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Musing #25: F1 2017 Preview

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I had last contemplated the state of Formula 1. Much has changed since then, at least as far as ownership is concerned. Unfortunately, it seems Bernie’s legacy will live on for some time, at least through 2017, even as Brawn seems to be presenting a more pragmatic view of the future of F1. Another shock that came through late last season was the retirement of Rosberg, but I am glad to have my wish of a new F1 champion fulfilled prior to it.

A year back, I had expressed concerns for the 2017 rules and true to form, F1 managed to pin the cow with the blindfold on, just not where it’s intended. Hence, we might be getting cars that will end up being the fastest around most race tracks but might end up ruining the show. The 2017 rules were in the least intended to “make the cars beautiful again” but that can’t be deemed to be a resounding success. Force India managed to still give rise to an ugly duckling (or platypus) while McLaren seems to have picked up the inspiration for their colours from backmarkers of yesteryears (Virgin, Arrows). In a way, it should suit them since that is most likely where they will end up this season.

Quite dreadfully, Mercedes seems to have picked up from where they left last season. However, Ferrari posted impressive lap times on harder tyres which offers some hope of a duel with Mercedes, though no one knows for certain what each team is up to. The Red Bull looked deceivingly simple at the first test, so one must assume (or hope) that Newey has something up his sleeve. Whatever be the pecking order, it doesn’t seem that the general pattern will be any different from what we have already seen in the V6 era. If it ends up being a bore fest, at least now it will end sooner now with the faster lap times.

I am still looking forward to the new season as any change is worth the attention, at least initially. It might sound a bit cynical to expect the drivers to work harder to earn their money this season but it is more so with the expectation of seeing drivers make mistakes and throw up surprises. Lance Stroll has already indicated that things are not going to be easy with his multiple spins in the first test and while his raw talent seems to be far from Verstappen’s level, there is an expectation that even the best will not be invincible. Clutching at straws we may be, but all will be revealed when the lights go out on March 26th.

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