Mercedes revealed the W08 today with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both getting the opportunity to take the new machinery out for a spin on a very windy and wet Silverstone track. The car looks good, fast, and doesn’t feature the shark fin we’ve seen at the other launches, instead a smaller t-shaped piece of carbon fibre is currently at the rear of the car.
Vijay Mallya made an appearance at the launch of Force India’s 2017 car today, and he wasn’t pulling any punches about the team’s optimism for the coming season. Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon were on hand to pull the covers off the VJM10 during the launch at Silverstone, revealing a car with a similar paint scheme to last year, the now expected shark fin, the lower rear wing, and an unsightly bump at the front of the car leading down to the nose.
Sauber released images of their new car on Monday, and have now unleashed the real thing out on track. Undertaking a filming day at the Circuit de Catalunya, Marcus Ericsson got a taster of what his new car can deliver, although of course we won't know any details until testing gets underway next week.
BBC Radio 5live sent their current affairs programme for a spot of outside broadcasting today, with presenter Sarah Brett joining Formula One commentator Jack Nicholls at the Mercedes factory. It's the day before Mercedes launch their new car, so you can imagine the pressure is high and the excitement mounting, but the staff still found time to make sure Sarah's phone had a sticker over the camera to stop any covert shooting.
With the launch of the R.S.17 today, Renault also confirmed two new drivers to their books – but it’s not what you think. Hülkenberg and Palmer are still gainfully employed but in addition, Sergey Sirotkin has been given the role of reserve driver which is a step up from his test driver duties of last season. He will participate in some Friday practice sessions and be on hand in case of emergency.
The Renault squad have been the first to offer 2017 a full on car launch, with drivers on hand to pull off the covers and a variety of fresh faces getting chatty about the machinery. The team are putting a lot of pressure on themselves this year, as they consider it their first full year as a works team, rather than coming out from underneath what Lotus left behind.
With ten teams ready and waiting in the wings to pull the covers off their 2017 challengers, it's time for this year's launches to get underway. Ahead of pre-season testing, all ten squads will reveal their new cars within the space of seven days and this is the spot to follow all the action as it unfolds. From McLaren's new livery, to defending champions Mercedes and their many team changes, follow along with the Factbyte Factbox as we celebrate F1's 2017 launch week!
New Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein has confirmed that he won’t be participating in the first pre-season testing in Barcelona, which gets underway in just over a week. The former Manor driver hurt his back during the Race of Champions in December, after an accident saw his car flip into a barrier.
The musical chairs at the top of the fastest teams appears to be complete now, with James Allison signing on to champions Mercedes to become their technical director. Allison left the Ferrari squad mid-way through 2016 after a three year stint, but now he will be in charge at Mercedes.
With launches just around the corner, teams are making the final tweaks to their line-ups ahead of the 2017 season. Williams have confirmed the appointment of Dirk de Beer, bringing him on board as head of aerodynamics to start next month. Dirk was previously employed at Ferrari but has also worked at Sauber and Renault.
The pre-season is really starting to gather steam now, with last minute changes to the engineering lineups, sneaky peeks at new liveries and launch preparations, and so many social media posts from drivers doing their last minute training. Launches and testing are rapidly heading towards us, but until then, here are a few posts and links to keep you occupied.
The McLaren team have confirmed that two of their senior management have departed with just a couple of weeks to go before the launch of the 2017 car. Chief Executive Officer Jost Capito has parted company with the team, ending speculation that he would be following Ron Dennis out the door. Dennis signed him to the squad midway through the 2016 season, but he’s on his way already.
This is a quote from Claire Williams, deputy team principal of the Williams team, as she shared her thoughts about Valtteri Bottas. With the Finn’s departure to Mercedes, an emotional hole has been left at the Williams team, as he’s been with them for many years, building up the team, as well as working through the stages of his own career. And it was Claire’s words here that made me realise just how many different types of drivers there are in Formula One, and just how many words there are to describe them.
McLaren have been hinting at the fact the team will be going through some changes this year, firstly with a glimpse of some potentially orange paintwork, and today revealing a new naming style for the car itself. Where previously the cars have been consecutively named the MP4-28, 29, 30 and 31, this year they’re stripping all that out.
The FIA have been sourcing feedback from the drivers who tested the halo cockpit device during the 2016 season, and have revealed that the results are mixed. Only 16 drivers have reportedly given their thoughts on the device, and the FIA say that “opinion is divided 50/50.”
The Manor team have folded as of Friday 27th January, after the administrators were unable to find a buyer or investor to save the squad. Staff were told to go home early on Friday with over 200 employees now faced with finding new jobs. The administrators said they couldn’t find a structure that would keep the group as a going concern in a sustainable fashion, and sadly Manor have officially called it a day.
There was incredible news this week with the removal of Bernie Ecclestone from the head of F1, replaced by Chase Carey and friends. It's no wonder the online world has been reeling in response. In this week's round up of great F1 links to read and enjoy, we've got a couple of posts on that subject but also much, much more.
Renault Sport have announced today they are partnering with BP and Castrol for their fuel and oil needs, embarking on a five year deal with the global oil company. Managing director, Cyril Abiteboul, said: “With the new aerodynamic regulations for 2017, power sensitivity will increase, therefore fuels and lubricants will make an even greater difference to the overall performance of the car than they have since the new power unit regulations were introduced in 2014.”
It’s been a rough start to the year for Team Williams but they are beginning to deal with the loss of their main driver for 2017 now. Here’s Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams paying tribute to Valtteri Bottas: “He’s been an integral part of the development of this team over the past three years. He’s taken us to many podiums, he’s secured many points for the constructor’s championship for us. He’s also a great person.”
With Liberty Media’s restructuring of how Formula One is run we’ve seen the departure of Bernie Ecclestone and the incoming Chase Carey take over. Liberty have also confirmed that former team owner Ross Brawn will return to the sport as a managing director focusing on the sporting elements, with former ESPN executive Sean Bratches taking on the same role but for commercial aspects instead.
365 F1 stories
Alain Prost was born in 1955 on 24 Feb, making his F1 debut in 1980. How many points did he gain from that race?
F1 test schedule
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||27 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||28 Feb|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||1 Mar|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||2 Mar|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||7 Mar|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||8 Mar|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||9 Mar|
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain||10 Mar|