Abu Dhabi was the final stop of the 2016 season for the Formula 1 teams and drivers. Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag, but his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, won the title for the first time in his career.
Since that race, many things have changed in the paddock. Nico Rosberg retired a few days after the Aby Dhabi Grand Prix, Jenson Button gave his seat to the rookie Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Massa decided to return to the Formula 1 and race for one more year in Williams. Valtτeri Bottas signed a one-year contract with Mercedes and Williams signed Lance Stroll as Massa’s team-mate.
The aim of this guide is to give you all the information that you might need for the upcoming season.
This year, new regulations have been applied, which affected the size, the weight and the speed of the Formula 1 cars.
This year’s tyres will be about 25 percent wider than 2016, and also the diameter has been slightly increased, whilst the wheel rim size remained the same as last year at 330mm.
The front wing span is increased from 1650mm to 1800mm and it is worth to mention that the overall width of the car has changed and from 1800mm increased to 2000mm.
Furthermore, changes have been applied to the rear wing and the diffuser. In 2016 the height of the rear wing was 950mm, but for this year have been decreased to a maximum of 800mm, while the diffuser is more powerful, as the height increased from 125mm to 175mm and the width from 1000mm to 1050mm.
The bodywork will be wider than last year’s, the size increased from 1400mm to 1600mm and finally the weight of the cars will now be 722kg plus tyres instead of 702kg which was in 2016.
Several changes were introduced in 2017 which relate to the power units. During an event the driver can use only one power unit element, in case he uses more, a grid penalty will immediately be applied, only the final fitted can be used at subsequent events without any penalty.
FIA also aimed to reduce the cost of the power units, hence from this season the power unit cost for customer teams will be reduced by €1m per season compared to last season and a further €3m reduction to follow in 2018. Finally, the token system which allowed the teams to upgrade their engines during the season has been removed.
Wet weather standing starts were introduced and from this season if a track is wet the marshals will wait until it becomes safe again and a normal start will occur. The safety car will return to the pits and the cars will take their starting positions.
According to FIA after all these alterations the cars will be by three seconds faster compared to last season’s cars.
Toto Wolff said that the 2017 cars will be more difficult to drive and will deploy much more G on the driver like in the past.
Don’t miss the second part of the guide which analyses the drivers and the teams for the 2017 season.
(Image Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)