Now that’s what this week has been waiting for. The Toro Rosso team have closed this week on a high with the unveiling of their new car. There was so much hype about the look of these new cars. Launch season began slowly, I voiced my disappointment with the half-baked efforts from Williams revealing the first images of these new cars.
That colour scheme. That’s how good a Formula One car can look. Its the simple things, the bold, primary colours and the basic shapes that really excite the eyes. Renault take second place for me. While McLaren, whose relentless hype doomed their eventual reveal to failure. The Orange looks incredible, even more so when the sun shines on it, but it doesn’t blow me away. Haas, grey… really? Although kudos for actually remembering to decorate the shark fin.
Who has got the design right?
There is certainly some variety in the field this year. The majority of the field are still favouring the thumb-tip noses. Although class leaders Mercedes have stuck to their own nose design. In fact, only Toro Rosso have joined the World Champions in adopting a more traditional design. The fact that this new car is quite so similar to the Mercedes in a number of ways must fill them with confidence.
Shark fins have also been widely endorsed, along with a couple of very unique and interesting looking winglets. Ferrari’s ‘T-bar’ wing that sits atop their shark fin is particularly intriguing.
Red Bull have once again revealed a mysterious addition to their car. The unexplained hole in the tip of the RB13’s nose is bound to cause a stir in the paddock. It is becoming a tradition of Adrian Newey’s to experiment with the rules and design ingenious elements within the car.
The teams have been very optimistic about their chances in 2017. Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso are all targeting victories at some point this year. McLaren and Force India are looking to challenge the top 3, while Williams are also quietly hopeful of returning to the podium. Behind them we have Renault, Sauber and Toro Rosso all pushing for a top 5 place in the Constructor’s Championship. Haas have only stated their intention to improve on last year, which will require 7th or better. Someone’s going to have to come 10th.
The teams will all have collected a huge amount of data already; this confidence must stem from the results they’re seeing from their preliminary testing. But, as we have seen many times before, nothing is as accurate as on track testing.
Testing is a time for learning
That’s not to say that anyone will really know where they stand when the cars hit the track for qualifying in Melbourne. Very rarely do we learn much about a team’s true pace during testing.
I feel like we may learn more than in previous years though. As we have seen in the past, radical regulation changes bring unexpected results, and the teams will need to know where they stand. Sand-bagging may not be an option for some. The kind of domination we saw from Brawn in 2009 is very possible.
I am buzzing for the start of testing. The first chance to see some on track action is always one of the highlights of the year for me. Time to see what “5 seconds a lap quicker” actually looks like.