Jenson Button: The obvious one to watch. As last year’s champion driver, he’s in the sights of every other driver on the track. And behind the wheel of McLaren’s MP4-25, he has a good chance at defending his crown.
Fernando Alonso: Look out, Button. He’s one of the few drivers this season with a championship under his belt. Two in fact, and we can be sure he’s looking for a third.
Michael Schumacher: Some fear the seven–time champion might be a bit rusty and, therefore, ruthless. Others expect him to outdrive the competition outright. Either way, Schumi’s return to Formula 1 should be interesting.
Lewis Hamilton: As the youngest Formula 1 champion ever, Hamilton still has a lot to look forward to. With his 2008 victory still pretty fresh in his mind, though, and with the support of a strong team, 2010 maybe be the season for his second.
Felipe Massa: Robbed of a large portion of the 2009 season, Massa has fought hard to return to driving fitness after taking a coil spring to the face before the Hungarian Grand Prix, fracturing his skull.
Sebastian Vettel: The Red Bull driver came in second in drivers’ standings last season, leaving the scent of glory in his nostrils. Expect lots of fast laps, lots of podiums, and strong driving even in less-than-ideal conditions.
Rubens Barichello: Often playing the second fiddle to the champion, Barichello has never come first in the drivers’ pool. This season, he will become the first to race in 300 grands prix. Paired with a newcomer this year, his experience will surely stand out on the track.
Mark Webber: With eight podium finishes last year, we know he’s hungry for victory. Red Bull’s impressive testing can only fuel the fire. The big question is if he can outperform his own teammate, Sebastian Vettel.
Bruno Senna: Ayrton Senna once said, “If you think I’m fast, just wait until you see my nephew, Bruno.” The 26-year-old Formula 1 newcomer should get a lot of attention, particularly if he lives up to his legacy.
Kamui Kobayashi: New to Formula 1, he finished in ninth place at his first race at Sao Paolo, Brazil, then sixth at the season finisher in Abu Dhabi. He’s an aggressive young driver, and the only one from Japan this year.