The 2017 Formula One season has already started with the first race at Melbourne GP on March 26th. It has been an eventful offseason with the takeover of the sport by Liberty Media and eventual departure of F1 maestro Bernie Ecclestone with Chase Carey. While such changes are barely noticeable to the fans, they will eventually impact how the sport will pan out in the next few years.
However, there are other changes that will excite fans as they determine what actually happens on the track. Here are a few of these changes:
1. New Driver Lineup
The departure of Nico Rosberg has shocked the motorsport world because it is rare for a driver to retire while on top. What’s more, Nico is relatively young compared to other drivers such as Alonso who are still pushing on. His departure has seen a lineup change at Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas joining Hamilton from Williams.
Sauber now has Mercedes junior driver Pascal Wehrlein while Haas has picked Kevin Magnussen in place of Esteban Gutierrez. Renault, on the other hand, has an experienced hand in Nico Hulkenberg while Esteban Ocon moves to Force India. Felipe Massa is back from retirement and will drive alongside teenager Lance Stroll.
2. Wider cars Wider Tires
The cars will be two meters wide, a throwback to 1997. Pirelli is also producing tires which are 20% wider and while this is expected to make overtaking maneuvers harder, drivers are ecstatic that these changes were long overdue. Cornering speeds will be higher, something fans have been clamoring for.
3. Faster cars
Who hasn’t complained about the pace of the modern F1 car? From pundits to fans and everyone in between, there have been complaints about the slow speeds. Well, Mercedes’ Toto Wolf believes the 2017 cars will be more difficult to drive and in fact, the pace of developments had already noticeably increased the speeds by close of the season in 2016.
4. Aggressive Looking Machines
A race car is supposed to look menacing and this is something that has been totally lacking. Well, the FIA honchos seem to be listening and there will be an introduction of longer pointier noses. The nose will be lengthened by 20cm. No one wants to watch a winning car that looks like it just came out of a car dealership.
5. Safety Car and Wet Starts
To avoid the controversy of Silverstone and Monaco, 2016 races that are too wet to start with a safety car will be run from a standing grid once the track is safe and the safety car is out. This reduces the frustration of slowing down until the safety car has peeled off, even when the track is already safe.
6. Grid Penalty Loophole
Lewis Hamilton had his fair share of misfortunes with his engine. Luckily, his engineers noticed a loophole and changed all the worn-out parts at once because after all, the penalty would put him back in one race anyway. Well, for each part replaced, you serve a penalty in a separate race.
There you have it; better cars, Bernie out of the way and Hamilton raring to go against the likes of Vettel, Ricciardo and Max. What a season it will be!