Vettel and Red Bull have had tremendous success in the last years, the German becoming the third driver in history to win four consecutive world championships. 2014 will be his biggest test yet, as the team have had a troublesome pre-season, suffering from overheating and engine problems. He won the last nine Grands Prix of 2013, breaking a record for consecutive wins, but a tenth is surely out of the question.
My prediction: Vettel will show everyone why he’s a multiple world champion by getting everything out of the RB10. He will win a few races later on, but it will not be enough to defend the title.
Ricciardo’s impressive drives for Toro Rosso have convinced the bosses he’s good enough to be put in the Red Bull team, where he replaces countryman Webber. Whether he can be as quick as quadruple-champion Vettel remains to be seen. So far it seems the Australian will be out of the spotlight early on, as Red Bull have struggled in winter testing and achieving more than a few points in his home race in Melbourne would definitely be a surprise.
My prediction: Ricciardo will keep Vettel honest in qualifying and will manage some podiums, but won’t win a race and will be outscored by some margin. It will be enough to stay at the team for 2015, though.
Rosberg outscored Schumacher in his first three seasons at Mercedes and won two races in his fourth, but was beaten by new team-mate Hamilton. That battle might decide the championship this year as Mercedes have done really well in pre-season testing, and Rosberg will be keen to use his clever way of driving to good effect within the new regulations. Winning the championship would put him amongst the best of his generation.
My prediction: Rosberg will win multiple Grands Prix and the championship.
Hamilton has now settled in at Mercedes after a season with the team. The Briton and team-mate Rosberg are the favourites to win the title after a strong winter showing. Hamilton hasn’t really been in title contention since 2010 and will be hungry to win his second.
My prediction: He will win multiple Grands Prix, but being outscored by team-mate Rosberg will cost him the championship.
Raikkonen returns to Ferrari, the team he won the 2007 world championship for. He did a top job for Lotus in the last two years, but now faces a tough challenge with Fernando Alonso on the other side of the garage – the two form the strongest pairing in Formula One. Whether the winner of the team-mate battle will be world champion remains to be seen.
My prediction: Raikkonen will win a few Grands Prix, but will be outscored by Alonso by a few points.
Alonso joined Ferrari to win world championships, but hasn’t done so in his four years there. The change of regulations of 2014 is an opportunity for him to finally achieve his third title. That will be far from easy though, as he faces a tough team-mate Raikkonen, and Mercedes engines seem better so far.
My prediction: Will win some Grands Prix as well as outscore team-mate Raikkonen by a tiny margin, but will be beaten to the title.
Grosjean was very impressive in the second part of 2013, getting closer to Vettel than anyone else with some inspired drives. Whether he adds to his tally of nine podiums or not will largely depend on the competitiveness of his E22. The Frenchman finally faces a team-mate that’s not a world champion.
My prediction: He will beat team-mate Maldonado, but will score significantly less points than in 2013.