Good news, everyone: the 2017 Formula 1 season starts this weekend.
As has become tradition, the first race of the year is in Melbourne, Australia, meaning those of us in Europe or North America can expect a late night or very early morning.
This will be the first year under new management—with Liberty having purchased F1 from CVC, ousting Bernie in the process—and also the first year for new aerodynamics regulations and new tires.
The two preseason tests have come and gone, but yet again—and despite more than 20 years following the sport—I still have no idea who’s going to come out on top.
Black and round
The principal complaint about F1 in recent years—along with inaudible engines, exorbitant ticket prices, and the boredom of overwhelming Mercedes domination—has been the Pirelli tires.
Specifically, it’s about the tires’ inability to cope with more than one heat cycle. With most racing slicks, if you push too hard and overheat the tire, backing off for a few corners lets them cool down, and everything goes back to normal.
But when the F1 Pirellis of the past few years overheat, they’re ruined. (It’s possible this is caused by a particular chemical used in the manufacturing process that makes the tire compound extrudable.) That won’t be the case this year; now the tires will suffer little to no drop-off or degradation, so expect a lot of one-stop strategies, at least for the first few races.
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