Cast your mind back to early 2016l a time before Brexit, before Trump, and before Nico Rosberg sealed his first – and now only – Formula One World Championship.
It was also when Badger’s pool of writers and contributors put their thoughts forward on what would happen throughout the upcoming season of racing. Some they got right, some they got wrong, but let’s just have a look at what we predicted way back in March, complete with points scored for accuracy, just for fun.
Nico Rosberg won it in the last race of the year and promptly retired.
Adam Le Feurve: Vettel will claim it in Brazil. (0) Joe Diamond: Lewis, surely? (0) Laura Leslie: Sebastian Vettel by a whisker. (0) Charlie Eustice: Sebastian Vettel. (0) Jaap Grolleman: Sorry to be boring: Lewis Hamilton. (0) Sarah Merritt: Rosberg. Just a gut feeling. (1) Craig Norman: We need a new champion; Nico Rosberg. (1) Rob Cureton: Hamilton. Rosberg and Vettel will lose out squabbling amongst themselves. (0) Ben Briscoe: Rosberg, a just have a feeling Hamilton won’t be consistent enough this season. (1)
Mercedes won it by a mile, unsurprisingly.
ALF: Mercedes, wrapped up in Japan. (1) JD: Mercedes, surely? (1) LL: Mercedes quite comfortably. (1) CE: Mercedes, but only by about 200 points. (1) JG: Sorry to be boring: Mercedes. (1) SM: Mercedes. (1) CN: German efficiency rules. Mercedes. (1) RC: Mercedes, inevitably. (1) BB: Mercedes, by a mile. People will whinge. (1)
Will McLaren reach the chequered flag in Australia?
They did with Jenson but in a lowly 14th place. Fernando’s race finished with him upside down in a Melbourne gravel trap.
ALF: Yes, but no points. (1) JD: No, surely? (0) LL: Yes with one car, in the points. (1/2) CE: Yes, but only with one car. (1) JG: Yes. (1) SM: Eric [Boullier] talked about this with me. When pushed on goals and aims for the season he wouldn’t be drawn in anything other than getting two cars (to start) and finish! So I have to believe that’s realistic. (0) CN: Both cars will finish, but both a lap down. (0) RC: Yes, but only Button. (1) BB: One of the two will. (1)
Verstappen or Sainz?
OK, so, this became distorted thanks to Daniil Kvyat playing pinball with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in Russia and getting sent down to Toro Rosso, with Max stepping up and, well, winning.
ALF: Sainz, will surprise everyone. (0) JD: Sainz to cause an upset (pending any more awful luck with reliability). (0) LL: Verstappen eventually after a tough start. (1) CE: Verstappen. (1) JG: Verstappen. (1) SM: Max. He’s got balls! (1) CN: It’s Sainz’s turn for all the luck this season. (0) RC: Sainz. Verstappen won’t deal well with second season pressure to perform. (0) BB: Verstappen, but not by much. He’ll try and over-reach. (1)
Best Grand Prix of the season?
Stop all that arguing – it was Brazil.
ALF: Belgium, rain showers cause mid-race chaos. (0) JD: Austin, for when Lewis refers to Taylor Swift as his ‘little sister’ on Instagram. (0) LL: Canada hopefully as I’m going! (0) CE: Hmmm, hopefully Canada will bounce back to its sparkling best after last season’s snore-fest. Can’t even remember what happened in ’15! Let’s go with Canada. (0) JG: Brazil. (1) SM: Let’s say Hungary. (0) CN: Baku. Have you seen the track? Guaranteed bedlam. (0) RC: USA, as tensions between Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel mount towards the end of the season. (0) BB: British (with mixed weather). (0)
Cast your minds back to Elimination Qualifying. Remember that? Sorry. You can forget it all again now.
ALF: Hamilton vs Rosberg gets nasty after 3 races. (0) JD: Lewis and Nico squabbling again. (0) LL: Either tyres or engines. Probably engines if Mercedes dominate. (0) CE: Rio Haryanto turns out to be Pastor Maldonado in a very well-made mask. I mean, another fake spat between Hamilton and Rosberg. (0) JG: Hamilton crashing into Rosberg, sealing the WDC. (0) SM: Taylor Swift dating an F1 driver immediately after the Austin GP! (0) CN: Pirelli threaten to pull out after yet more criticism of their tyre construction. (0) RC: Rosberg blocks Hamilton during Canada Q2 in order to see him knocked out. (0) BB: 19th change in qualifying rules which actually prevents drivers with surnames starting with B, G, R and V competing. (1/2)
Most welcome surprise?
