It’s only been 120 days between the final race of the 2016 Formula One World Championship and the start of the 2017 season but a lot has changed. The low-downforce, allegedly passing-friendly formula of 2009 has been replaced by a new high-downforce, high-speed aero formula. The caps have been taken off engine development. Tyres are wider and have been constructed to be more durable. Basically, what you remember about F1 last year is different this year.
That includes the team in front. While it sure looked like the new rules would only result in the same old, same old, there was a new car at the head of the field: A Ferrari SF70-H named Gina piloted by Sebastian Vettel who started the newest era of Formula One with a win.
My predictions last season could have been a bit more correct. I hadn’t expected the massive improvement to the Renault power unit that allowed Red Bull to finish 2nd in the WCC. I also hadn’t counted neither Williams nor Force India really making significant improvements their 2015 cars into 2016 and I didn’t expect Haas to rack up points that early in the season.
So watch as I go ahead and make those same mistakes all over again. This season’s predictions come down to the number of sandbags that teams offload from their car after pre-season testing. Everyone thinks that it’s down to Ferrari and Mercedes with both teams believed to be sandbagging each other so the other doesn’t have an accurate performance target.
So who will win the 2017 Formula One World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships? I have a punt at it today.
Never one to save teams money for too long, Formula One is undergoing another major rules change this season. Having introduced the hybrid V6s in 2014, the teams are now going through a major overhaul of the aero formula to increase the speed of the cars. While the cars look new, it may actually make the racing worse.
Just because the blog has been quiet for the last couple of months doesn’t mean that we’re not still here at Lowdown HQ. Another Formula One World Championship season is about to begin and we’re not about to let it pass by without more news and analysis from F1 most insider outsiders.
With a new aero formula changing the look of Formula One, this season has a good chance for upheaval. A new World Drivers’ Champion is guaranteed as Nico Rosberg retired before turning a wheel with the #1 on his car. While there are two fewer seats on the grid this season, there are two new drivers replacing two retiring World Champions.
The question coming into the season is whether behind the scenes and rules changes at Mercedes will derail their run of three consecutive World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships. Testing suggests that it’s possible but we aren’t sure how likely it is.
Every so often, we take a look at the most epic fails from the week that was in the Fails of the Week. This week, we have five pictures, GIFs and videos that we think are the most epic fails of the week.
The challenge with putting out an annual franchise is that the development cycle is painfully short so big changes and improvements tend to lag a bit. You’re so busy working on getting a game out that factoring in feedback is a challenge unless you’ve already planned to integrate it in the next game. Look at the plethora of EA Sports games on an annual release cycle or the complaints of stagnating Call of Duty when they were on a two-year development cycle.
That brings us to Franchise Hockey Manager 3, the first FHM game released in its new annual release schedule. While Out of the Park Developments made big changes from 2013’s Franchise Hockey Manager to 2015’s FHM2, they didn’t have time to overhaul that game’s issues in time for 2016’s FHM3.
It’s the last link-off before Christmas and all through the blog… You know, I try this rhyme every year and it’s a pain in the arse to rhyme something with blog. Maybe I should try rhyming something with “Lowdown HQ.” That “u” sound rhymes with other words. Remind me to try that next year. It might be worth an effort.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday which means that we’re here for the links. Since Overwatch is on sale and it’s a definite lock for our top games of the year list, here’s Meg Turney cosplaying as Tracer.
The GOP have shut down the investigation into the Flint water crisis and blamed the EPA. Basically, they’re just trying to sweep a crisis that could replay itself nationwide under the rug. Congress in a microcosm. (Salon)
Kleptocracy: a government with corrupt rulers that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power; what Newt Gingrich thinks Congress should functionally authorize by changing ethics laws so that PEOTUS can keep running his business. (Think Progress)
Is there a record for the quickest time from swearing-in to impeachment? There’s been a lot of talk about Trump and impeachment before he’s ever taken the oath of office. (Daily Intelligencer)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has hit theatres and nearly his $300 million for its worldwide opening box office gross. Not bad for the first Star Wars spin-off of the Disney era. (Let’s pretend that the Clone Wars animated movie never happened and move on.) While there is a wide range of opinions about the film, it does show that there is a market for more Star Wars outside the Skywalker family saga. So where to next? Maybe this Star Wars travel guide can help us find some interesting places to focus future A Star Wars Stories on.
If there’s one way to create jobs, it’s through massive construction projects. Sure, the Imperial government spent scads of money to create those jobs but that might be nothing compared to the long-term costs of operating a Death Star. Maybe the Rebels were in cahoots with the Imperials to help them create construction jobs because X-Wings can’t melt main reactors. Anyway, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story coming out today, here’s a look at the cost of running the Death Star.
We’re less than a week away from the Electoral College casting votes that almost certainly will cement Donald Trump as the President-elect of the US but it seems so odd that everyone will continue ignoring the potential issues of conflicts of interest and Russia’s hands in the Trump campaign, victory and now White House. The extra layer of review by the Electoral College is needed here but it’s not looking like any review will be done.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday which means that we’re here for the links. Let’s kick off with Anna Kendrick.
President-elect Trump doesn’t seem to worry about conflicts of interest but his and his family’s business interests are ripe for conflicts with foreign powers. (Newsweek)
The Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation has given the government the thumbs-up to legalize pot. It comes with scads of recommendations about regulation but we’re getting close now. (Bloomberg)
People suspected it during the campaign but the CIA has concluded that the Russians interfered in the US Presidential Election to aid Donald Trump. (Washington Post)