According to Formula1.com, this season also features one of the biggest regulation shake-ups since the introduction of hybrid turbo power units in 2014.
Hamilton won 10 of 21 races last season, including the last four in succession, but was still runner-up behind German champion Rosberg, who has been replaced by former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas.
“We’ve got these hydraulic fluids going down there, they’re running at 300 degrees or something insane, so it’s bleeding hot”. So what’s new in 2017? We’ve got a wider front wing, wider rear wing. The rear wing, on the other hand, has become shorter and narrower to produce the opposite effect.
Reliability shall encompass a large focal point of this first race, with perhaps going the distance being a victory for some – chiefly McLaren, following their pre-season woes with engine supplier Honda. The newly designed cars look fast, furious and are already proving to be a handful for the drivers to master.
Vehicle and tyre widths have been increased, among other moves, tipped to bring more speed. If so, fans would be right to question whether the regulatory changes were needed in the first place.
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Regulation changes for the 2017 season have been brought in with the remit of making cars five seconds a lap faster and the timesheets were certainly given a hammering in the two pre-season tests in Barcelona.
“When you can make it to. a team that is on top of the mountain, winning championships and able to win races, then it’s up to you only”, ex-champion Hakkinen, once a member of Bottas’s management team, told Finnish channel MTV as speculation mounted about Mercedes eyeing Bottas.
“So far it’s been very good, it’s been a positive start with him as a teammate but it’s early days as with everything”, Bottas said.
“The guys at the factory have been working really hard to give us a vehicle that can win straight out of the box”.
For one of the coolest and most composed of drivers on the grid, it’s been two years of unfulfilment and uncharacteristic frustration which, for all the millions he must earn, can surely only go on for so long. His future at Mercedes is contingent on what he is capable of doing on the asphalt this season.
If only Fernando Alonso could join in the fun too.
It’s taken more than five years for him to earn a drive in a vehicle capable of winning the title, but now he does at Mercedes.
“I don’t fear that I will be No2 at Mercedes”, said Bottas, who has signed a one-year contract as his team target a fourth straight constructors’ championship. And the Italian team, who failed to register a single victory a year ago and are without a drivers’ champion in more than a decade, will head into the new campaign cautiously optimistic. Will the Red Bull Racing-Tag Heuer auto allow them to compete at the front?