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BBC pundits make their 2010 Formula 1 predictions

The 2010 Formula 1 season is the most eagerly anticipated in years, with four world champions on the grid all in potentially front-running cars.

It is also one of the most unpredictable, with the banning of in-race refuelling making it particularly hard to read pre-season form.

BBC F1's pundits give their views on how the season might shape up.


Martin Brundle, analyst

Who will win the drivers' title?
My money would be on Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. He is obviously fired up and rejuvenated now he's arrived at the Italian team and he'll take some beating.

Who will win the constructors' championship?
It's between Ferrari and McLaren. They are the two teams for me who have momentum, resource, strategy and two drivers apiece who can keep pumping in the points.

How will the new teams fare?
It's one of the toughest challenges I've seen in F1 for all of the new teams. I would expect Lotus F1 and Virgin Racing to be head-to-head in the beginning but the stability and greater experience within the Lotus team should see them move forwards as the leaders of the new boys.

What will be the surprise of the season?
Sauber - and it'll be a positive surprise.

Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber
Sauber are tipped to do well this season despite BMW's withdrawal

Will there be any off-track controversy?
There'll be an awful lot less but politics will still be played out. The big drama brewing is who will supply tyres from 2011 onwards? That has to be on everybody's mind. If Bridgestone can't be persuaded to do a U-turn on their decision to quit the sport and if Michelin don't decide to come back in then I can see the whole issue becoming controversial.

How will the ban on in-race refuelling affect the races?
The fundamental change is that strategy will be all about predictions rather than reaction. It's no longer a question of the last man to pit with light fuel before he puts on his fresh tyres is the right strategy. Anyone who could last two laps longer than their rivals before had an advantage.

Now, whether they stop once or twice, they are going to want to get in the pits and take advantage of the fresh tyres as the fuel levels will change only gradually. So you have to make good use of the fresh tyre but be careful of graining. It's going to be fascinating but very, very unpredictable.


Eddie Jordan, pundit

Who will win the drivers' title?
I don't think there's a clear favourite but I think Lewis Hamilton has got to be a decent bet. McLaren's 2008 champion is just catching my eye at the minute.

Who will win the constructors' championship?
Ferrari. The addition of Fernando Alonso - who's a double world champion - coupled with a certain element of animosity between the Spaniard and his new team-mate Felipe Massa means the team will be motivated to do well and must focus on team success.

How will the new teams fare?
If we assume that US F1 do not make the grid and that Stefan Grand Prix take over their entry with Toyota's car, now they have quit the sport, then I don't think they should be underestimated.

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren
Hamilton - Jordan, Legard and Hughes's tip for the title

The Toyotas finished on the podium in 2009 and if Stefan GP sign old hands Jacques Villeneuve or Ralf Schumacher they could be a massive surprise.

There's a lot of talk about Virgin Racing but I'm concerned about a team whose car has never been in a wind tunnel. Call me old fashioned but I'm not convinced.

On the other hand, with the experienced hands of technical director Mike Gascoyne at the helm, I'm betting that the reincarnation of Lotus and their glory days is almost nigh.

What will be the surprise of the season?
Without sounding too biased, I have a good feeling about Force India, who are built on Jordan's foundations. I'm hugely confident that the technical skills of technical director Mark Smith and his team will deliver a fabulous car.

I just hope that Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi can perform to a responsible level. I also hope team boss Vijay Mallya can provide an adequate budget to propel them to top-five contenders.

Will there be any off-track controversy?
Lots of them as per normal. The fact that there are more teams on the grid also means we should see even more. Expect to see fireworks at McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes thanks to their driver line-ups. Those cockpits are packed with big egos so it'll be interesting.

How will the ban on in-race refuelling affect the races?
It will make a big difference. The smooth driver will have to look after his tyres at the beginning of the race as his result will depend on how much he cares for them at the start.

I remember four-time world champion Alain Prost cruising to victory from nowhere at the start of the race. He was so forgiving on his car when everyone else's was knackered. That kind of approach will be key this season. I don't think it'll be a problem, however, as these drivers adapt so quickly these days.


