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David Coulthard Column

David Coulthard will be fronting Channel 4's coverage alongside Steve Jones

Fast moving, dynamic and dangerous. The most exciting sport in the world is back. Formula 1 is the ultimate expression of human sporting endeavour.


It asks for great technical solutions from the brains behind the teams and the driver to go out and exploit the car to their physical limits.

 

Good news then that we have two more races to look forward to in 2016 as F1 heads into a record-breaking 21-race season.We'll have some new faces on Channel 4 and a new way of telling the story of the season.

 

I'm looking forward to it and hope the fans appreciate it.As much as love stories are wonderful to watch on the plane to Australia, the reality is in sport you want hard competition.

 

That's why all eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes pairing represents the most volatile relationship in F1 and I expect Lewis and Nico will be going at it on track this season.

 

Nico ended 2015 by claiming six pole positions and three race victories but only after Lewis had won the title at the U.S. Grand Prix. Did Lewis just start partying early because he’d done what he'd set out to achieve by winning the world championship? Or did Nico react to hitting his personal rock bottom in Texas by releasing the pressure and delivering at a higher level?

 

Those are the big questions going into 2016 and I expect we won't know until the European phase of the season. I do think it's unlikely that Lewis has lost his driving talent but certain cars and development phases can suit one driver more than the other so let's wait and see.

 

The Mercedes engineers and management have to get the best out of their two guys. After all, the team's job is to win grands prix and then the world championship.I suspect that Mercedes will set the pace once more with Ferrari challenging them for the occasional victory.

 

It would be great to imagine that Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will battle it out too, but unfortunately Raikkonen doesn't seem to have rediscovered the form from the first phase of his career when he won the world title in 2007.

 

Ferrari are, in reality, led by Vettel, who is the right man for Ferrari at the right time. Williams have established themselves as the third best team for the last two seasons, which I suspect is as much to do with the overall package as it is with the car itself.

 

Red Bull can probably claim the first step on the podium with their chassis and aerodynamic package but they still have issues with the engine. Toro Rosso may have the edge on their sister team in the initial phase of the season after switching from the Renault to 2015-spec Ferrari engine.

 

I'm also expecting Haas to be the best new team to come into F1 for some time. They have the twin luxuries of time and a business model that means they've bought everything they possibly can from technical partners Ferrari.

 

There aren't too many technical rule changes to sink our teeth into this season. It’s an evolution not a revolution. New rules on separate exhaust wastegates should give us a bit more engine noise.

 

Pirelli have also responded to the drivers' and fans' complaints and have come up with a new 'ultrasoft' tyre and a fairly complex system where teams have three tyre choices over each race weekend.

 

What we all really want is to keep things simple and know that we're seeing the best driver, car and engine win the championship.

 

Stay tuned to C4 to watch how the season unfolds. Watch highlights of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Channel 4 at 12:30 on Saturday 19 MarchWatch highlights of the Australian Grand Prix on C4 at 13:30 on Sunday 20 March

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