F1 2020 Career Mode: Team performance predictions

With a week of testing completed, we look at how the teams might rank in the Codemasters game.

George Howson by George Howson
f1 2020 PREDICTIONS

After a long winter break, Formula One roared back into life last week for the first week of pre-season testing. All ten teams have now revealed their cars, liveries and run thousands of miles of laps around the Circuit de Catalunya.

How the teams fair in the early part of the season, particularly winter testing, will educate the pace Codemasters assigns to each team for the launch of the new F1 2020.

It is tough to gauge accurately the comparative pace of each team off just winter testing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try!

Here is our predictions for how each team will rank in F1 2020 when you pick the game up off the shelf.

#10 – Haas

F1 2020 Haas VF 20
BAD TO WORSE: Haas might have to endure another poor season in 2020

After challenging Renault for best of the rest spot in 2018, Haas came crashing down to earth in 2019. We’re predicting another bad year for the American outfit, despite their striking white, black and red livery.

Testing hasn’t gone swimmingly for them either, with both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean losing control of the VF-20. This suggests that the car still has stability issues and the drivers are trying to compensate for its lack of raw performance.

READ MORE: F1 2020 – Everything you need to know

Surprisingly, Haas entered F1 2019 with the fourth-highest overall ranking, despite having the worst car on the grid towards the end of the season.

#9 – Williams

F1 2020 Williams FW43
GREEN SHOOTS OF RECOVERY: Williams could catch the back of the pack this year

Haas’ 2019 was awful but Williams had an abysmal year. The British multiple world champions were rock bottom of the constructor’s championship, scoring just one point over 21 races.

Williams have started 2020 much more promisingly though, their car has passed all of the safety tests and had consistent running. With Nicholas Latifi replacing Robert Kubica to partner George Russell, they probably have a better driver line-up too.

We think there’s a good chance they’ll be higher than Haas at the start of F1 2020’s life cycle but it will be tight at the bottom of the pack.

#8 – Alfa Romeo

F1 2020 Alfa Romeo C39
SOLID IF UNSPECTACULAR: Alfa Romeo should maintain their ranking in 2020

Alfa Romeo fans might believe it’s harsh to place their team so low in the rankings but there won’t be much between eighth and fifth places in this order.

READ MORE: F1 2020 – What new features could we see?

The midfield is looking to be extremely tight, with Alfa propping up a four-car group that will be battling for the tail-end of the points at each Grand Prix.

The C39 has one of the most beautiful liveries on the grid but we believe they’ll find themselves in a similar position to the last F1 2019 rankings. The Italian outfit should have a decent advantage over Haas and Williams though.

#7 – Alpha Tauri

F1 2020 Alpha Tauri AT01
NEW NAME, SAME TEAM: There are positive signs for Alpha Tauri’s first season

A new name and a new livery but it’s the same team and drivers that are behind outfit formerly known as Toro Rosso. Alpha Tauri almost beat Renault last season in the constructor’s championship thanks to podiums from Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.

Alpha’s car looks solid in testing so far but we believe they’ll just fall short of sixth place, where they finished last year. Seventh will be a slight improvement on their eighth place in F1 2019’s order, which was probably lower than they deserved.

#6 – Renault

F1 2020 Renualt RS20
TROUBLING TIMES: Renault’s late reveal didn’t inspire confidence in the French outfit

Renault’s late launch and poor performance in 2019 could be exacerbated further in 2020. Although they have a great driver pairing in Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, they could lose further ground on the top three teams.

READ MORE: F1 2020 – F2 needs a standalone career mode

2021’s big regulation changes could mean that the French outfit sacrifice this season in favour of long-term performance benefits. However, a sixth place in the F1 2020 vehicle performance comparison would be an improvement on their seventh in the most recent F1 2019 update.

#5 – Racing Point

F1 2020 Racing Point RP20
COPYCATS: Racing Point’s controversial approach could yield great results in 2020

Racing Point have drawn criticism from some circles thanks to the perceived copying of Mercedes’ challenger from last year. Haas and Alpha Tauri have protested against the design but this pink panther is seemingly here to stay.

Even though the design is a year old, it will still be good enough to be in the top half of the performance standings in F1 2020. This is a slight improvement on their sixth-placed ranking at the end of the F1 2019 game but there’s a big gap between them and the fourth-placed team though.

#4 – McLaren

F1 2020 McLaren MCL35
RETURNING TO THE TOP: McLaren should continue their upward trend in 2020

McLaren enjoyed a huge jump in performance in 2019, claiming the best of the rest spot from Force India (Racing Point). We’re predicting similar gains in 2020, as the team’s drivers will continue to mature and the MCL35 looks to be a big improvement over the MCL34.

READ MORE: F1 2020 Historic Content: The game needs rivalries, seasons, tracks, & more

The British outfit were fifth in the vehicle performance index at the end of the F1 2019 game and we believe they’ll be close to the top three teams at the start of the 2020 game. Don’t be surprised to see them challenging for podiums semi-regularly.

#3 – Ferrari

F1 2020 Ferrari SF1000
FALTERING HORSE: Ferrari could have a difficult year in 2020

Ferrari’s testing hasn’t gone to plan so far and we believe they’ll drop to third in the performance index for 2020. The red car will still be one that can win races but it’ll face very stiff competition from the Red Bull and even the McLarens.

The SF1000 could even have a similar gap between itself and second place as what it has to the McLarens behind. The Ferrari could well still have the most powerful engine on the grid but its aerodynamics and mechanical grip (chassis) will let it down.

#2 – Red Bull

F1 2020 Red Bull RB16
RISING STARS: With two drivers that agree with the car, RBR should have a better year

Red Bull had a car that could have challenged for second in the constructor’s championship but Gasly’s poor performances prevented this. The RB16 looks radically different to its predecessor, with its very thin nose and very tight rear end.

This is a bold call but we think that RBR will have a decent advantage over Ferrari but still be a long way behind our pick for the number one team:

#1 – Mercedes

F1 2020 Mercedes W11
STILL ON TOP: Mercedes have made the predictably perfect start to their 2020 season

It couldn’t be anyone else at the top of the Formula 1 tree could it? Mercedes-Benz have absolutely dominated the V6-hybrid era and we believe the Silver Arrows will continue this in 2020.

Their innovative DAS system will give them an advantage on the straights that no other team has, the impact it’ll have will be similar to the F-duct back in the V8 days.

READ MORE: F1 2020: Mercedes’ DAS will revolutionise setups

Just like F1 2019, they’ll have the highest vehicle performance index ranking and we think they’ll have an even bigger advantage over second-place than before, reminiscent of their margin in 2014-16.

George Howson

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