WRITE TO US Mo­tor­sport News Hay­mar­ket Con­sumer Me­dia, Bridge House, 69 Lon­don Road, Twick­en­ham TW1 3SP Lots of unknowns as the new F1 cam­paign gets un­der­way

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - P24 RALLY RIAN CAMB A ON THE DRAM LAST-GASP

A new For­mula 1 sea­son al­ways poses many ques­tions. And, as we all know, few of them get truly an­swered dur­ing test­ing. Nev­er­the­less, the con­fi­dence (or lack thereof) com­ing from the teams and the early test­ing per­for­mances can give tan­ta­lis­ing hints.

It’s no sur­prise that Mercedes is con­fi­dent and is ex­pect­ing to run at the front. The An­glo-ger­man op­er­a­tion has been the bench­mark since the new turbo/hy­brid rules were in­tro­duced and has al­ready racked up some im­pres­sive miles. No, the teams we are most in­ter­ested in are Fer­rari, Mclaren and, to a lesser de­gree, Haas.

Dom­i­na­tion doesn’t of­fend me as much as it does many, but there’s no doubt that F1 ben­e­fits from true bat­tles be­tween teams at the front. Fer­rari, off the back of a re­vi­talised sea­son in 2015, is clearly best placed to chal­lenge Mercedes. The squad sounds fired up and knows the ex­pec­ta­tion is that it can give Se­bas­tian Vet­tel the weapons to bat­tle Lewis Hamil­ton and Nico Ros­berg reg­u­larly in 2016.

Mclaren-honda suf­fered a dire 2015 and, apart from the most hard­ened anti-fans, ev­ery­one will be hop­ing the squad can move swiftly for­ward. A jump to the front is surely pure fan­tasy, but a sig­nif­i­cant step into the mid­field would at least give the im­pres­sion that there is in­deed some po­ten­tial in the new ver­sion of an iconic F1 part­ner­ship.

Any new team is to be wel­comed given F1’s fi­nan­cial is­sues, even more so given that Haas is the first Amer­i­can squad for three decades. Haas seems to have gone about things the right way, tak­ing its time and build­ing re­la­tion­ships with (and get­ting tech­ni­cal in­put from) es­tab­lished peo­ple in the sport. It would be fan­tas­tic if it could be closer to the mid­field fight than Lotus, Vir­gin and HRT were in 2010. We’ll find out a lot more in the com­ing weeks. Kevin Turner, Editor

Robert Clayson cap­tured this mo­ment of pure power from a ral­ly­ing Fer­rari Jack Mor­ris got this Es­cort on the Cam­brian Rally A Toy­ota Corolla this time, also from Jack Mor­ris

Test­ing ac­tion from Brands Hatch. This Fi­esta was snapped by Joshua Bar­rett More from Jack Mor­ris, this time a side­ways Fi­esta...

Chris Noble’s shot of an Audi quat­tro Group B car

(Twit­ter: @KRT917)

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