London: Team by team prospects for the Formula One season starting in Australia on March 18 (listed in 2011 championship order):

RED BULL Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Mark Webber (Australia)

Vettel and his team will again be the ones to beat as they chase their third successive crowns, but they are unlikely to be as dominant as last year. Even so, expect a few tricks to be lurking under the skin of Adrian Newey's latest car even if testing in Spain has been far from trouble-free. Webber should be far more competitive than last year when he struggled to get to grips with the tyres and allowed Vettel to build a huge advantage early on. Only two drivers have ever won three titles in a row - Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. Only Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have ever racked up three successive constructors' championships.

MCLAREN Jenson Button (Britain), Lewis Hamilton (Britain)

After turning around a difficult 2011 season, McLaren start the new campaign in far more bullish mood. The new MP4-27 already stands out as the best looking car on the grid and testing has gone well. The gap between them and Red Bull could be wafer thin. Both drivers sound confident, with Hamilton eager to put behind him the hardest year of his career and focus on winning races and keeping out of trouble. Button, 2011 runner-up, senses a real chance of a second title to add to his 2009 championship. The easy partnership between the two Britons could be tested to the limit this time around.

FERRARI Fernando Alonso (Spain), Felipe Massa (Brazil)

Formula One needs a strong Ferrari while Italy, without any home-grown drivers for the first time in more than 40 years, expects the Scuderia to deliver. The signs are not good. One of the ugliest cars ever to emerge from Maranello has been recalcitrant in testing and technical director Pat Fry has warned that the podium could be a step too far in the early races. Massa, whose days at the team look numbered, needs to show that he still has what it takes. Alonso, who took Ferrari's sole win of 2011, will be pushing hard as ever but may have a frustrating wait for victories.

MERCEDES Nico Rosberg (Germany), Michael Schumacher (Germany)

Mercedes are looking for a big step up on last year and the signs so far are encouraging. Rosberg completed the most miles in testing of any driver and Schumacher, starting the third year of his comeback and still chasing his first win since 2006, has sounded upbeat. The Brackley-based team have invested heavily in technical staff and principal Ross Brawn is confident the car is a significant improvement. If so, Rosberg could be closer than ever to his first win and Schumacher his 92nd.

LOTUS Kimi Raikkonen ( Finland), Romain Grosjean (France)

The former Renault team have an all-new line-up and a new name as well. Raikkonen was quickest on the first and last days of testing, while Grosjean also topped the timesheets on two occasions. In between, they had to re-design suspension parts that cost them precious track time. The jury is out on how quick they really are, even if on paper their prospects look bright. Raikkonen, the 2007 champion back after a two-year absence, seems the same as ever while Grosjean looks a far better prospect than the stand-in who drew a blank in 2009.

FORCE INDIA Paul Di Resta (Britain), Nico Hulkenberg (Germany)

The British-based Indian team are ready to move up a gear and become a nuisance for more established rivals higher up the pit lane. Both drivers are highly promising youngsters hungry for success and the new car won plaudits when it was unveiled and has looked quick in testing. One to watch.

SAUBER Kamui Kobayashi (Japan), Sergio Perez (Mexico)

The departure of technical director James Key was seen as a pre-season blow but the Swiss team are solidly professional and have been going about their business in testing with typical precision. The car looks a tidy solution to the rule changes and has set some impressive times. Perez now has a year's experience under his belt and will have grown in confidence while Kobayashi knows how to thrill. Sauber's biggest challenge could be developing the car over the year due to tight budgets.

TORO ROSSO Daniel Ricciardo (Australia), Jean-Eric Vergne (France)

For the second year running, Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso start the season as a potential surprise package. The all-new line-up lacks experience but not talent and based on testing times, the car is certainly quick. Both drivers also have plenty of motivation, with the possibility of a coveted Red Bull seat alongside Vettel if Webber moves on at the end of the year. In a tight midfield, the target is top seven at least.

WILLIAMS Pastor Maldonado ( Venezuela), Bruno Senna (Brazil)

After their worst ever F1 season gleaned just five points, Williams have reason to be more optimistic. They now have a Renault engine, new technical bosses and a car that seems easier on the tyres and has covered plenty of mileage, despite some technical problems. On the downside, the line-up is very raw without the expertise of departed veteran Rubens Barrichello.

CATERHAM Heikki Kovalainen (Finland), Vitaly Petrov ( Russia)

This should be the year when Caterham, formerly Team Lotus, move up into the midfield and score their first point. Kovalainen, a race winner with McLaren, believes they can close the gap. The car will have KERS for the first time courtesy of champions Red Bull and the title-winning Renault engine. Apart from useful sponsorship, Petrov also brings experience from an established team and stood on the podium only a year ago.

HRT Pedro De la Rosa (Spain), Narain Karthikeyan (India)

An untested car, limited resources and the oldest driver line-up in Formula One (average age 38) all signal a tough season ahead for the Spanish-based team, possibly tougher than last year. On the plus side, De la Rosa has bags of experience and HRT's new owners know what they have got involved in. A first point would be little short of miraculous, though.

MARUSSIA Timo Glock (Germany), Charles Pic (France)

Also arriving in Melbourne with an untested car and one that had still to pass a final crash test less than two weeks before the start of the season. Glock is a steady pair of hands, Pic the least experienced man on the grid. Technical consultant Pat Symonds won titles with Renault but Marussia have to be creative with what may be the smallest budget of any team. Points possible only under freak conditions.