This year also sees the appearance of Haas F1, an American-owned team under the leadership of NASCAR team owner Gene Haas. Bolstered by an engine deal with Ferrari and a decidedly non-rookie lineup of Romain Grojean and (former Sauber driver and Ferrari reserve driver) Esteban Gutierrez, Haas has stated they plan to be fighting the mid-pack teams by the end of the year.
This year also sees three new faces: Jolyon Palmer (Renault) and DTM Champion Pascal Wehrlein and GP2 Series regular Rio Haryanto (Manor).
Let's check out the preseason standings.
|14||Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso||995|
|* 800 is the default rating for a rookie driver|
Preseason ratings are based on the final 2015 standings, with slight adjustments back to the mean for all drivers. While it's no shock to see Hamilton, Rosberg, and Vettel at the top, I'll admit I wasn't expecting to see the Force India pair of Perez and Hulkenberg in 4th and 5th; these are drivers that finished 9th and 10th in the points last year. The two things to take away from this are that (1) Perez through Raikkonen are effectively in a five-way toss-up for fourth, and (2) Force India actually finished the season on a high note. The last five races (with qualifying in parenthesis) for these drivers were
Force India drivers started in the top 10 in 9 out of 10 chances, and finished in the points in 7 out of 8 (88%) opportunities. The other three drivers started in the top 10 in only 11 out of 15 (73.%) and finished in the points in 9 out of 11 (82%) times. While it's unlikely that Force India will continue to stay ahead of both Ferrari and Williams drivers throughout the year, both Perez and Hulkenberg finished the season strong.
Near the bottom we have the three rookie drivers. As qualifying sessions complete and races go in the books, we'll be updating our ratings. Keep watching this page for up-to-the-date standings.
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