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.
In one of the biggest surprises of a very topsy-turvy 2016 Formula One World Championship, the biggest twist hit us after the season concluded. World Drivers’ Champion Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from motorsport less than a week after clinching his championship. While Mercedes had a couple of days notice, it caught the F1 fraternity off guard.
So what happens next at Mercedes and how will that impact the grid going forward?
Like it or not, the Formula One World Drivers’ Champion is the driver who scores the most points over the course of the season. Sure, older championship formulae saw some low results eliminated so only the best finishes counted but that’s not the system we have now. You have to be consistently fast to be the WDC today.
While Lewis Hamilton may be the fastest driver in F1, he wasn’t always at or near the front of the field. Love him or hate him, that’s why he isn’t the champion for the third-straight year. The consistency, speed and luck of Nico Rosberg won him a well-earned first Formula One World Drivers’ Championship.
No matter how boring the race might be, all eyes will be on the two championship leaders. With a 12 point lead in the championship, all Nico Rosberg needs is a podium to win the championship. For Lewis, he needs more luck than skill to win the title. No one expects the Red Bulls to factor into the championship battle except Christian Horner but Lewis needs two Red Bulls between he and Nico to have a prayer.
So while the F1 Power Rankings take the grid for the final time this season, the Rankings won’t directly try to predict the outcome of the championship, just the race. But the Rankings’ favour the Championship leader.
This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix was an absolute masterclass of driving. The safety car led 28 laps having led the field on five occasions during the race. Well, that and there was this Lewis Hamilton bloke who led the rest of the way on a daring no-stop strategy as rain, safety cars and red flags fell his way. While Hamilton did his part for his championships, so did Nico Rosberg who finished 2nd on the day despite not being well-regarded as a wet weather driver.
As we reach the end of the season, the Power Rankings is starting to get divided along constructor lines. With the exception of Williams and McLaren (and who would have thought they’d be neck-and-neck twelve months ago), every team’s drivers are right next to each other in the power rankings. That includes the two Mercedes drivers. Even though the Power Rankings show who has the momentum and has the advantage this weekend, the Power Rankings aren’t here to predict the World Drivers’ Champion.