We haven’t even seen any of the 2017 Formula 1 cars yet but there’s a lot to look forward to about the new season.
Sure, 2017 has only just begun and we are still some way off seeing the new F1 cars out on track for pre-season testing.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to a new year of F1 action and look at why we should be excited about it. Here’s why the F1 2017 season should be pretty cool:
A spare seat
We haven’t yet heard confirmation from Mercedes on Nico Rosberg’s replacement for F1 2017, but it’s pretty exciting to have a fresh face at the reigning world champions.
A seat at the Silver Arrows hasn’t been vacant for a while and with the team’s form over the last few years, it’s not surprising many expect Mercedes to be challenging at the front once again.
So, a new driver in the mix at Mercedes is exciting for everyone – no matter who it is. Reports suggest Valtteri Bottas is in pole position for the drive at the moment.
A whole host of new regulations are coming into force for the 2017 season, mainly to do with aero. Alongside the fact this will change the looks of the cars (more on that later), it’s also expected to improve performance.
We’re expecting lap times to decrease by a few seconds at the least and with the power unit configuration remaining, engine manufacturers will be pushing to get more bhp out of them too.
So, on track they’ll be faster, improving the spectacle, and will see F1 pushing technology to the limit even more.
The quicker lap times are also thanks to wider Pirelli tyres. The overall width has increased by around 25% for 2017, meaning there’s more rubber on the track. It should also make the cars look even meaner and meatier – we’ve only seen them on modified 2015 machines, but even then the cars looks awesome.
With wider tyres, more aggressive new aero rules and other smaller regulation changes, F1 cars should look pretty cool – futuristic and edgier than the current cars, mixed in with some retro elements with the wider tyres and lower rear wing.
Obviously all we have to go off at the moment is concept designs but these have looked good, an encouraging start. We’ll just have to wait and see what the real cars look like, but it should (fingers crossed) be pretty sweet.
Fresh faces, driver changes
There have been quite a few driver changes and moves confirmed for 2017. We’ve got Kevin Magnussen off to Haas, meaning his talent remains on the grid. Nico Hulkenberg has switched to Renault as his replacement.
Esteban Ocon switches from Manor to what should be a more competitive seat at Force India. Meanwhile young star Stoffel Vandoorne and talented youngster Lance Stroll are two of the exciting rookies we can’t wait to see on track.
Plus, there are still a fair few seats left to be filled. F1 2017 silly season isn’t over just yet!
Earlier in the year, it really did look like Monza would be off the F1 2017 calendar. The Italian Grand Prix could’ve been ditched altogether or been moved to Imola.
But thankfully for us, an agreement was signed for it to remain at the famous Monza track until at least 2019. It would’ve been a very odd season without Monza but fortunately it’s been saved.
Cheaper engines, simpler rules
F1 power units are notoriously expensive but they’ll become €1 million cheaper to supply per engine in 2017, which will be welcome to the customer teams. Only four power units can be used during the season too, further cutting costs.
Meanwhile for us viewers, things are getting simpler with engine rules. The token system has been scrapped and there will be no repeat of Lewis Hamilton’s 55-place penalty, when Mercedes took advantage of a loophole by releasing a load of new engine parts into the ‘pool’ he could use.
A new competitive order?
We never know what new regulations will do to the competitive order, but it does mean there’s a higher chance of things changing. When the last set of new rules came into play in 2014, Mercedes moved from being near the front to the pacesetters.
A team like Ferrari or (most likely) Red Bull could get the new aero rules right and move to the front, while it gives teams further back a chance to jump up the pecking order. Let’s wait and see what happens…