The 2020 Formula 1 season is only days away from getting underway after its false start in Melbourne in March with numerous intriguing plotlines to follow.
First and foremost, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton is aiming to equal Michael Schumacher for the most Drivers’ Championships in 2020, with the German currently one ahead of the Mercedes man on six titles.
Hamilton has won the past three Formula 1 Drivers’ Championships and has been unstoppable in recent times, also claiming five of the past six, only interrupted by ex-teammate and one-time champion Nico Rosberg.
If there feels an air of inevitability about more Hamilton success, than the coronavirus has threatened that, with the 2020 season impacted heavily, with no guarantees on the number of races which will actually run this season. As a result, the Championship feels more open.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen looms large as a threat in 2020, particularly with the Austrian manufacturer enjoying the benefit of two home Grands Prix to start the season.
The 22-year-old Dutchman finished third in the Drivers’ Championship last year, recording three Grand Prix wins in a career-best return.
Ferrari’s emerging Charles Leclercis a clear contender who’ll enjoy an exciting rivalry with teammate Sebastian Vettel in 2020, with the Italian manufacturer already confirming that the German will leave at season’s end.
Vettel is a four-time champion who may not have won the title since 2013 but he is still only 32, and firmly believes he’s got more to offer, so he’ll want to prove a point after Ferrari made it clear they see Leclerc as their number one man moving forward.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas can never be discounted either, particularly given he’s uncontracted beyond this season, although that’s nothing new for him.
Bottas was last year’s runner-up overall, claiming four wins and 15 podium finishes. He’s nothing but consistent. Whether he stays with Mercedes beyond this season remains to be seen, particularly with another round of musical chairs looming as Vettel searches for a new home.
We’ll find out more when the actual racing commences at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on Sunday July 5.