Yes it’s only been about a month since the season ended. But too-early power rankings are all the rage now, and we’ll throw our hat into the ring. So here, counting down from 10, are F1Merica’s 2018 Team Power Rankings.
10. Toro Rosso-Honda
Toro Rosso picks up where McLaren left off, spending race weekend in and out dealing with engine failures and grid penalties. This, along with the addition of two rookie drivers to start 2018, will prove to be a huge uphill battle for Toro Rosso in 2018.
I’m not saying Haas will be bad next year, I’m just saying Haas will have more to compete with. It was tough to put Haas this low on the board but with McLaren and Sauber bettering themselves for 2018, I took a chance.
8. Sauber-Alfa Romeo
Sauber still sits low despite a decent chassis and a phenomenal engine upgrade due to a rookie driver and a driver akin to a rookie in Marcus Ericsson. It’s no secret Ericsson kept his seat due to his financial backers and that may haunt Sauber in 2018. But, money talks.
With the latest rumors out of the Williams camp that Sergey Sirotkin is the favorite for the empty seat left by Massa, that effectively gives Williams two rookie drivers with no real experienced leader. Two drivers with substantial financial backing could be good for the team’s R&D, though, so we could see Williams climb higher than 7.
Renault have a powerful duo in Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz. Number one on their off-season checklist should be reliability, and if the team can solve that glaring issue, not only is it good for Renault, but also McLaren and Red Bull.
5. Force India
Force India (or whatever they may be called in 2018) aren’t dropping by any fault of their own. They have a brilliant “#2” in Esteban Ocon and if the team can keep Sergio Perez from trying to smash into him every other race, Ocon could show his true colors and earn some real points in 2018.
I’m putting a LOT of faith in McLaren’s chassis here. I, along with many others, wanted to see the historic reunion of McLaren and Honda bear fruit, but alas, it was not meant to be. Renault have a powerful engine, albeit with reliability issues. McLaren could do big things in 2018. Dare I say it, challenging Red Bull for third?
3. Red Bull
Red Bull will pick up where they left off, as well. Chasing Ferrari and Mercedes, occasionally showing flashes of brilliance. Likely Daniel Ricciardo’s last year for the Milton Keynes squad, he’ll probably trail Verstappen most of the season, whom the team will be “built around”.
Ferrari blew their chance at their first championship in the hybrid era with the epic collapse we saw starting in Singapore, but let’s be honest: they only had the opportunity due to Mercedes not fully understanding their car after a last minute suspension change prior to the beginning of the season. Ferrari will show flashes, as well, but will trail Mercedes most of the year.
Which brings us to the obvious. Mercedes will revel in their position at the top, all the while flaunting to Daniel Ricciardo the potential open seat they’ll have in 2019 after they part ways with Valtteri Bottas. Unless, of course (and unlikely), Bottas claims the title. Guess we’ll see. But 2018 is Mercedes’ title to lose.
Agree? Disagree? Comment and let us know!