Just a few races into the revised 2020 Formula One season, and it already looks like a one-horse race for the Constructors’ Championship. Winning all of the opening meets, Mercedes stormed ahead early, and yet the most surprising aspect is that Ferrari is nowhere to be seen.
The German car manufacturers lead the way, with their next closest competition being Red Bull Racing. So, the top two is made up of two of the supposed big three. Yet, in third, it’s McLaren, whose 20-year-old sophomore Lando Norris claimed a podium finish in the first race of the campaign.
Before Ferrari comes into the picture, though, BWT Racing Point is in clear fourth, challenging for second after Lance Stroll steered in the team’s joint-best Formula One finish (fourth at the Hungaroring). Ferrari is well off the pace of second place, let alone first, despite being the primary contenders to the crown over the last few seasons.
Middle Of The Pack Power
In the third race of the campaign, Lewis Hamilton blazed to victory, going as far as lapping Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari in fifth. After the race, Vettel commented that Ferrari should be finishing between fifth and seventh in each race this season. Based on their showings so far, Vettel’s on the money, but that doesn’t make their fall from contention any less surprising.
The sinking of the famous Italian racing team is being put down to the requirement of a second fuel flow sensor, which has seen all Ferrari engines take a hit. Just two years ago, Ferrari was said to have caught up to Mercedes, even exceeding them, with the most powerful engine. However, the new regulations look to have set them all the way back. With engines frozen as-is for the remainder of the year, Ferrari doesn’t appear capable of bridging the gap.
Mercedes Only Has Itself To Beat
Provided that Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas continue to drive assuredly, with Bottas recognizing his role as Hamilton’s back-up, it’s all-but-certain that both Mercedes and Hamilton will reclaim their crowns. As it stands, it’s clear that the sports experts greatly favor this outcome, with Hamilton at -800 to win the Drivers’ Championship, Bottas just behind at +450, and Mercedes clear at -5000.
Since being booted back to fourth at the Austrian Grand Prix, Hamilton has been posting wins. Bottas hasn’t strayed from the podium yet, either, claiming first when Hamilton couldn’t in the opening contest. There’s quite a gap between the two Mercedes drivers and Max Verstappen, who retired in the first race but sealed a podium finish in the next two.
With one podium and two retires through just the first three races, Ferrari’s drivers are so far back, even at this early stage of the season. It seems as though another driver-constructor double is on the cards for Mercedes, with the only avenue for Ferrari, or even Red Bull, to catch-up being if Hamilton slips up multiple times or the cars fail.
Ferrari looked to be gradually mounting a real challenge to Mercedes, claiming a few wins and plenty of podiums last season. Now, however, their engine troubles have nudged them out of the picture.