Editor’s note: From Monday, March 9 until Thursday, March 12, FOX Sports’ F1 expert Adam Cooper will break down the F1 grid, taking a look at each driver heading into the 2015 F1 season.
No. 5 – Sebastian Vettel
The 2015 season marks a new chapter in the career of Sebastian Vettel as the German embarks on a new relationship with Ferrari. He achieved remarkable heights with Red Bull, winning four consecutive World Championships, but last year he was a lot less comfortable with the RB10, and was regularly outperformed by Daniel Ricciardo. Always tempted by a future at Ferrari, he decided it was time to cut his ties with Red Bull and follow in the footsteps of his friend and mentor Michael Schumacher. It’s already clear that Vettel has helped to give the team some renewed momentum, and it will be fascinating to see how he fares in such a different environment. Could it be the making of him?
No. 7 – Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen’s disappointing form on his return to Ferrari was one of the big stories of last year, not least because he had performed so strongly over the previous two seasons at Lotus. The 2007 World Champion was adamant that the car didn’t suit his style, while Fernando Alonso was well established in the Maranello camp and altogether more comfortable. Alonso has now gone and Kimi has a closer relationship with new team mate Sebastian Vettel. More importantly he’s much happier with the car, and was competitive from the start of testing, and we can thus expect to see a more competitive Raikkonen throughout 2015.
No. 14 – Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso’s accident in Barcelona in February has caused him to miss the Australian GP and hand his seat to Kevin Magnussen, but in theory he should be back in Malaysia. The double World Champion’s return to McLaren after an absence of eight years is one of the biggest stories of the season. Although he appeared to be a perfect fit at Ferrari, ultimately his relationship with the Italian team unravelled after they failed to win the title together. While a return to McLaren seemed unlikely just a few years ago, both parties insist that they have moved on from the difficult 2007 season, and Alonso forms a key part of the long-term package. However the poor testing form of the car and the Barcelona accident were definitely not part of the game plan.
No. 22 – Jenson Button
At the end of last year Jenson Button’s future with McLaren was uncertain, but ultimately the team opted to retain him for the start of the new Honda era. The 2009 World Champion thus heads into his 16th season at the top level of the sport. Button has endured many ups and downs and has proved his worth many times over the years, and he is always worth watching when rain makes conditions difficult. Now 35, his huge level of experience will obviously be a major asset as McLaren and Honda climb what is sure to be a steep learning curve this year. With Alonso temporarily sidelined he has a chance to gain some momentum.
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