Grand Prix 2017 Australian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

The phony war is over, F1 returns on March 26th with the traditional season opener in Melbourne, Australia. Lots of changes over the winter. Following the retirement of Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas has left Williams and joined the all conquering Mercedes team. Felipe Massa has come out of what is probably the shortest retirement by any F1 driver to partner rookie Lance Stroll in the Grove team.

Ferrari keep the faith with Vettel and Raikkonen, as have Red Bull with Ricciardo and Verstappen, but there have been a few moves elsewhere. Manor won't be on the grid for 2017, which is a shame. The two drivers who ended their 2016 campaign have moved to Force India (Ocon) and Sauber (Wherlein) where they will team up with Perez and Magnusson respectively. Nico Hulkenberg has moved to Renault where Jolyon Palmer has held on to his seat for a second season. The Hulks arrival at Renault has meant Kevin Magnusson has moved on to Haas to partner Romain Grosjean. Toro Rosso continue with the two who finished the 2016 season, Sainz and Kyvat, and with Jenson Button hanging up his helmet Stoffel Vandoorne will partner Fernando Alonso at McLaren.

We have some new rules for 2017, just in case we had got used to how things were. Bigger tyres, offering more grip, greater down force from the aero with lower rear wings and delta shaped front wings. The under side of the car should also help stick the cars to the ground and we have been promised lap times between 4 and 6 seconds faster than 2016.

What did we learn from the pre-season tests? My take is that there could be some battles between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull at the front but you never know what the teams are keeping in reserve during these tests. Williams and Force India look to be behind the front three but better than the rest. The mid-mid-field will be made up of Renault, Haas and Toro Rosso whilst at the back Sauber and McLaren will be fighting to try and not be in last place.

The cars have been quicker in pre-season, it remains to be seen if we will see the promised reduction in lap times but the drivers seem to be enjoying the cars more and can push them through the corners. The only possible down side is that overtaking could be more difficult with a greater dependency on aerodynamic grip not allowing the cars to get close to one another.

I have great hopes that we should see some closer times between the top teams but I am worried that the races could end up being decided in the final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Roll on the 26th - the clocks go forward so we have a 6 a.m. start.
Im wondering that based on 2016 fitness 2017 wouldve been tough physically, but after all the scare stories. Surely just every driver has naturally stepped up their fitness programme but as would be expected & actually would be unprofessional if they didnt. just like mo farah would if he was going from racing 5k/10k to the marathon.

But i know ricciardo has said Malaysia & Singapore will be very tough
Is this not what people wanted? This is going to make it harder for the drivers, as a direct consequence of making the cars faster. this in turn will potentially lead to mistakes, which will lead to (hopefully) better racing.

Or it will be a non issue, and add / remove nothing.
It's not the technology I object to; it's the reliability and inability to have close racing that forces driving errors.
That was always the recipe for great racing during my 'Golden Age'.
To be honest I've always get excited at seeing a driver use skill to defend a position when there is a faster car behind. I think it's as much an art as overtaking if not more. DRS has taken that away somewhat but it was starting to re-emerge last year. From what we're hearing these new cars are going to make it all too easy to defend a position and we'll lose it again. I hope that turns out to be wrong though.
there will not be a single overtake on track in this race (and most others) that doesn't involve DRS
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Its definitely a slow build up to this race. Pre-season seems to have gone by almost unnoticed.

By now I would normally be getting excited about the start of the new season but I'm "meh" at the moment.

Relatively sure I'm going to record the race and watch later.

Over 30 years of watching F1 and I don't think I've ever been so underwhelmed at the prospect of a new season. Sigh. :(
I can't help but agree with cider_and_toast. The past 3 seasons have been all about Mercedes; the juggernaut that is the Brackley concern has just destroyed what passion there was. In pre-season, all the talk is about whether Ferrari have caught up. I'll answer that now. No they haven't. In race 1, the Mercs will again be 1 second ahead of the rest of the field, and we'll all fall asleep again. I hope I'm wrong!
Yes, me too, see you in chat LOL

I'll prob see you both in chat too. Whether that's because I'm up watching live in excitement or whether it will be because I'm feeding my new born son I can't tell you! LOL

To be honest I'll be writing a very strongly worded letter of complaint if they Don't make his first race an exciting one!
It is very difficult to overtake in Melbourne but not impossible turn 3 where Alonso rolled into the barriers last year is a good spot

You have the back straight and then I think its turn 11, you just have to trust yourself under braking to pull it


As for if Ferrari have closed to Mercedes or not .. everything is hoping there is some challenge to the Silver Arrows or there will be another bore fest with people hoping Hamilton is not going to walk it
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im more exited for 2017 than i was 2016 & wouldve been if rules had stay stagnant. because we have a really possibility for our 1st intra team battle since 2010, which was a brilliant season after next 6 yrs summed up as vettel vettel vettel mercedes mercedes mercedes, no disrespect to rosberg but i think he can challenge hamilton more than rosberg could. but saying that about being uninspired about 2016 i was defiente up after a great season opener last yr 1 of the best race of 2016
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