WITH THE top teams hanging little ‘new Formula 1 car smell’ pine trees in their racing machines ready for the season’s opening grand prix in Melbourne, it’s time to put our petrol heads on.
And to get you all revved up, here’s our guide to the drivers most likely to be wasting good champagne on the podiums this season, and lovely links to some of those frankly amazing shows.
Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull
The clever money, along with some rather stupid cash, is on the current champ, cleverly nicknamed ‘Baby Schumi’ because he’s like a young Michael Schumacher. Incredible. Mostly brilliant, but with the possibility of cracking like pork crackling in a nut cracker when under pressure.
Hear Vettel’s story from the wunderkind’s lips
Jenson Button – McLaren
It’s his real name. You can’t make this stuff up. A former playboy and one-time big F1 loser, Button stopped playboying, got a good car, and won the 2009 World Championship. Bags of experience, but he needs to sort out his qualifying drives, which are basically rubbish and possibly laughable.
Get an expert view on one of Button’s best 2011 races
Mark Webber – Red Bull
The world champion’s team-mate, with the emphasis on team. Webber’s been around the F1 block so many times they’ve renamed it the Mark Webber Block, and as this could be his last year he’d love to punch Vettel in the face, but would settle for winning the world title. Doesn’t own a hairbrush – fact.
Join Mark Webber in the Red Bull trophy vault
Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
A two-time world champion, who occasionally spins, crashes, and jump starts on the grid. When he’s not doing those things, he’s an awesome, ruthless racing machine. He’s also Spanish, good looking, helps kids through UNICEF, and drives a Ferrari. Where did it go wrong, Fernando?
As Ferrari launches its new car, catch a guide to the roots of F1 technology
Lewis Hamilton – McLaren
The second Brit on our list had a stunning 2007 debut, a 2008 title-winning season more flawless than Angelina Jolie’s complexion, and last year drove like Fred Flintstone. He’s brave, a bit/completely reckless, and possibly the quickest F1 driver in the world. If he can stop his head exploding mid-race, he could find he’s brushing the world champion’s teeth again soon.
Catch Mark Webber’s guide to the Melbourne circuit, where Hamilton took second last year
OK, so these are the obvious big guns of F1, but who’ll come out on top, and is there a dark horse on the grid? Tell us below. And for sport, film and TV chit-chat, follow @tvfrombt on Twitter.