by Dave Bass

Well another season is looming and I have some more of that useful/less information for you.

Please accept my most humble apologies for the incorrect information of the following:

Ham led the most laps over the season with 566 ahead of Rosberg with 489 then Seb with 90, Ricci (74), Max (42) & Kimi with just 7 of the 1,268 laps available during the 21 race season, meaning only 6 drivers led laps. Ricci from the 1,268 laps available completed 1,267 (99.9%) Red Bull was on top with only 93 laps short of the 24,516 available laps achieving 96.3%.

Mercedes Technical Chief Paddy Lowe has left his post at the German team allegedly to join Williams, but is under contract with Mercedes until May. Ross Brawn, Nico Rosberg and now Paddy Lowe – there is something not quite right about this team. Lowe started his F1 career at Williams in 1987 as Joint Head of Electronics for 6 years before his 20 year stint at McLaren rising to Technical Chief. A potential replacement for him at Mercedes appears to be James Allison who left Ferrari last year.

There will be two rookies on the grid this year, Stoffel Vandoorne alongside Alo in the McLaren (although he did have one race last year at Bahrain when Alo was recovering) and Lance Stroll in the Williams with Massa after coming out of his short lived retirement. Other driver movements are Bottas from Williams to Mercedes, Hülkenberg from Force India to Renault, Ocon from Manor to Force India, Magnussen from Renault to Haas & Wehrlein from Manor to Sauber.

There are some major changes this year, the biggest being the wider tyres, with the front tyres increased by 60mm and the rear by 70mm. This has also created changes to the wing span with the front wing span being increased by 150mm and the overall car width increasing by 200mm.
The height of the rear wing has been decreased by 150mm with the maximum now being 800mm.
The diffuser will also be higher and wider and the sidepods are also wider.
The weight of the cars has been increased by 2kg.
There are also changes to the power unit regulations; mainly the token system has been removed and the cost of power units supplied to customer teams has been reduced by €1m per season. Drivers will now only be allowed four power units per season rather than the five last year.

The two pre-season tests, both held at the Circuito de Barcelona, Cataluña started with the first four day test from February 27th until March 2nd followed by the second 4 day test from 7th-10th March leaving just 14 days prior to the opening practice session in Australia on 24th March. This does not leave much time for the teams to make any adjustments that may/will be needed.

McLaren are still hoping they can return to the top ten in both qualifying and races with this year’s new improved Honda power unit and the new regulations. Alo & S Vandoorne are both capable of finishing races in the points.

Calendar changes for this year:
China & Bahrain have swapped places.
Azerbaijan has been put forward a week so as not to coincide with the conclusion of the 24hr Le Mans race and the German GP is once again off the calendar.
Azerbaijan is listed as the European GP, making it the 21st race under that guise, but the organizers want it to be labeled as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix for obvious reasons.

What About Drivers Nationalities This Year?
To date, excluding Manor there will be 3 Germans, 2 English, 2 Spanish, 2 Finnish, 2 French, 1 Australian, 1 Brazilian, 1 Mexican, 1 Dutch, 1 Danish, 1 Russian, 1 Belgian, 1 Swedish & 1 Canadian.

Bernie Ecclestone is no longer running Formula 1
After a meeting with new owners Liberty Media Bernie has left his role of CEO, but will still be involved as the 86 year old Briton has been given a position of ‘Honorary President’. Bernie has been involved in motor racing since 1949. He purchased the Brabham team in 1972 and became the CEO of FOCA in 1978. In 1999 he had heart surgery and a triple coronary bypass but remained active and energetic in promoting his business interests. Up’s and down’s for the man who is responsible for putting Formula 1 on the global map, thank you Bernie.

It has been announced that Manor have ceased trading after talks with investors fell through meaning, so sadly there will be only 10 teams lining up on the grid this season.

McLaren Applied Technologies will be the sole supplier of pressure & temperature sensors.

Who is now running Formula 1 with the Liberty Media in control?
Chase Carey is the new CEO taking over from Bernie Ecclestone. Ross Brawn returns to the fold as Managing Director Motor Sports focusing on F1’s sporting side. Sean Bratches, previously Managing Director at ESPN, will be the new Managing Director of Commercial Operations in Formula 1.

At last the FIA have given the in-season testing dates and venues. The first is on 18th & 19th April at Bahrain following the GP, the second at the Hungaroring on 1st & 2nd August, again following the GP. As per the regulations the teams must run young drivers who have competed in less than 3 GP’s on 2 of the 4 in season test days. In addition Yas Marina will host a post season test on 28th & 29th November, which follows the Grand Finale, to assist tyre manufacturer Pirelli with development work for 2018.

Williams are very downbeat after their disappointing performance last year to finish fifth in the Championship; being beaten by Force India was very painful for all involved. The Grove based team with Massa stepping in to replace Bottas and rookie Stroll are looking for more podiums, including the top step this year to bring the fight to Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari & Force India. (After all the team does have nine Constructors and seven Driver’s titles to their name, second only to Ferrari). That should make it a more exciting season for us all especially if McLaren – Honda, Haas, Toro Rosso and Renault improve. Sauber I feel will unfortunately be the back markers unless with their new owners and extra funds they can prove me wrong. Ricci is confident that he and his Red Bull team can fight for the championship(s) this year; it all depends on how the teams interpret the new rules and who gets it right.

After 36 years, McLaren have changed their car name dropping the “MP4” which was introduced by Ron Dennis in 1981 meaning “McLaren Project 4” as he previously ran a team named “Project Four Racing”. The team have decided it is all change at the Woking Technology Centre and will now be using the obvious Monica “MCL” before the number which this year will be 32.

Jost Capito who joined McLaren last September as the new CEO taking over from Ron Dennis has now parted company with the Woking based team.

Pascal Wehrlein is still having ongoing examinations following his accident whilst taking part in the “Race of Champions” at Marlins Park Miami where he rolled his Polaris Slingshot SLR dramatically flipping over Massa’s car and hitting the barriers. He may miss some of the testing at Barcelona.

f1 2017 Calendar