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.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
I know even tenths are a lot in F1 but Alonso's time of less than 2.4 secs behind Hamilton's fastest time and only 1.8 secs behind Vettel in 2nd is a hell of lot better than I was expecting from McLaren.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
I know even tenths are a lot in F1 but Alonso's time of less than 2.4 secs behind Hamilton's fastest time and only 1.8 secs behind Vettel in 2nd is a hell of lot better than I was expecting from McLaren.

Ahhh the optimism LOL

That'll have FA finish 2 minutes behind the leader at the end of the race LOL
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
McLaren will know they at least have a car to work with.

Is that assuming that no one else develops their car during the season?

Unfortunately McLaren are destined for another midfield battle all season long.
 

Road of Bones

MTC Mole
Contributor
Waking up to headlines reading "Hamilton dominates Melbourne practice" made my heart sink a bit, to be quite honest. Meet the new season: same as the old season, it would seem...
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Is that assuming that no one else develops their car during the season?

No Speshal, it's assuming with the financial resources and technology available from within both Honda and McLaren and the lack of development restrictions they will develop at a faster rate. Very difficult for a top car to maintain a high rate of development which is why over a period of time different teams have their turn at the top. McLaren will become a top team again, probably powered by Honda.
 
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olegg

Race Winner
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Kewee

Race Winner
olegg..... Second practice is far more than just practice, it's every teams best chance to test their real pace before qualifying giving them the time they need to make any significant changes before they qualify on Saturday. Third practice doesn't allow the time needed to make any major changes, it is really just an opportunity to fine tune changes they've made prior to 2nd practice. Other than the race itself, second practice is the most important time on track on any race weekend.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
F1Brits_90 no need to complicate that stat. Over 75% of F1 titles since 1990 have been won by the winner of the first race. I bring that one out every year. It's a tradition like pork pie sandwiches for breakfast at Xmas or telling that story about Brian Harvey and the baked potato every time someone mentions East 17.

Bloody hell gethinceri where were you biking? Over Westminster Bridge? Hope you heal soon dude.
 
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