The engines are revving and the lights are about to go out on the off-season; the new Formula 1™ season is literally just days away!
Kicking off on March 26th, a 20-race calendar will begin at Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix. Already a season sure to make noise given the impending regulation changes, driver moves and several potential world champions, there’s a lot to be excited about for 2017!
Lance Stroll joins Williams on the back of a successful 2016 where he became European F3 Champion. Canadian Stroll, 18, has proved his worth in the junior ranks and his earned his spot in the big leagues. The son of a billionaire, he is well-backed and will look forward to a long and prosperous career in F1™.
Highly-touted prospect Stoffel Vandoorne leaves the Japanese single-seater racing series Super Formula to partner veteran Fernando Alonso at McLaren Honda. Having deputized for Alonso at the Bahrain GP in 2016 and the retirement of Jenson Button, the Belgian gets the full-time drive.
Perhaps the biggest move of the off-season was the shock retirement of the newly-crowned world champion Nico Rosberg from Mercedes. Having impressed at Williams, Valtteri Bottas was signed as his replacement.
A Changing of The Guard?
Let’s call a spade a spade, Mercedes with Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have been dominant of the sport over the last three years. To put their success into context over those three years, the team has won 51 out of the past 59 races, equating to an 86%-win ratio. However, with a considerable amount of rule changes, and much stronger focus aero, coupled with Rosberg’s retirement and the emergence of Red Bull as a force in 2016, we expect things to be shaken up.
Retro Tires, Faster Times
From a bystanders point of view, tires are increasing by 25% for the 2017 season, (front tires 305mm-wide rather than 245mm, and rear tires 425mm from 325mm) giving them a look not too dissimilar for an F1 car from the 1970’s! Given the new regulations on aero dynamics with the governing body pushing for more downforce, coupled with the wider tires, we expect to cars go a lot quicker than in 2016, with experts estimating up to three seconds!
A Strong Calendar
In recent times, the addition of newer races to the calendar often seem to come under threat before they can even begin to create a reputation for themselves, most notably Hockenheimring which loses its place for 2017. Thankfully, despite some strong opposition, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza has remained. In 2017, we will see 20 races (reduced from 21) take in five continents over nine months – and we can’t wait for it to all kick off!
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