The new Formula One season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia, on March 26 and concludes in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, on November 26.
The drivers have enjoyed a well-earned break after a long 2016 season but certainly haven’t been resting up too much.
With preparations well underway for the new campaign, there is a lot at stake as new drivers, cars and teams come together, bidding for a strong 2017.
From Lewis Hamilton to the recently-retired Nico Rosberg, to new kid on block Max Verstappen – Sport360 rounds up the best of the posts on Instagram.
Empieza un mes intenso de puesta a punto, física y mental para un nuevo reto en este 2017. Estaré desconectado hasta principios de febrero. Hasta entonces... 🙏____________ It begins an intense month of physical and mental preparations for a new challenge in this 2017. I will be off on social until the beginning of February. Until then...see you!! ________________________________ #14 #fa14 #mclaren #honda #f1 #circuitoymuseofernandoalonso #liberbank #karting #kartingschool #museo #preparation
Martin Brundle, the man who just told us that he suffered a mild heart attack at Monaco last year, thinks that drivers’ hearts may be pumping hard this year because the new cars will be ‘a monster ‘ to drive’.
Speaking at Autosport International yesterday is looking forward to drivers dealing with the new mix of extra downforce and grip levels, coupled with the huge power and torque delivered by the hybrid engines.
Brundle warned, however, that higip and less degradation, as engineered by Pirelli, may not be a good recipe for helping overtaking.
“It’s certainly going to be different, the cars are going to be brutal,” said Brundle.
“In theory, I think we’ve gone the wrong way in terms of making the racing better. You hear some stories that some corners will be reclassified as straights.
“I remember driving the Red Bull it had the blown diffuser. That thing didn’t move in a lot of corners either; easy full throttle.”
Switch off those 'out of office' auto replies and let's get going, there's so much to achieve in 2017. Good luck with your endeavours Team 🏁— Martin Brundle (@MBrundleF1) January 3, 2017
Taking into account the combined effects of improved grip and the qualities of today’s power units, Brundle explained why he has his doubts as the whether the racing will be any better under the new regulations.
“With the amount of power and torque the [current] cars have got – although they don’t sound very good – I’ve driven the Mercedes, Force India and Ferrari now.
“They are amazing engines to drive; endless amounts of power – even though they sound rubbish.”
“Put that into a car with a lot more downforce and 25 percent bigger tyres – the whole thing is 11 percent wider – it is going to be a monster to drive. Whether it makes better racing or not, we’ll find out.
“The braking distances will be shorter too. More grip means they might be braking four or five metres later. That means you have less opportunity to overtake.
“The key this is: Can they follow each other? That will be the absolute litmus test of how it works this year.”
“Fernando mentored me since I was 15,” Sainz said. “It helped me a lot. Perhaps without him, I would not be here today. I owe him a great deal.”
Despite the strong bond between the two Spanish drivers, Sainz recently admitted that he wouldn’t give up a potential podium position to Alonso even if it cost his mentor a world championship in the process.
“When you drive in Formula One, you see a McLaren behind and you don’t see Fernando Alonso, the person,” he had said. “I am not just going to let him by, especially if I am in P3 and about to get the first podium of my career, or my first win or whatever.”
Despite missing out on promotion to the senior Red Bull Racing team in 2016 to his younger team mate Max Verstappen, Sainz insisted that he still regarded last season as overall a major development for him personally within the sport.
“It was a very good year,” he told the Spanish broadcaster Antena 3. “Everything went very well and I took a very important step forward in my sporting career in 2016.”
Sainz added that he was looking for even bigger improvements in the forthcoming new season, and would be pushing as hard as possible with his preparations.
“It meant that on New Year’s Eve I couldn’t party as hard as I did in other years, but you have to make these sacrifices every once in a while,” he said.
Sainz also spoke of his relief after hearing from his father, world rallying legend Carlos Sainz Sr, who last week suffered a major crash during the opening stages of the Dakkar Rally. Sainz revealed that his father had phoned him after the accident to reassure his sone that he was unhurt.
The 54-year-old’s Peugeot DKR 3008 lost control as it rounded a corner and skidded onto its side during Thursday’s Jujuy-Tupiza stage. Sainz and his co-driver Lucas Cruz were shaken but injured, and managed to limp the car to a service station before retiring from the event.