The “Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya”, as usual, will host the end of the silence of the “off season”, and will give us the answer to all the questions that the whole F1 paddock and its followers have been making until today.
This year’s pre-season will start later than usual, which makes it one of the most awaited and with more questions to answer.
Mercedes: Has anything changed?
The Anglo-German team faces 2017 with many changes. Without going any further, Nico Rosberg left the team after a personal decision. This has caused many management problems. Despite taking the easy decision (Valtteri Bottas), the bureaucracy has made it complicated. The German is not the only one who has left the team; so has Paddy Lowe, the team’s manager, who has set out for Williams.
Hence, Mercedes seems to arrive with all things in the same place, but with the change of aerodynamic regulation, this is still to be confirmed.
This year’s cars, according to the analysis, will be up to 5 seconds faster, so we are probably facing the fastest Formula 1 in history. This may be the positive effect, but there are also negative parts.
And that means the overtaking is likely to be reduced because these cars will be very fast both in turns and straights.
The braking will also be key, since the braking distance will be reduced. It remains to be seen what relevance the DRS will have. So, will we get bored again?
No way! The teams that have been behind Mercedes will take advantage of this change to make a leap forward. Many see Red Bull as the number one rival of the German team, but we can never rule Ferrari or Force India out.
The Anglo-Hindu team wants to reach third place in the championship, and it should be said that they know how to do things well despite being a private team. They have a new driver, but maintain the talent with Esteban Ocon, that will pair with the experienced Sergio Perez.
Red Bull and Ferrari will also have a great pair of drivers: Ricciardo-Verstappen and Vettel-Räikkönen. The fight for the victories and the podium will be very exciting.
Rookies but good
Perhaps the great forgotten of the challengers is the Williams team, probably because of the bad reputation they have taken to “fall asleep” during the year. The British team will have this year’s FIA Formula 3 European champion, Lance Stroll, a 19-year-old who is highly questioned for who he is (family) but little valued for the sporting goals achieved.
Who is recognised worldwide is Stoffel Vandoorne, who has finally become a McLaren driver, sharing team with Alonso. From our point of view, the Belgian arrives very well prepared for the category, and he will surely equal and even surpass the Spaniard during the season. Having a double world champion will be “too positive” for the GP2 Series champion of 2015, as this asset will serve him as Hamilton in 2007 to grow a lot as a driver.
Too many unknowns and only a month to start the season: this is the key moment to define the Formula 1 of 2017.