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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

F1 season predictions: Young gun for Mercedes seat, Ricciardo's redemption arc, surprise Aus GP winner

The 2024 F1 season is almost here. After 92 days of waiting, the first cars are set to hit the track at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain in FP1 to kick off an arduous 24 race schedule, the longest in F1 history.

And with every F1 expert and fan giving their thoughts and predictions ahead of the season, why should we here at The Roar be any different?

The Roar F1 writers Ben Waterworth and Jawad Yaqub put their collective heads together to give their pre-season predictions and bring a spicy bit of battle to the table across the 2024 season. For each correct prediction, a point will be awarded at the end of the season, with ultimate prediction glory going to the writer who gets the most points.

Ready to see how this will play out? Let’s get to the predictions!

Driver’s world champion

Ben: I’m not certain about much in life but if I had to be certain about one thing, it would be this question. Max Verstappen will join rare air in not only winning a fourth World Championship, but a very select club to win four consecutive World Championships. Put money on it now. It’s the safest of safe bets.

Jawad: It would take a catastrophic downturn in Red Bull’s car performance to deny Max Verstappen a fourth consecutive title. The rich vein of form he finds himself in can only equal the like of the great Michael Schumacher during his peak at Ferrari, as well as rival Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. Verstappen will equal fellow four-time world champion and Red Bull alumni in Sebastian Vettel, though will be troubled on occasion for race wins by Ferrari and McLaren instead of again breaking his own record of most wins in a single season.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Constructor’s world champion

Ben: As much as I want to copy and paste my answer above for this one, I actually think it will be a bit more of a challenge for Red Bull here. Not that I think they will have any real dramas winning races, it’s more around the consistency of Sergio Perez that will cause them some headaches. I feel like last year, he will start off well and make it seem like all is well in Red Bull and the second seat. Then things will fall away, Ferrari will remain consistent to give them a headache, before Perez does enough to help secure Red Bull the Constructor’s championship. Will it be enough to save him his seat? You’ll find my take on that soon.

Jawad: The advantage that Red Bull had at their disposal at the end of 2023, doesn’t appear to have dissipated in the ease with which they progressed through pre-season testing. The fact they weren’t showing any sign of being flustered, even with taking an alternative car concept – means they will add a seventh constructor’s championship to their tally and equal the classic Colin Chapman Lotus outfit. It will though be a lot closer with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren snapping at their heals, though with Verstappen still at his very best – even with the shortcomings of Sergio Perez won’t halt Red Bull taking the trophy.

Constructor’s standings order

Ben: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine, RB, Williams, Kick Sauber, Haas

Jawad: Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin, VCARB, Williams, Alpine, Sauber & Haas.

Teammate battle winners

Ben: Verstappen (Red Bull), Leclerc (Ferrari), Russell (Mercedes), Norris (McLaren), Alonso (Aston Martin), Ocon (Alpine), Ricciardo (RB), Albon (Williams), Bottas (Kick Sauber), Magnussen (Haas)

Jawad: Verstappen (Red Bull), Hamilton (Mercedes), Leclerc (Ferrari), Piastri (McLaren), Gasly (Alpine), Albon (Williams), Ricciardo (VCARB), Bottas (Sauber), Hulkenberg (Haas)

Australian GP Winner

Ben: Red Bull and Max Verstappen have a tricky relationship at Albert Park, with the Dutchman winning his first race in Australia only last year. That was also the first time Red Bull had won in Melbourne since 2011.

Does that mean it will happen again in 2024? No, I don’t think it will. I think Ferrari will take an early win this year and it will go to the guy who won in 2022, Charles Leclerc. Sadly, I feel this will come due to an incident somehow from Red Bull, not purely on pace. But if there is one race that Red Bull just doesn’t seem to have luck, it’s Melbourne, meaning Melbourne will once again be red in 2024.

Jawad: Carlos Sainz. Ferrari and Albert Park have a great relationship, having won three Australian Grands Prix since 2017 – including with the new ground-effect car in 2022 with Charles Leclerc. The Smooth Operator may be leaving the Scuderia at season’s end, however with a more competitive SF24 at hand, he won’t be leaving winless.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Who will get the Mercedes seat?

Ben: I’m giving it to Kimi Antonelli. I haven’t seen this much hype around a rookie since Oscar Piastri, and we know how well that turned out. Before that? Charles Leclerc. Before that? Max Verstappen. Basically what I’m saying is that all three of the hot ticket rookies that have had hype around them have all paid off. And of all of those three, how many have driven for Mercedes? None. Until now.

Jawad: The wily and mercurial 42-year old Fernando Alonso will negotiate himself into a seat alongside George Russell at Mercedes, with ever the goal of adding to his two-titles and breaking a winless streak going back now more than a decade. While Mercedes have designs on the prodigious Andrea Kimi Antonelli, he’ll likely either spend another year in F2 in 2025 or make his F1 debut with Williams. Alonso will sign on a two-year deal and try his chances on the 2026 regulation changes to take Mercedes and himself back to the top.

Bold prediction

Ben: I feel this one isn’t so super bold but one that I have to go with. Sergio Perez will be sacked by Hungary. Daniel Ricciardo will be brought in to see out the season and do enough to secure the Red Bull seat for 2025, completing the perfect redemption arc. Perez will retire immediately and Liam Lawson will finish the year for RB, and do enough to secure a seat in 2025.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Jawad: Sergio Perez, shockingly won’t be sacked as many touted in 2023 and without doubt be baying for blood this season. Instead, the 34-year old will see out the season with Red Bull, however will retire from F1 and conclude a handsome 15-year career in F1 which so far has seen him take 6 wins and 35 podiums.

What do you think of our predictions? How do you think some of these will play out across the year? Let us know in your thoughts below!

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here

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