by H. Mayor / photos: F1
The much awaited launch of the F1 season will take place this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix. The ten outfits are finalizing the details for the star of the competition in Melbourne. With great expectation, here at MatraXChannel we commence our analysis of the forthcoming season putting ten questions on the table:
Will Mercedes lose any race?
Spain and Malaysia where the only two countries in 2016 which ascended to a podium where Mercedes wasn’t flashing the gold. They have displayed an overwhelming dominance through the year and have revealed an even faster car for their two top drivers at the pre-season. The question should perhaps be asked of the other teams. Will anyone even come close to their level?
Will Bottas be a new Rosberg? Will he be allowed to be?
One of the most amusing episodes of last season was the internal war between Rosberg and Hamilton despite their crushing sovereignty as a team. Bottas has joined Mercedes as a ‘team-mate’ but he is also a top level driver on board the most powerful single-seater available. The question is, will he be able, or allowed to, squeeze all its juice?
Will Ferrari come up to dispute Mercedes dominance or is their fight still with Red Bull?
How far up will Max Verstappen get this year?
He is only 19 years old and has already been named as the greatest young talent of the past few years. Last year he stole the show at the grill with his technical quality and his aggressiveness on the track. The question is, is he going to stay there or step up towards higher performance levels this season? It seems so far that him and Ricciardo are going to enjoy driving a competitive car.
Where is Renault’s performance ceiling?
Is it time to dust the crown? The golden years when they commanded the F1 are far behind, but following the crisis and leaving their unremarkable performance of last season behind, this 2017 they seem to have what it takes to be back on in the spotlight: Hulkenberg and a promising new vehicle might prove to be enough to to awaken the hopes of their followers.
Has Force India hit a wall?
They were fourth at the Constructors Championships and had several important milestones last year. Hulkenberg and Pérez seemed to have pushed their single-seaters to the top of their capacity. The difficult bit starts now, and it is to do it again. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy: Ocón doesn’t seem as reliable as Hulkenberg and the new car is not as exciting.
Stroll, Vandoorne, Palmer, Sainz, Wehrlein…?
Who will be the rising star of 2017? This is a season with just one debutant (Stroll) although there are several young drivers on a fixed post from the start and the excitement of a season where they could shine. Who would you put your bets on?
Will Massa regret regretting to quit?
He even had a farewell tribute in Brazil when he decided to quit the track. Weeks later he changed his mind and decided to lend his hand to the Williams’ project for one more year; a project close to his heart. It doesn’t seem to have been a smooth return: Bottas leaving means he has to carry all the responsibility, at least at the beginning, or until the fresher Stroll has developed enough to ease his load.
When will Fernando Alonso get his first point?
There is no end to McLaren’s nightmare. An absolutely disastrous pre-season and now rumours that they might break up with Honda completely and source another engine on the go. An unreal situation to be immersed into for a sub-champion like Fernando Alonso. Some are saying he is going to have trouble to scratch any point until the season is well underway.
Will the new F1 lose even more fans?
The latest years have been a struggle when it comes to television audiences. Some say the show and the excitement have been lost as the victory is merely determined by driving the fastest car. This year, deep regulatory changes have been introduced aiming at easing this problem… but many think these will just make it worse. Another of the great questions of 2017.