David Coulthard, analyst

Who will win the drivers' title? Sebastian Vettel because if you look at the season last year he was only let down by reliability, other than a couple of mistakes of his own making.

Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus
Will Lotus be the best of the new teams thanks to their staff's experience?

Who will win the constructors' championship?
Red Bull because they've got a very solid, unchanged driver line-up.

How will the new teams fare?
I think the new teams will cause some controversies because, if they're not struggling to get to Grands Prix, they'll be getting in the way of the main battle at some point.

What will be the surprise of the season?
Sauber might surprise a few people, because they're just not used to them being right in among the mix.

Will there be any off-track controversy?
It's Formula 1. Inevitably there will be.

How will the ban on in-race refuelling affect the races?
People shouldn't worry about any of this nonsense about it ruining the racing. The first set of tyres will be carrying a lot more weight and one of the key things will be how hard the drivers can push in the first 20 laps. As the fuel comes off, they'll obviously be able to push increasingly hard.


Jonathan Legard, commentator

Who will win the drivers' title?
Lewis Hamilton. Strong return to form in the second half last season added maturity to outstanding racing prowess and with the current champion in the same garage, he'll be on a mission to regain the title.

Who will win the constructors' championship?
McLaren. Lessons learnt from 2009 with a relentless rate of development, and that will be carried over in an all-out quest for their first constructors' title since 1998.

How will the new teams fare?
Big struggle. Time-scale, budget, resources, experience all count against them. Minor points at best unless there's a wet race.

What will be the surprise of the season?
Spirit of harmony and cooperation between governing body the FIA and the teams' organisation Fota.

Will there be any off-track controversy?
There's never a season without it. Rows and disputes are as much part of the F1 show as the racing. Can't predict the battleground, just that it'll happen.

How will the ban on in-race refuelling affect the races?
Heart says the spectacle will benefit. Drivers need to manage a car that'll get lighter and faster on tyres that'll require careful handling. New sprint pit stops will be essential viewing. Head says fastest cars could dominate even more and there'll be less wheel-to-wheel racing.


Mark Hughes, commentary box producer

Who will win the drivers' title?
Lewis Hamilton. I see McLaren bouncing back very hard and I see Lewis being super-motivated by Jenson Button's presence. Button will take points off him, but that will also be happening at Ferrari and Red Bull.

Who will win the constructors' championship?
McLaren. I foresee a very fast car and the strongest driver line-up of all.

How will the new teams fare?
They'll probably be a significant chunk away from the likes of Force India but the best of them will have access to points possibilities with the revised scoring system.

What will be the surprise of the season?
Dunno. Chicken soup that looks like water?

Will there be any off-track controversy?
Of course. It wouldn't be F1 without it. The long term structure of the sport is yet to be decided.

How will the ban on refuelling affect the races?
Reckon it will vary from venue to venue. Non-overtaking tracks will produce even duller races than before. At other places the tyre behaviour and changes in handling will bring a fascinating new dimension.


Andrew Benson, website editor

Who will win the drivers' title?
Fernando Alonso. His consistency, experience and all-round quality will see off a tough challenge from team-mate Felipe Massa, both McLaren drivers and Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso
Out of six pundits, two have picked Alonso as their title favourite

Who will win the constructors' championship?
Ferrari - although it will be very close with McLaren.

How will the new teams fare?
The best of them, which will ultimately be Lotus, will be on the back of the midfield pack by the end of the season and score some points. The worst will be a long way off the pace.

What will be the surprise of the season?
Just how much some of the new teams struggle - although whether that's a surprise or not is a moot point.

Will there be any off-track controversy?
Yes - look at the driver line-ups at Ferrari and McLaren. Plus, I suspect it won't be long before Schumacher is up to his old tricks.

How will the ban on refuelling affect the races?
The worries about the races being more boring will turn out to be completely unfounded. Strategy will be more unpredictable, and the requirement for drivers to manage their races, rather than simply do a number of short sprints, will add an intriguing extra dimension.



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see also
F1 key questions
08 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Gloves off for F1's biggest battle
08 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
F1 big picture
08 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
What's at stake in Hamilton v Button
08 Mar 10 |  Formula 1


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