With the 2018 Formula One season about to begin – the first race is this weekend at Melbourne, Australia – could 2018 really be the year that Ferrari comes good?
For the first half of the 2017 season Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel looked very competitive, but ultimately it was Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team who took the spoils.
There is an undoubted air of confidence, however, throughout the Ferrari camp as they gear up for Melbourne, after Vettel set the fastest lap of all at the pre-season test in Barcelona.
Indeed, observers at the test commented that the Ferrari SF71-H looked well-balanced around the circuit, if not as complete as the rival Mercedes. It is always tricky to glean too much from testing times as teams do not release fuel data, but there is no doubt that the Ferrari will be at the front of the pack.
Keeping the driver pairing of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen may have been a masterstroke. Despite being past his best, Raikkonen is still capable of race-winning performances, and is more than happy to play the team role alongside Vettel, with no politics involved.
Ready for the Challenge
The 2018 Ferrari team is a continuation of that which fared well in 2017, with technical chief Mattia Binotto proving a popular choice among his team mates. Such confidence will spill over onto the track, so we can expect some strong performances.
Will it be enough to take the drivers and/or constructors titles? It is difficult to bet against the Mercedes team, who have been dominant for the past few years, but it’s also safe to say that 2018 represents the best chance of a title Ferrari has had in many years.