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Formula One - 2017


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Where to start?

Massive changes on and off the track this season.

We have a new owner for a start.  Gone is Bernie Ecclestone after 40 years in the sport, and in come the Americans.  Specifically Liberty Media.  They purchased Formula One from CVC Capital Partners and are expected to adopt a model similar to that in the NFL & MLB where teams are entitled to purchase a stake in the sport.

On the track

Let's start visually.  The 2017 cars will be much different to the 2016 cars.

This article goes into more detail around the technical design changes.

Quote

Formula 1 is heading for one of the biggest overhaul of its rules next year, when new technical regulations deliver cars that are up to five seconds per lap quicker.

It is hoped that the changes will deliver a more exciting spectacle and make things especially challenging for drivers who will have to cope with more physical and mental demands.

But there have been concerns that all may not be positive: especially with some fearing that the increase in downforce could hurt overtaking opportunities.

 

f1-giorgio-piola-technical-analysis-2016


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f1-giorgio-piola-technical-analysis-2016

 

 

In an attempt to make F1 more exciting, the new design rules will reduce lap times by up to 5 seconds.  With cornering speeds expected to increase by as much as 40km/h, every circuit has been asked to revise their safety features in line with this.

From Wikipedia, the changes above include :

  • An increase of the width of the front wing to 1,800 mm (70.9 in).
  • Lowering the rear wing by 150 mm (5.9 in) and moving its position back by 200 mm (7.9 in).
  • The leading edge of the barge boards being brought forward to allow teams more freedom in controlling airflow.
  • An increase of the width of the front and rear tyres to allow cars to generate more mechanical grip.
  • The minimum weight of the car including the driver being raised by 20 kg to 722 kg, with teams allowed to use 105 kg of fuel to account for the increase in minimum weight.

Other changes include

  • The token system used to regulate power unit development—where the power unit was divided into individual areas, and each area assigned a points value with development of these areas deducting points from a manufacturer's overall points quota—will be abandoned.
  • Restrictions are to be placed on the dimensions, weight and the materials used to build each individual component of the power unit.
  • Teams are restricted to four power units per season regardless of the number of Grands Prix in the season. Previous seasons had included a provision for a fifth power unit if the number of Grands Prix in a season exceeded twenty; from 2017, this provision is to be abandoned.
  • The cost of a power unit supply is reduced by €1 million in 2017 ahead of a further reduction in 2018.
  • Cameras will no longer be permitted to be mounted on stalks, located on the nose of the car.

Sporting regulations

The loophole of stockpiling spare components is to be closed.  Teams can no longer introduce several new components per race once their quota is used up.  Any more than 1 new part will be penalised with a grid penalty.

Teams will now be obliged to provide power units if a team finds themselves without a deal, as happened Red Bull last season.

Not sure about this one.  If a wet race starts behind a safety car and then conditions becomes satisfactory, the grid will then line-up on the grid for a normal start and the laps behind the safety car will count.  Sounds like this one becomes a complete waste of the previous laps.

Team changes

We've lost Manor.  Although technically their slot is valid up to race 3.

Sauber will use 1 year old Ferrari power units.

Toro Rosso have moved back from Ferrari to Renault power units.

Driver changes

Nico Rosberg has retired and been replaced at Mercedes by Valtteri Bottas

Bottas has been replaced at Williams by 2016 Euro F3 Champ Lance Stroll

Massa was planning on retiring but has postponed that because Williams needed an experienced driver in Bottas' absence.

Kevin Magnussen moves from Renault to Haas and replaces Esteban Gutierrrez who moves to Formula E

Nico Hulkenberg moves from Force India to replace him at Renault.

Hulkenberg is replaced at Force India by Sebastian Ocon who gets out of Manor in the nick of time

The brilliantly named Stoffel Vandoorne replaces Jenson Button at McLaren.  Button is taking a 'sabbatical'.

Finally, Pascal Wehrlein also gets out of Manor and replaced the outgoing Felipe Nasr at Sauber.

Calendar changes

The big one is that there's no German GP this year.

Baku is now the Azerbaijan GP and not the European GP

China and Bahrain have swapped dates (races 2 & 3)

Imola had a privisional slot but it never came to pass

 

So that's about the size of it !  With huge rule and design changes you usually get a bit of a re-shuffle of the pack, but resources usually win out in the end.  I'd expect that maybe Mercedes' lead at the front won't be what it was, but they're more likely to stay there for the time being.  You'd imagine Red Bull will make gains what with Newey's genius.  You'd expect their aero to be quick right out of the box.  It'll be interesting to see how close Bottas can get to Hamilton, and I'm once again expecting big things from Verstappen.  Will Ferrari be able to close on the top 2 and willl Force India be able to maintain best of the rest.

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25 minutes ago, choffer said:

So, you're saying there might be some racing this year?

Hehe, yeah that's the plan any way.  The cars look racier and they'll be much quicker.  Not sure about the sound they'll make.  The noises (har har) coming from Liberty are that they want to move away from gimmicky overtaking (halle-f**king-lujah).  To do away with things like the atrocious DRS would mean a car design that allows the car to be followed closely behind.  They're not there yet, and they're not even sure what effect the new rules will have this season.  But at least they're trying something rather than paying lip-service. 

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It'll be interesting to see how the slightly wider cars will affect any potential overtaking, especially on some of the more "processional" tracks we'll be visiting.

