Now that we know the title race will be a rather boring one this year as well, it’s time to shift our focus to the middle of the pack.
Just like last season, Mercedes are running away with it and odds that Ferrari are going to finish a somewhat far 2nd, with Williams a close 3rd (to the Italians).
That one is pretty much set in stone – unless something unpredictable happens in the 2nd part of the season.
But what about 4th place in the Constructor Standings? Well, here’s where it gets really interesting, because we’re looking at three teams with a lot of potential.
Here’s how the standings look so far:
Let’s start with Red Bull because, well, seniority! They’ve been at the top of F1 for so long, it’s only fitting to talk about them first – although that doesn’t mean that they’re going to hold on to that 4th spot.
The problem is the power unit. It’s nowhere near as good as the Mercedes engine, which just happens to power both Force India as well as Lotus.
Then you’ve got the aero settings which themselves aren’t as good as they were in previous years when Red Bull were actually the best at that sort of thing, especially downforce through fast corners.
As for the drivers, well, I’m sort of split on them because I completely trust Daniel Ricciardo and I think neither Force India nor Lotus have anybody better inside their cars. Daniil Kvyat however hasn’t proven to be very dependable so far.
Sometimes it feels like Red Bull are racing with just one car, which will make it really hard for them to keep in front of their rivals.
Next up is Force India Mercedes, a team on the rise, which has always been a strong mid-field team, almost since their inception. The car is getting stronger and stronger this year and I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez (but Hulkenberg especially).
Perez kind of let me down last year after his failed McLaren experiment – and last year, McLaren weren’t anywhere near as bad as they are this year.
The way things are going right now, I’d wager on Force India passing Red Bull by the end of the year (probably a lot sooner) and finishing 4th ahead of, wait for it, Lotus!
It’s actually pretty tough to say who’s faster or more talented between Lotus and Force India. Both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have performed almost identical to Hulkenberg and Perez.
The thing with Lotus is reliability. Force India feels more trust worthy, not to mention the fact that Maldonado has a “racing temper” which can get him in trouble.
So yes, I believe Force India to be the team most likely to finish 4th in the Constructor Standings this year. Red Bull still have a winning infrastructure and one of the best drivers in all of F1 in Daniel Ricciardo, but that may not be enough to defeat a very talented and consistent team, powered by a Mercedes engine.