The 2017 Formula One car reveals are some of the most highly anticipated in recent history, with new regulations meaning the cars will be lower, wider, and meaner. Big aero and big tyres is always a winner.
While Williams jumped the gun with a rendering of its 2017 challenger late last week, Sauber is the first team to reveal a car in the flesh, and you can colour us excited.
The new cars have certainly filled the brief, and are expected to be anywhere from 3-5 seconds a lap quicker – resulting in the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit investing in new, safer crash barrier for certain high-speed sections of track.
The Sauber – dubbed the C36 – sporting a shark fin and new livery, will be piloted by Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein for this season.
Last week, Williams F1 became the first grand prix team to give us all a peek at its new 2017 championship contender, the photos revealing how the new technical regulations have impacted the look of the Formula One cars this season.
The 2017 regulation changes have been designed to boost downforce and grip, making cars both faster and physically harder to drive.
The Mercedes-powered FW40 – so named to emphasise and celebrate Williams’ 40th anniversary ‑ clearly illustrate the wider and lower characteristics of the new cars.
The most obvious difference this year is the reshaped rear wing not dissimilar to the one Ferrari bolted to its Pirelli test car for tyre testing.
The front of the new FW40 is the familiar thumb-tip nose design that first became a standout of some cars in season 2014 and is close to the design Williams used in 2015-16.
Williams recently confirmed that at the wheel of the FW40 will be rookie Lance Stroll, and Felipe Massa, who looked set to retire but was given a reprieve when Valtteri Bottas was lured to Mercedes.
Williams will hope the new car and the driving strength of raw enthusiasm and wily experience will help lift the team back up the constructors’ table after the British outfit slipped from third in 2015's standings to fifth place last season.
The official launch of the Williams is February 25.
2017 Australian Grand Prix: Renault engine on par with Ferrari
Renault’s chief technical officer Bob Bell is the latest to give rise to hope that Renault-powered teams ‑ and this includes Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing steed ‑ is on terms power-wise with Ferrari, and a little closer to Mercedes in 2017.
Certainly, Renault has lifted its game since the bad days of 2015 when it was a distant third in the power fight.
Last season Ricciardo indicated he thought Renault engines were about the equal of Ferrari, and now Bell has confirmed as much, adding the French V6 hybrids were also closer to Mercedes than ever.
Bell told Autosport that last year the Renault-powered Red Bulls took the fight to Mercedes on “many occasions”, indicating that Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen were not only beneficiaries of good chassis but also that the engines have progressed.
Bell praised his engineering team for not only upping the performance but also turning the Renault power unit into the most reliable on the grid last season.
Bell feels the Renault has taken another step forward over the (northern) winter but doesn’t really expect to challenge Mercedes until 2018.