Hadn't realised Nico H had jumped ship, will be interesting to see how that goes.  And we get another year of the Massa farewell tour, but he seems a nice enough lad so he can get away with it.

That wet start rule change is, interesting.  I think I'll like it, the running behind the safety car will mean some sort of dry (drier) line will be formed to race on properly - there were a couple of races last year where it started behind the SC for (what felt like) a couple of black clouds appearing on the horizon and any drama / overtaking opportunities were washed away to be replaced with the realisation that the couple of hours wasted watching this race could have been better used organsing my sock drawer.

Though, to be honest I'm still in the "new season, this is going to be AMAZING" phase, and by the Russian Grand Prix I'll be thoroughly annoyed with everything again.

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2 hours ago, BOF said:

Finally, Pascal Wehrlein also gets out of Manor and replaced the outgoing Felipe Nasr at Sauber.

Though Wehrlein might not make the early season testing due to some neck compression injuries sustained at the Race of Champions. (BBC)

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Pre-season testing - Morning times from Barcelona

Pos  Driver             Car              Time        Gap      Laps
1    Sebastian Vettel   Ferrari      1m22.791ss    1m22.791s   62
2    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes     1m23.169ss    +0.378s     79
3    Sergio Perez       Force India  1m23.709ss    +0.918s     39
4    Felipe Massa       Williams     1m25.552ss    +2.761s     39
5    Carlos Sainz       Toro Rosso   1m25.632ss    +2.841s     18
6    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault      1m26.319ss    +3.528s     22
7    Kevin Magnussen    Haas         1m26.404ss    +3.613s     15
8    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber       1m26.865ss    +4.074s     32
9    Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull     1m28.712ss    +5.921s      4
10   Fernando Alonso    McLaren           -            -        1

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1 minute ago, BOF said:

Pre-season testing - Morning times from Barcelona

Pos  Driver             Car              Time        Gap      Laps
1    Sebastian Vettel   Ferrari      1m22.791ss    1m22.791s   62
2    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes     1m23.169ss    +0.378s     79
3    Sergio Perez       Force India  1m23.709ss    +0.918s     39
4    Felipe Massa       Williams     1m25.552ss    +2.761s     39
5    Carlos Sainz       Toro Rosso   1m25.632ss    +2.841s     18
6    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault      1m26.319ss    +3.528s     22
7    Kevin Magnussen    Haas         1m26.404ss    +3.613s     15
8    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber       1m26.865ss    +4.074s     32
9    Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull     1m28.712ss    +5.921s      4
10   Fernando Alonso    McLaren           -            -        1

Woohoo! A McLaren in the top ten! :clap:

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Considering the relatively short amount of time f1 is on TV the coverage of pre season testing is ridiculous. 

Arguably the most interesting time of year because of the unknowns and there is no way to watch it and little speculative insight.

I know the greater secrecy likely means more surprises at the first race, but surely they're missing a trick here to create a bit of hype and excitement.

Personally just hope the McLaren is competitive at some point this year, and we see a few teams fighting it out. No doubt Mercedes will just walk it again though.

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This season's pre-season will also be more interesting than normal, because teams simply don't have the luxury of time in order to sandbag.  So in theory to properly shakedown the new car they'll need to use testing to its maximum and the times should be more reflective than they might otherwise be.

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god I hope ferrari and red bull can close the gap. mclaren's fate is highly depressing, but it would be even worse for merc to roll away with it straight from the off. I know Mercedes are going to be strong, but come on, let's have some battles that aren't decided by number of crashes. 

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Fingers crossed that the Ferrari pace is real, but given their penchant for topping practice leader boards over the last few years, I'm skeptical. RB haven't really shown their hand yet as it appears that they are holding back on deploying their full aero kit until the final pre-season test. They have worryingly talked about quasi-parity with Merc by mid-season though. No idea what the Honda lads are at, 3yrs in and their engine is still rubbish.

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13 minutes ago, mikeyp102 said:

What's happened to the German race?

Agreement was hockeneim and nurbergring would host the race every other season but the nurbergring can't afford to host it and hockenheim can't afford to host it every year basically.

part of Bernie ecclestones legacy, pricing traditional historical circuits out in favour of Tarmac play grounds in the desert.

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7 minutes ago, Jimzk5 said:

Agreement was hockeneim and nurbergring would host the race every other season but the nurbergring can't afford to host it and hockenheim can't afford to host it every year basically.

part of Bernie ecclestones legacy, pricing traditional historical circuits out in favour of Tarmac play grounds in the desert.

Nothing at all to do with the German authorities trying to lock Bernie up for corruption :D

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I'm looking forward to the new season at this stage but just think it'll go the same way as the others. I have a friend who works at the Mercedes plant where the engines are made. He said this years engine is knocking out 15% more power than last year! 

I also cannot stand Lewis. 

I really hope McLaren get some kind of form but again, early signs are not good at all. 

Mercedes to run away with it with the engines turned down for durability, Red Bull / Ferrari to hoover up the left overs is my prediction.

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12 hours ago, Genie said:

Mercedes to run away with it with the engines turned down for durability, Red Bull / Ferrari to hoover up the left overs is my prediction.

Which would be terribly depressing and would do F1 no good at all, as it would show that even their best efforts to shake up the pack fall flat.

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