No one will succeed in ending Mercedes’ or Lewis Hamilton’s respective reigns as the curtain prepares to rise on the new Formula One season.
That is the view of BBC’s Ben Edwards as he gets set to resume his role as the corporation’s lead television commentator as the lights go out in the opening round at Melbourne, Australia’s Albert Park race course on Sunday.
Last season will be remembered as one dominated by the German manufacturers who blew away all before them to clinch the constructor’s title with a mammoth 701 points, 296 points ahead of nearest rivals Red Bull, while the driver’s championship played out as a straight shootout between the team’s two drivers Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with the Englishman taking the crown 67 points ahead of his close friend turned nemesis.
And while their much- improved rivals will have aspirations of taking their place on the drivers’ and constructors’ thrones, Edwards can only see the possibility of history repeating itself on both fronts.
“It is hard to see anyone else other than Mercedes and in turn, Lewis Hamilton starting out as favourites,” said Edwards, who lives in Wortham.
“Lewis’ confidence will be sky high after last year and he knows he can take on Nico Rosberg in a straight fight and win.
“That is a massive mental boost for Lewis and although he had some technical issues last year, Nico just didn’t have that nous to steal the march on him.
“From a constructor’s point of view, Mercedes have the potential to be even stronger than last year, and while others may also be stronger, ultimately I think it will be a continuation of the Hamilton and Rosberg domination on the grid.”
If that dominance across the boards is to be possibly broken, Edwards has looked no further than the best of the rest from last season to pose the biggest threat.
“Any possible threat to Mercedes will come from Red Bull and Williams,” he added. “When the opportunity arose, Red Bull managed to steal some wins from Mercedes but while that could still be the case this year it is difficult to see anyone beating Mercedes overall.
“Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) was brilliant last year as was Valtteri Bottas at Williams who can’t be discounted. They would be the ones to break the dominance and are the nearest challengers for the driver’s title.
“Red Bull have more money than Williams but it won’t take much for them to start picking up victories.”