at 9/2. seven time world champion Michael Schumacher is 6/1 in the newly renamed Mercedes GP team and 2009 world champion Jenson Button is 12/1 to win the race.
The best odds for one of the newer teams is currently Jarno Trulli in the Lotus with far out odds of 500/1 to win the race ahead of former Toyota team mate and now Virgin Racing driver Timo Glock at 500/1.