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 The low-downforce, allegedly passing-friendly formula of 2009 has been replaced by a new high-downforce, high-speed aero formula.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.
The weekend started with literal and figurative dark clouds hanging over Suzuka. The weekend started with rain as the teams returned to the site of Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident in similar weather conditions. The skies cleared over the weekend but it didn’t give way to a particularly exciting weekend. Lewis Hamilton won the race in a dominant effort but all the real interesting happenings in Formula One aren’t happening on-track.
The second day of The Lowdown’s week-long preview of the 2015 Formula One World Championship continues with some of the recent big news that has occurred. While we’ll be covering the big driver and team moves heading into 2015 in tomorrow’s post, there was plenty more happening in the off-season. Chief among those stories are the on-again, off-again entry of Marussia in the 2015 championship and the fallout from Fernando Alonso’s accident at the Barcelona test.
After barely making it to the first test at Jerez after firing up the car for the first time the day before the test started, Lotus showed that the Mercedes engine is a lovely piece of kit. Two of the four days of the Barcelona were topped by Lotus, including the top time of the weekend.
While Lotus thrived, the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams Mercedes and McLaren all struggled for consistency during the first test at a track on the 2015 Formula One calendar. Sure, Mercedes is likely to dominate F1 for the second straight year but everyone looks a little vulnerable in testing.
People were looking for all sorts of reasons why the first two races of the season weren’t as epic as everyone was hoping. Much blame was laid at the feed of the new engines being too quiet. Mercedes engines absolutely dominating proceedings wasn’t helping much. Pirelli tyres, as always, were blamed too.
It turns out, though, that all we really needed to get an exciting race from the new generation of Formula One was a late safety car to bunch the field together and allow people to run all over each other in order. Despite some close side-by-side racing at the end, it was Lewis Hamilton that led the race essentially from first corner to the last as he picked up his second win of the season.
Welcome to our Formula One 2013 preview week on The Lowdown Blog. This week is dedicated to getting you up to speed for this season with our annual F1 preview. We’ll have the usual examination of rules changes, team and driver outlooks and my predictions for the upcoming season. First, is a roundup of some news that we haven’t talked about yet on the blog. Continue reading
During the off-season, we’ll be doing periodic updates of the goings on in Formula One. With the recent announcement of F1’s rules for 2013 and 2014 and the ongoing discussion as to what, if anything, will replace the postponed New Jersey Grand Prix, there hasn’t been a shortage of news. Bernie has also been talking about the current team lineup and decided that F1 doesn’t need 13 teams. He thinks ten is enough.
First, though, I’ve been giving some thought to the McLaren driver situation. At first, I thought signing Sergio Perez was swapping Hamilton with someone aggressive and fast enough to be Hamilton-esque. After some thought, I think Perez’s driving style could mesh enough with Jenson Button that he could be a bigger threat to win the title than his more experienced teammate. Continue reading