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FROM THE GRID

2017 Formula 1 Season Preview

So the new Formula 1 motor racing season is about to start, with the opening Grand Prix to be held at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia on March 26th. There’s a heightened sense of eager anticipation this year too as the faster new cars have already taken to the track in Barcelona for pre-season testing, and the sport is entering a new era after American corporate giant Liberty Media acquired control of F1’s commercial rights, deposing the iconic Bernie Ecclestone.

This year’s cars look more aggressive, being broader and having wider tyres and wings front and rear. Increased grip and downforce levels will also lead to higher cornering speeds and shorter braking distances, making the cars noticeably more physical to drive. With the new machines likely to lap up to five seconds faster than last year, all existing lap records will come under threat, but the key question is whether these changes will improve the actual racing and the show for the fans. Only time will tell.

2017 Red Bull RB13
There have been a few interesting changes on the driver front too following reigning champion, Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement late last year. His replacement at Mercedes, the likeable Finn Valtteri Bottas, will very much have his work cut out to beat Lewis Hamilton, but it will be fascinating to see how he fares in equal machinery to his more famous team-mate.

The Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen should provide plenty of excitement again as long as Adrian Newey and Renault have worked wonders on the aerodynamic and power unit fronts respectively, whilst the fortunes of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen at Ferrari will very much depend on whether the famous Italian marque can provide them with a car worthy of challenging for victories.
Red Bull driver Daniel RicciardoElsewhere Jenson Button’s replacement at McLaren, Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne, is a really bright prospect and should give Fernando Alonso a run for his money, whilst 18 year old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll will no doubt learn much from the experienced Williams returnee Felipe Massa.

Liberty Media has vowed to add new value to the sport for all concerned, from the teams to the promoters to the fans, so let’s hope it is the start of an exciting new dawn when the lights go out at the start of the opening race shortly!

By Graham Read

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