March 14, 2017
Preseason tests are just over!
I think it’s clear what kind of season 2017 will be, obviously Mercedes is the team to beat. They showed all their power, not only in terms of speed, but also nothing has changed in terms of reliability.
New driver Valtteri Bottas and three-time champion Lewis Hamilton covered almost 1100 laps with more than 50000 km!
Ferrari seems to be ever gaining on Mercedes, covering almost 1000 laps and setting the best time lap with Kimi Raikkonen’s 1:18:634.
Hamilton said the Italian team bluffed…whether he was right remains to be seen but we’ll find out Melbourne!
I can foresee these two teams turning the fight for the championship into an epic battle, not forgetting Williams, they have to be really happy with their reliability so far, the veteran Felipe Massa completed an impressive 168 laps in one day only, showing that the car is really strong with 1:19:420 as the teams best lap time, this, of course, shows what could be seen as a promising start for the Grove based team. I’m pretty sure that Williams will be a constant contender for points and who knows we might even see them on the top step of the podium!
I think we will see an interesting fight in the midfield where we have Red Bull, Force India, Toro Rosso and the surprise of last year Haas. Red Bull may have finally lost their position as a title contender although Ricciardo is a great driver and he can always push his car to the max.
Max Verstappen is a race animal, given the chance, I’m sure he’d even overtake himself if he could! I strongly believe Red Bull will surprise us as usual and we will see their faces on the podium more than a couple of times. The same goes for Force India, stronger every year, with an experienced and talented driver like Perez and the new kid on the block Ocon, who showed very good pace in testing.
It will be a close fight between Toro Rosso and Haas, both have very talented drivers like Sainz, Kyvat, Grosjean and Magnussen.
Behind them, but not so far, I think we will see the Sauber guys, Renault and sadly McLaren-Honda in amongst them.
The big and worst surprise in the winter tests has been McLaren Honda…again! Already into the third year of their renewed partnership they still can’t find the way to build a decent engine.
Only 425 laps and less than 2000 km, all due to engines faults and electrical failures.
Nobody can understand why Honda, who can seem to make every other engine reliable and wins in almost every competition they enter, can’t assemble a decent F1 engine. It’s a big mystery! Honda has said they now understand what the problem was they encountered during testing and they will bring a reliable engine for the first race of the season. They are certain that after a few races they will also have a more powerful unit to offer the Woking based team.
I hope everybody ready for the first race of what hopefully will be an exciting season.
We will see just how much each team has been hiding come 24th March, as that sees the first free practice session of the year, hopefully, we will start to see who has actually improved and who has been putting on a show to fool the other teams! The first green light of the season falls on 26th March when the battle for the championship will begin!
Photo courtesy of Lindsay Scott