Autoblog season preview 2011: Mercedes, Renault, Williams

The new Formula One season gets underway in a couple of days, and as usual, we wonder who the favourites are? Autoblog UK takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of all twelve teams.
Melbourne will see the start of a second season for the team that includes record-breaking Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and the talented Nico Rosberg. New updates installed during the latest round of testing should lead to improvements in performance. Rosberg, adding weight to his ambition to take his first Formula One victory of the season, commented: "During the winter, we have succeeded in considerably improving the car's performance and are very pleased with the upgrades." We'll have to wait and see, though, whether they can score wins and finish on the podium.

Renault are now an English team and could turn out to be the surprise outfit of the season. True, they have had to deal with the loss of their best driver, Robert Kubica, who was badly injured in a smash, but the pairing of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov combines experience and youth. The team hope to repeat the success achieved with engine supplier Renault by introducing special aerodynamic tricks such as a 'hidden' exhaust.

This English team have Rubens Barrichello, the most experienced driver in the field, partnered by rookie driver and GP2 winner, Pastor Maldonado. In the first few races, their main concern will be the car's reliability. Sam Michael: "This season, we'll see exactly where we are in the pecking order." Testing showed similar result to those of 2010.

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