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Expected Changes for the 2017 F1 Season

Over the last one decade, Formula One has lost the thrill and this is evident in the decreased number of people attending races. That the German and British GPs are struggling to get funding shows just how low the sport has fallen. However, there is some silver lining especially with the entry of Liberty Media and expected change in leadership.

There are also some new changes that are set to revolutionise the sport. Some of these have come from fan complaints. It seems the sport is becoming more complicated every passing day and this became clear when FIA could not make up its mind on how best to handle the start. The new rules for 2016 eventually ended up being shelved.

In the 2016 Brazil GP, Fernando Alonso, one of the most respected drivers on the grid complained how boring the race was for those on the paddock and this was not the first time he was doing this. Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber among other F1 experts have also complained about the state of Formula One.

So, what has F1 decided to change for 2017 to spice things up? Take a look:

rules1.     Wider Cars

This has always been a concern with fans especially those who were used to Senna and Alain Prost track monsters. The next season is going to witness larger cars with an increase of 20 millimeters in overall width and larger tires. This means cars will experience more drag, but this will be no problem because there is an increase in fuel allowance for the races from 100kg to 105 kg. Can larger cars race faster? This is the motivation behind this new rule, but it remains to be seen whether the 2017 cars will add to the thrill on the tracks.

2.     Wider Tires

When it comes to F1, tires cause a lot of debate and in fact, Pirelli doesn’t seem to see eye to eye with the teams. The tire manufacturer has been forced to make changes over the years in order to make cars race faster, but it claims this is eating up revenues. For 2017, Pirelli has once again been forced to introduce wider tires in order to slash lap times. At the moment, front tires are 305-355mm and 365-380mm at the rear. For the new season, the rear tires will move to the front while the back tires will now be 450-465mm.

Sidepods3.     Sidepods

The issue of aesthetics has always been a big one and to improve the outlook of the new cars the side pods will now have an angle leading edge inclined at 15 degrees when you check it from above. FIA says this will not affect performance but cars will look more appealing to fans.

4.     Larger Front Wing

FIA has gone back to the 2009-2013 seasons to borrow the front wing size. The front wing will now be 1,800mm enabling cars to produce more downforce. Drivers will manage airflow through a larger gap.

There are more technical changes proposed and it remains to be seen the impact they will have in the 2017 F1 season.

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Potential Winners at 2015 Monaco GP

MonacoGrandPrixFour thrilling F1 races are down, and the Spanish GP is up for grabs before racing excitement comes to Monaco. Well, you have to give credit where it is due, especially regarding Vettel and Ferrari exploits, and the seemingly ominous Mercedes WO6.

Monaco Still Reigns

Nevertheless, you have to agree that Monaco GP is still the arena where champions are born. Whatever other circuits offer, the glamour, hairpins, prestige and thrill of Monaco is still unrivalled. As you continue counting down the days to Monte Carlo action, why not look at possible winners on the streets. If you are going to enjoy the live action have you booked your hospitality package yet?

After all, Monaco Grand Prix is not your everyday track; Graham Hill, Stirling Moss, Michael Schumacher, Prost and the legendary Ayrton Senna all made their mark here. Here are some ideas of drivers who have impressed so far in 2015 and who can go on to join the Monaco Hall of Fame:

1. Lewis Hamilton

The Briton is amiable, ambitious and a raw driver to boot who is ravenously seeking to emulate his childhood hero Senna. Luck is on his side considering the W06 is simply superb. The fact that Lewis thrives on challenges means Vettel and Nico Rosberg have a fight on their hands.

2. Sebastian Vettel

Sometime last September, Vettel dropped a bombshell; after winning the title four years with Red Bull Racing, he was making a gamble of his life by heading to struggling Ferrari. At Sepang in Malaysia, the genius in this daring move showed when the German won and beat off the better Mercedes W06 operated by Rosberg and defending champion Hamilton.

Vettel has won once on Monte Carlo streets. The SF-15T is incredible and, well he is a daring driver too; you better watch out for baby-Schumacher in Monaco.

3. Nico Rosberg

Nico is the scientist while Hamilton is a raw driver. What that means is his races are methodical, which explains consistency. The German is also calm and never allows emotions cloud judgment, which is critical in tight races. With two wins in the city he calls home, you can bet he will be pushing hard on the Monte Carlo streets.

4. Kimi Räikkönen    

Australia GP wasn’t all good for the Iceman who had to retire, but at Malaysia GP, he showed the reason he is considered one of the best drivers in F1. Kimi has won once at Monaco and with the SF-15T proving their preseason test speeds were no fluke. Be ready to see the unsmiling and ever serious driver on the podium.

Felipe Massa and Bottas surely deserve to be on the list, but considering Ferrari has proven it has better, their Williams FW37 will struggle to catch up. But then again, anything can happen in F1, which makes the sport irresistible.

Is Ricciardo Red Bull’s Secret Weapon?

RB11In Formula One, every team has an ace up its sleeves before start of the season. After preseason testing at Jerez and Barcelona, Red Bull seems to have befuddled most fans. For starters, its camouflage livery was nice but no one could really tell whether the RB 11 met expectations or not.

What’s Red Bull’s Game Plan?

So, what is the game plan for Red Bull considering its full race weekend simulations did not set fireworks as expected? The best way to look at it is what Red Bull already has in its possession of value and this is obviously Daniel Ricciardo.

It might seem too risky for a team to depend only on a driver’s talent, but it has been done many times and worked. Indeed, Ricciardo singlehandedly saved face for Infiniti Red Bull in 2014. You have to give it to the Australian considering he was not that experienced when he won three Formula One races in 2014 and had the same car as Vettel who was the defending champion.

Short Background of Ricciardo’s Racing History

The racing roots: Like most F1 drivers, the Australian started racing at the age of 9 years with TKC before moving to Formula Ford and BMW, Formula Renault, Formula Three, Formula Renault 3.5 Series before landing in F1. Along the way, he won the European Title in Western European Cup at Formula Renault and the British Formula Three title.

Formula One entry: Ricciardo started off with Red Bull in 2009 at young drivers’ tests and later as a reserve driver for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Later he was contracted to Hispanic Racing (HRT) in 2011 and later moved officially to Toro Rosso for the 2012-2013 seasons.

Red Bull and real racing streak: The real Ricciardo started proving himself once Red Bull officially gave him a top seat alongside Sebastian Vettel. It was baptism by fire but from the first race in Melbourne, it was obvious the Australian was enjoying himself. His first win came at the Canadian GP becoming only the 4th Australian driver to win an F1 race. Hungarian GP and Belgian GP followed confirming Ricciardo’s arrival to true racing.

Can Ricciardo Deliver for Red Bull?

Daniel-RicciardoWell, the big question now that Red Bull has signed up the Australian is whether he can actually deliver the goods. To appreciate the reason this ever-smiling driver is going to make it big in F1, sample this:

Smart racing respect: After racing Alonso at the German GP, Alonso was quick to praise the new driver as very smart and respectful. That coming from the most experienced driver on the 2015 grid means a lot.

Three opportunistic wins: If Ricciardo’s wins in 2014 can be described using a single word, it has to be opportunistic. This is not a bad thing in F1 and in fact you need it on some tricky overtaking situations such as Monaco and Australia.

Aggressive and great overtaking skills: According to BBC pundits, these are definite qualities of a star in waiting.

With RB11 being cited as a competitor to Williams and an improved Ferrari, there is no denying the team can confidently lay its hopes on Ricciardo’s talent and expertise.