Three things to look out for in F1 testing this week

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With the dark winter months behind us, the new F1 season is fast approaching around the corner, and pre-season is quickly up to speed this week in Spain.

All 10 teams plus new boys Haas are at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this week and next for eight days of testing, ahead of the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix next month.

Mercedes dominated the scene last year, much as they did in 2014, so the headline question ahead of the latest campaign is can anybody stop the Silver Arrows?

Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a third-successive world crown, while former champs McLaren are looking to make progress after a disastrous season with their Honda power unit.

So with testing underway and a new season upon us, here’s what to look out for in Barca…

Can Ferrari really step up and match Mercedes?

With Sebastian Vettel debuting for the Scuderia last season, the red team bounced back from a winless 2014 to claim a trio of victories.

Expectations from the boys from Maranello are both championships, with 2016 marking the eighth campaign since the Italians enjoyed a title success.

Fans say the new SF16-H looks like a winner and early indications from testing are promising with a series of fast times posted in Barcelona.

Vettel is 7/2 third favourite for this year’s title, while Kimi Raikkonen is at 40s. A Ferrari success in the Constructors’ race is 4/1.

Have McLaren and Honda made progress?

The reunion of McLaren and Honda was supposed to see a return to their dominant heydays of the late 1980s and early 90s.

Instead 2015 proved to be the team’s worst season on record, despite boasting world champion drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

Both have returned for this year in the hope of significant improvements, and while a title shot may be out of reach, it’s pretty unimaginable that McLaren and Honda won’t get it right sooner rather than later.

How will new team Haas get on?

The Formula One grid get its first brand-new team for six years as American NASCAR heavyweight Gene Haas launches his eponymous squad.

A tight alliance with Ferrari should allow the new boys to get up and running pretty quickly, and in Romain Grosjean they have a driver who will get the most out of any opportunities that come their way.

Expect the odd teething issue during the season, but some points finishes look a real possibility for the rookies.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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