Red Bull can defend

This weekend sees the 2011 Formula one season officially kick off in Melbourne, Australia.

One of the interesting things to note is the host of technical changes such as the new adjustable wings, Pirelli tires and the return of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System. In addition there is still fall-out from the civil unrest in Bahrain, which saw the season-opening Grand Prix cancelled.

Defending champions Red Bull Racing are back with an essentially unchanged team and what has already proven to be a very quick car in preseason testing. With Sebastian Vettel winning the 2010 driver’s championship, the question now has to be how his relationship with his team-mate Mark Webber will fare.

Ferrari, the runners-up last season in both the manufactures and drivers championships (thanks to Fernando Alonso’s efforts), have also returned with an essentially unchanged squad. The question mark for them has to be Felipe Massa’s form. After returning from a horrific crash in 2009, Massa just never seemed himself last season. Massa’s problems were made even more apparent after the much-criticized request of the team to have him let Alonso pass in last season’s German Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher seems to have returned to form in preseason testing thanks to the new Mercedes. One would also have to consider that team a legitimate contender for race wins.

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