The Formula One season starts this week after a long off-season of drama and intrigue.

The change in the sport's ownership breathes new life into the championship as fans hope more is done to accommodate the casual observer.

Rule changes should lead to slightly more competitive racing while world champion Nico Rosberg's sudden retirement last year has seen some high profile line-up changes.

We asked our motorsport personalities at the Herald, Driven and Radio Sport to make some predictions for the season ahead.


Who will win the drivers' championship?

Bob McMurray (Radio Sport host and columnist):

Lewis Hamilton.

Eric Thompson (Herald motorsport writer): Sebastian Vettel.

D'Arcy Waldegrave (Radio Sport host): Sebastian Vettel.

Matthew Hansen (Driven motorsport writer): Lewis Hamilton.

Dale Budge (Herald motorsport writer): Valterri Bottas.

Who will win the constructors' championship?



Thompson: Ferrari.

Waldegrave: Ferrari.

Hansen: Mercedes.

Budge: Mercedes.

Who is the dark horse to win the drivers' championship?


Kimi Raikkonen.

Thompson: Max Verstappen.

Waldegrave: Max Verstappen.

Hansen: Kimi Raikkonen.

Budge: Max Verstappen.

Who will be the most improved team?



Thompson: Toro Rosso.

Waldegrave: Williams.

Hansen: Ferrari.

Budge: Ferrari.

Which team has the best livery?


Toro Rosso.

Thompson: Toro Rosso.

Waldegrave: Renault.

Hansen: Toro Rosso.

Budge: Sauber.

Who will win the Australian GP in Melbourne on Sunday?


Lewis Hamilton.

Thompson: Lewis Hamilton.

Waldegrave: Kimi Raikkonen.

Hansen: Sebastian Vettel.

Budge: Max Verstappen.