So, we have seen 1/5 of the 2017 Formula One season and we at REVVING-IT-DAILY have to say, we were thrilled by the action so far. Pretty safe to say that, for the first time since, I don’t know, when was the last time F1 got us on the edges of our seats? Oh, right, the last time F1 had a titanic battle was- um…
IS THAT [TIMO] GLOCK? IT IS! OH MY GOODNESS ME!
-Martin Brundle, 2008
Ah, 2008. That year was going well for basically every single form of motorsport that existed that year. Until, of course, the men in Armani suits with Bvlgari perfumes and Gucci loafers at the market exchanges crapped themselves and may have slightly caused what is going to be known as The Great Recession. FIA were also affected by this indirectly, as the manufacturers and other entrants started to pull away from the sport and causing some series to be either postponed or folded.
Formula One in 2008 was an example. In 2008, new regulations were announced for 2009, and I was one of those people who absolutely loathe to my death that new design which are narrower than flower shops in Hong Kong alleyways.
The narrow-body era also saw a new chapter in the 21st century era Formula One, that is a one-team domination. Of course, the average millennial F1 fans would say that Ferrari also had a dominant moment. They did, but at least they had a great fight with the Renaults and McLarens.
These new dominators were more dominant than the Lucchese crime family in the 1978 Lufthansa Heist. You can literally predict correctly who was going to be crowned the champion of that season with only watching 3 rounds! Or even less!
To give proof, here are the Constructors’ Champion of each narrow-body year
- Brawn GP – 2009
- Red Bull Racing – 2010
- and again – 2011
- another one – 2012
- you guessed it – 2013
- Mercedes AMG – 2014
- new dominators again – 2015
- still the same – 2016
However, all of that is looking to be set to come to an end with this year’s super-wide body regulations.
Now, let’s get analyzing.
What We Know
1. Mercedes are fast, but not the only one
Oh, I am really bored of seeing Red Bull and Mercedes absolutely annihilate the 2010-2016 Formula One seasons. I was expecting the same thing but damn, there is an Almighty God. Toto Wolff’s Mercedes are still one of the fastest teams on the grid. One of the fastest. The other fastest team is no other than Maurizio Arrivabene’s Scuderia Ferrari.
If you somehow managed to miss the opening round at Melbourne (which is a DISGRACE for a hardcore Formula One fan) and still haven’t got a clue what happened that Sunday, let me tell you, it was an absolute action to watch. Same thing for the Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix where Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and (sometimes) Raikkonen having a great battle for I-don’t-care-what-position. Point is, we are having a great battle this year.
2. Ferrari actually made good strategy calls
If you have been following F1 since the V6 era, you should probably be more than familiar with Ferrari’s bizarre strategy calls. Most notably being last year’s Australian Grand Prix when Vettel, who was leading, was called into the pits for an unnecessary tire change. Don’t ask any 5W1H questions on that decision. Point is, that really costed Vettel a potential victory that day.
However, come 2017 and its new tires, Ferrari actually made some great strategy calls, usually stretching out the tire usage by a few laps which could work well with the new low-degrading tires of 2017. These somehow amazing calls really pulled off at Australia and Bahrain. It could’ve worked in Russia had Vettel not encountered traffic before and after the stop.
3. Valtteri is quick
I honestly thought Bottas was hired Mercedes because of the “If you are picking a second driver, hire one who is sh*ttier than your first driver” beliefs in order to avoid another teammate rivalry. Turns out, Valtteri Bottas is actually a real threat to Vettel and Hamilton who has 4 and 3 Championships respectively. This was the case at the Russian Grand Prix (4/30), with Valtteri Bottas claiming victory, becoming the fifth Finnish driver to win a Grand Prix after Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen, and Heikki Kovalainen.
4. McLaren Honda still has a tendency to break down
In other news, fire is hot and water is wet.
What We Expect
1. 4 Way Title Battle?
Oh man, we are really hoping for one this year. Just have to wait for Raikkonen to find his 2007 form and we are definitely set for a massive fist fight in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Imagine the scenes of 2007, Raikkonen, Hamilton, and Alonso battle it out on the track, trying to get the title. Or maybe 2010, albeit much less exciting. Think about it and then think of what we have seen so far. Seems like a massive possibility, right?
2. Mercedes might just have the edge on the Constructor’s title
As much as I hate to say it, yes, I think Mercedes are going to edge out on the World Constructors’ Championship mainly due to their general consistency is much greater than Ferrari’s. I mean, 3 of the 4 races so far, Mercedes had pole position and both Bottas and Hamilton have scored podiums and victories.
Ferrari, meanwhile, Vettel is already up there with the Silvers, Raikkonen is still trying to find his 2007-2008 form. He hasn’t been the best, to put it mildly. So, I think, because the Constructors’ title are mainly decided by the team’s consistency, Ferrari simply hasn’t got that consistency.
3. Monaco might be a copy of Valencia 2009
Let’s just not remind ourselves on three things:
- Monaco is ridiculously narrow
- 2017 cars are ridiculously wide
- Valencia 2009 was an example how boring a Grand Prix could be
Valencia 2009 was a literal snore-fest for myself, I remember falling asleep while watching this GP. Literally 0 overtakes were recorded in this race. It was just like a massive train of carbon fiber chassis going at 290 kph. That was Valencia, a relatively normal width track, with narrow-body cars. Imagine the scenes at Monaco, a track barely wide enough for 1 and a half cars most of the time, combine that with the 2,000mm front track and the wide tires of this year’s car. Imagine what wheel-to-wheel racing in that situation, I think even Max Verstappen would back off.
But, of course, predictions are predictions and things could go as well as what happened in the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.