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 The low-downforce, allegedly passing-friendly formula of 2009 has been replaced by a new high-downforce, high-speed aero formula.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.
Formula One has left Europe and is hoping on the plane for flyaway races. With seven races over three continents remaining and only two points separating Hamilton and Rosberg, it’s all to play for. So who has the upper-hand as the season comes to a close? Well, the answer is obvious but let’s still consult the F1 Power Rankings.
So #TeamLH technically didn’t come out on top in the Belgian Grand Prix but he functionally did. There was some very good luck with that red flag that allowed him to claw most of his way up the field. I kept seeing headlines during the week like “How Lewis Hamilton scored a podium from 21st with only four passes” like F1 sites were cosplaying as BuzzFeed. This week, Louise (that’s a Hobbs-ism) will start up front. Can he keep from being slimstreamed into oblivion? The F1 Power Rankings tries to answer the question.
For the second time this season, the teams of Formula One stayed a few extra days after a grand prix for an in-season test. With most of the teams having exhausted their experienced driver test days, most of this test was a Young Drivers’ Test in all but name. However, experience still carried the two days of the test as the fastest times were set by the 2nd and 3rd most experienced men on the grid.
The second night race in Formula One history was missing that intangible that the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix had. Maybe it was the initial spectacle that wore off. Or it could have been the fact that we didn’t have an unexpected winner as Lewis Hamilton held on to the lead from pole and was never really challenged. We did have two unexpected cars on the podium with Lewis and one was quite ironic. Meanwhile, the story of the race was brakes as drivers were forced to retire or back off massively. Continue reading
The FIA announced the provisional entry list for the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship today. The 13 spots on the 2010 grid will filled with the 10 current F1 operations and 3 new start-up teams. Of course, with all the controversy leading up to this announcement, it would only be proper that the list itself was controversial. Continue reading
Tomorrow, the whole Formula One season will be turned on its head. Either six cars from Brawn GP, Williams, and Toyota will have their controversial diffusers found illegal which will cause them to be disqualified from the first two rounds of the world championship or they will be deemed legal forcing the other seven teams to play catch-up.
So before we get to Tuesday’s game changing meeting of the international court of appeal, I thought I would be a good idea to look at how a diffuser works on an F1 car and why the solutions the three teams under protest have developed are so far ahead of the competition. Continue reading