There was a time in Formula One when competitive racing would take place in the month of January or February. Such an occasion was the 1973 season which saw the opening Argentine Grand Prix contested in January followed by the Brazilian Grand Prix which took place on 11 February.
Having attempted the Indianapolis 500 in 2017, this season will see Fernando Alonso resume his quest of achieving the Triple Crown of Motorsport (Indianapolis 500, Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans).
After a lot of tests to evaluate drivers and even more rumours it was finally announced by Williams Racing that Russian, Sergey Sirotkin, would partner Lance Stroll at Williams for the 2018 season. While the other contender for the seat, Robert Kubica, has been signed as the reserve and development driver for the team for the upcoming season.
2017 is a big year for Formula 1 as it races under new technical regulations and its new owners settle in, having completed the takeover of the sport at the beginning of 2017. But, to me, there is plenty of potential for things to go wrong. Therefore I feel a large dose of patience will be required for all of those taking an interest in Formula 1 this year.
Formula 1 undergoes a radical change in technical regulations in 2017 with the aim of making the cars more visually appealing and to make them faster. But this has led to some wondering whether the new regulations will lead to more processional races with little overtaking.
With that concern in mind, it will only be right to begin judging the success of the new technical regulations from the Spanish Grand Prix at the earliest.
It may also mean that individual races will be seen as boring but when looking at the season it could be seen as quite entertaining as teams gain and lose ground in the development race that will take place throughout the season. To me it would mean that 2017 is more about the narrative of the season itself, which takes time to develop, rather than the story of individual races when it comes to the entertaining factor of the sport in 2017.
Ever since it was reported that Liberty Media would be buying Formula 1, there has been plenty of articles written about what the new owners of the sport will, should or in some cases shouldn’t do in regards to changing the sport.
Many will want to judge quickly the impact of the new owners and whether they have been a positive or negative change for the sport, but this can’t be gauged until 2018 at the very earliest, if not until 2019, as the new owners hold discussions with teams and other stakeholders and then spend time in 2017 debating and initiating change.
With all of the above in mind, 2017 is set to be a big season for Formula 1, I therefore feel it is best to reserve judgement and have a little patience as this new era of the sport finds its feet.
Amidst all the recent Formula 1 car launches for the upcoming 2017 season, recently I went to see The Green Hell, a documentary about the 15.5 mile track in the Eifel mountains of Germany, the Nürburgring. It was enjoyable but not a groundbreaker like Senna in terms of the way it was made.
The majority of the film is of archive footage and footage of the interviews conducted for the documentary. Those interviewed range from former and current racing drivers, employees of the track and even sim racers.
This is actually where some of the problems are as the interview segments with some current drivers and with the sim racers didn’t seem to add anything which hadn’t already been said by the former racing drivers. Although I can understand that you would want to cover the opinions of every type of racer.
What is good about the documentary is that it isn’t just about what has taken place on the track as it takes time to explore the local area, how the track has changed the local economy and some of the non racing stories connected with the circuit. It also doesn’t just focus on a particular racing series and explores why car manufacturers find the circuit so invaluable when it comes to testing production cars.
My own personal grievances about some of the interviews aside, it is a fun and informative look at the Nürburgring and provides a comprehensive story that should be great for either a racing or car enthusiast as well as those who have a more passing interest in either of the two. It may be difficult to see in cinemas as there aren’t many showings, but if you ever come across it elsewhere, it is worth a watch.
The MotoGP and World Superbike series have already begun their 2017 pre-season, edging them that little closer to the start of their 2017 season’s. They have been joined this month by IndyCar who went testing at the Phoenix International Raceway.
But the main focus of this post will be Formula 1 which will see teams launch their 2017 challengers and go testing in late February. With a lot of change having taken place on and off the track, the 2017 pre-season will be a fascinating time for Formula 1, for a few reasons.
Look of the cars
The first thing is obviously the new technical regulations which are in part meant to make the cars look more appealing to the eye. After much debate and speculative technical drawings we will finally see the 2017 cars for ourselves. It will therefore be interesting to see whether teams come up with very different designs or whether they will generally look very similar.
There have been several reports stating that some teams will be changing their racing livery for the upcoming season. This includes Scuderia Ferrari returning to an all red livery (having incorporated white in their livery last season and elements of black in previous seasons), and McLaren hinting at incorporating orange into their livery for 2017.
There could also be a livery change at Sauber after Felipe Nasr was not retained by the team and therefore potentially no Banco do Brasil blue and yellow livery for the Swiss team as well as a change of livery for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Although perhaps not in the first test and we won’t truly know until the Australian Grand Prix, but pre-season testing will enable everyone who follows Formula 1 to get their first impressions of how fast the new cars will really be. This after plenty of debating as to whether the new cars will be three seconds faster than last year, or whether they could be five seconds faster.
With the increased speed of the cars in mind, it will be interesting to see what the drivers views are about the new cars and whether they find them more physically demanding to drive, as some hope.