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2008 F1 season preview

The 2008 F1 season starts with the first race in Melbourne with this year's season promising to be even more interesting than last year.

Last year the highlight of the season for me was the on going tussle between then team mates Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso but Alonso has since gone back to Renault and they will now have to fight it out from two different teams.

Unlike last season where there were a number of changes, the biggest change this year is that there is no traction control and whether that will see more overtaking we will have to wait and see.

Ferrari retained their two drivers from last year in Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa and I expect them to be the team to beat. Last season Raikkonen had a strong finish to the year and I expect him this year to be strong from the start which will make it difficult for the other drivers to catch up with him.

Massa can also help retain the constructors title by making sure both drivers finish as high as possible in the races.

Hamilton should have won in his debut year but he faltered towards the end but in the process he gained a lot of experience. That experience should handy this season as he partners newcomer to McLaren Heikki Kovalainen who also has one year experience under his belt.

I expect McLaren to at least finish in the top two and if Hamilton can have another strong start like he did last year then he could win this year. Kovalainen didn't do badly at Renault either last year and so McLaren have two very promising drivers.

Two time champion Alonso moved to Renault in the close season where he will have debutant Nelson Piquet Jr as team mate but I don't expect much from him especially at the start of the season. I also think Alonso will have a better relationship with Piquet this time because he is the number one driver and he is no stranger to Renault.

I think Renault have a lot of work to do after a disappointing season last year and I think one of their biggest challengers will be BMW Sauber.

Sauber have retained their two drivers from last year in Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica but I still expect them to finish in their usual places from fourth to sixth with podium finishes here and there.

Last year Sauber was consistent but did not bother the top two teams too much but they have a good foundation to build upon this year.

Williams had a better season last season after a disastrous season the year before. They still have Nico Rosberg who I think is a promising driver and they now also have Kazuki Nakajima.

I think Williams will just work to improve on their standing from last season without really causing any concern for the top teams. I am anxious to see what Nakajima can do for them.

Australian Mark Webber is still at Red Bull Racing with David Coulthard and for these two I think it will be a question of finishing in the points places.

Honda was one of the biggest disappointments for me last season but they retained their drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. I think going for them is the appointment of Ross Brawn who worked with Barrichello at Ferrari. Any improvement on last year will be big boost for Honda and I expect them to finish more races in the points positions.

Over the last few years Toyota have promised so much but never delivered and this year I don't see much difference to that and lets hope I am wrong. Jarno Trulli will still race for them but he will be joined by debutant Timo Glock and a lot is expected of them especially with so much funding but nothing much to show for it.

The last three teams are Toro Rosso, Super Aguri and the new Force India and I expect then to also be the last three teams come end of season.

Force India have the experience of Giancarlo Fisichella but he was so disappointing at Renault last year he will have to improve a lot to get points for Force India.

So lets see what the first race in Melbourne will show us on Sunday and I hope it will be another exciting F1 season.

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