Points in their first two races? Have to give it to Haas for not sucking as bad as we all thought they would.
ALF: Haas vs Manor creates great racing. (0) JD: Force India ahead of the Red Bulls. (0) LL: McLaren showing some form as the European season starts. (0) CE: Renault’s mid-season resurgence. (0) JG: Haas. (1) SM: STR’s first half of the season. (0) CN: The change in the qualifying session actually providing some excitement. (0) RC: Haas marching up the order throughout the season to be scoring points consistently. (1) BB: Manor and Haas adding something to the back of the grid. (0)
Button or Alonso?
Fernando takes it thanks to a pair of 5th place finishes and over double the points. Farewell Jenson, we’ll miss you.
ALF: BUTTON. (0) JD: Alonso. (1) LL: Button. (0) CE: Eyebrows (Alonso). (1) JG: Alonso. (1) SM: BUTTON! You had to ask me?! (0) CN: Fernando. (1) RC: Button. (0) BB: Alonso, if the car improves enough. (1)
Will a midfield team (Sauber, Force India, Toro Rosso, Williams) win a Grand Prix?
No, they didn’t. In fact, they didn’t even get close.
ALF: WILLIAMS. They’ll win at least one race. (0) JD: Nah. (1) LL: Williams will win one race. (0) CE: Williams should win a race this year if they can nail strategies. I think Force India could be looking at a couple of podiums too. STR will be strong points finishers at first but get out-developed, and unfortunately for them, Sauber will end up near the back. (0) JG: Sorry to be boring; no. (1) SM: I’d love to say yes, but I think no. (1) CN: Nope, not a chance. (1) RC: Williams will win in the first half of the season. (0) BB: No, sadly not. (1)
Will Bernie Ecclestone still be F1 supremo come year end?
Despite a takeover and rumours abound, Bernie’s still in charge. And don’t you forget it.
ALF: YES, it’s inevitable. (1) JD: He’s taking that mantle to his grave, so yes. (1) LL: Do bears poop in the woods? (1) CE: Yup. Bernie 4 lyf. (That’s not an endorsement). (1) JG: No. (0) SM: Yes. (1) CN: Yep. (1) RC: Or one of his clones, yes. (1) BB: Yes, there is no Sepp Blatter moment on his horizon. (1)
How soon until Manor and Haas score points?
Both had them in the bag by Austria.
ALF: Both will score by the chequered flag in Monaco. (0) JD: Haas will, Manor won’t. (0) LL: Manor won’t. Haas might if attrition plays a part in a race. (0) CE: Toward the end of the European Season, Hungary maybe. (1) JG: Sorry, no. (0) SM: By Monaco. (0) CN: By the end of the European season. (1) RC: Monaco after a chaotic race. (0) BB: Inside the first 6 races. (0)
Will Renault finish in the Top 5 constructors?
They did not.
ALF: No. (1) JD: Nope. (1) LL: No chance. (1) CE: Only as Red Bull’s hidden engine supplier. (No basically). (1) JG: No. (1) SM: Nope, I think not. (1) CN: Not unless they’ve spent £600m already. (1) RC: Not this season, too many teething problems. (1) BB: No, Force India and Toro Rosso to squeeze them out. (1)
Will there be a major rule revision through the course of the season?
Rules stayed pretty static throughout 2016 design wise, but with the radio restrictions lifted and Elimination Qualifying binned there were a few tweaks of note.
ALF: Of course, this is F1! (1) JD: Another tweak to qualifying, ‘for sure’. (1) LL: Yes. Qualifying. (1) CE: This is what F1 does best! They’ll probably outlaw pets in the paddock so Roscoe and Coco won’t be allowed. More likely, they might change quali rules again. (1) JG: No. (0) SM: Yes. I think so. (1) CN: Not a major one, but Pirelli will be forced to alter their compounds after a rash of incidents. (0) RC: Qualifying will be re-thought after complaints from drivers and technical issues, probably by Spain. (1) BB: Does a bear s**t in the woods? (1)
Best rookie (from Wehrlein, Haryanto or Palmer)?
A few more popped up as the year progressed – Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon – who could have got the nod, but out of the three mentioned, Wehrlein looked a more settled driver throughout the year and scored a point first.
ALF: Palmer. Haryanto will struggle and be replaced. (1/2) JD: Palmer, who will prove more than a match for K-Mag. (0) LL: Palmer. (0) CE: The one what won DTM. Wehrlein. (1) JG: Wehrlein. (1) SM: Pascal.(1) CN: Wehrlein. (1) RC: Palmer. (0) BB: Wehrlein, based on absolutely nothing. (1)
Hulkenberg or Perez?
The Mexican won the Force India intra-team battle hands down, nabbing two podiums and eventually forcing Nico to Renault for 2017.
ALF: PEREZ. Quietly gets on with it and gets the job done. (1) JD: The Hulk. (0) LL: Perez. (1) CE: Perez by a whisker (Sorry Nico, you’re still my fave).(0) JG: Perez. (1) SM: Hulk. With that new lid, he’s green and mean! (0) CN: Perez, probably due to a podium or two. (1) RC: Perez. (1) BB: Perez, though I like both, he is growing into a more mature driver over time. (1)
The ‘Drive of the Season’ will come from which driver?
Can’t look any further than Max Verstappen’s wet weather masterclass in Brazil.
ALF: Verstappen. He’ll have at least one epic race (but Sainz will do better over the course of the season). (1) JD: Alonso in a wet race at some point, somewhere. (0) LL: Button on a wet day. (0) CE: Carlos Sainz on his way to fourth place somewhere for some reason allegedly. (0) JG: Verstappen. (1) SM: KMag. (0) CN: Romain Grosjean. (0) RC: Vettel scoring a podium after a technical issue in qualifying. (0) BB: Verstappen, predictably. (1)
Can Force India finish 5th again?
Well, they certainly proved themselves by finishing 4th instead!
ALF: Yes they can and will be at least 5th. (1) JD: Yes. Maybe 4th? 3rd?! (1) LL: No. They’ll finish 4th. (1) CE: I think they’re looking good for fourth this season, with an epic battle between themselves and Toro Rosso. (1) JG: Yes! (1) SM: Yes. (1) CN: No. (0) RC: Definitely. (1) BB: Yes, potentially 4th if they can hook it up for an entire season! (1)
Bottas or Massa?
The Finn easily overcame the now-retired-possibly-not-retired Massa over the season.
ALF: Bottas. Massa won’t be far behind though. (1) JD: Bottas to sit Massa on his ass. (1) LL: Bottas. (1) CE: Valtteri for me. Massa’s racecraft is still good considering his age (I went there) but Bottas is in the Goldilocks zone of just young enough and just experienced enough to come into amazing form and with any luck, win his first race. (1) JG: Bottas, Massa to retire. (1) SM: Hmmmmmmm. Bottas. (1) CN: Bottas. Had the edge for two years and that will just continue. (1) RC: Bottas. (1) BB: Bottas but he’ll need to find his mojo again. (1)
Will Red Bull announce a switch to another engine manufacturer for 2017?
Surprisingly they didn’t, and got back into bed with Renault after a bit of time apart.
ALF: Probably, or at least another name for the Renault. (0) JD: Mmmmmm no. (1) LL: Yes. Honda. (0) CE: I literally don’t think there’s anyone left. With a works team I think Renault should get stronger – not sure how much data they’re sharing with ‘TAG Heuer’ but it can’t be a bad thing for RBR, right? (1) JG: No. (1) SM: Nope. (1) CN: Doubt it. They’ll threaten to pull out more than anything else. (1) RC: No, as no one else will work with them. (1) BB: I hope so but I have my doubts. Horner does himself no favours. (0)
Will we get a GP with under 10 cars finishing?
We did not.
ALF: No chance. (1) JD: No. (1) LL: No. (1) CE: Maybe in Monaco, but the V6s are too reliable for too many races with more than a handful out. (0) JG: No. (1) SM: Only if there’s weather at play. The cars are more reliable now. (0) CN: Not unless Mercedes and Ferrari have taken a page out of Honda’s 2015 playbook, which they won’t. (1) RC: Not a chance! (1) BB: No, sadly not, the reliability of these cars seems to get better and better unless you are McLaren. (1)
Ben Briscoe – 15.5 points
Jaap Grolleman – 15
Laura Leslie – 12.5
Craig Norman – 12
Rob Cureton – 11
Charlie Eustice – 11
Joe Diamond – 11
Adam Le Feuvre – 10.5
Sarah Merritt – 10