Esteban Gutierrez, Ferrari, Pireli tyre test, Fiorano, 2016

A look ahead to 2017: What we know now about next year

2017 F1 season

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The current championship has passed its halfway point and many teams are already turning their attentions to the 2017 season.

But while the teams, drivers and circuits will remain mostly unchanged its the cars which will get an overhaul next year.

Here’s everything we know about the 2017 F1 season so far.

Cars

2016 and 2017 F1 car designs compared
See how F1 cars will change next year
Formula One is heading for another of its periodic overhauls in the technical regulations next year. Following the introduction of a new engine formula three years ago, this time it’s the aerodynamics and tyres which the focus.

The cars and wheels will become wider, the former returning to the two-metre width last seen in 1997. Compare how the new cars will look with the current designs here:

Pirelli will continue as F1’s official tyre supplier, beginning its third three-year deal. However it has indicated the 2017 season will see the introduction of more durable tyres – meaning an end for the ‘high degradation’ rubber it has produced until now:

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Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Hungaroring, 2016
Drivers will spend less time in the pits next year
Testing of the new, wider tyres began at the start of this month. Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are carrying out all of the development work in a programme which lasts until November, but they must share all the data gathered with their rivals:

The Halo head protection system will not be introduced in 2017, but remains under consideration for the following season. The minimum weight for a car will rise by 20kg to 722kg. This is an increase of 80kg compared to 2013:

Drivers

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2016
Ferrari failed to get their hands on Verstappen
No changes have been announced to the driver line-up for 2017 yet but ten drivers already have deals announced for next year. They are:

That leaves a dozen placed yet to be filled, officially at least. Vijay Mallya has also verbally confirmed Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg will remain at Force India but while Hulkenberg has acknowledged this to be the case, Perez has not.

Teams and engines

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Hungaroring, 2016
Sainz will drive a Toro Rosso-Renault again next year
Toro Rosso will return to the Renault fold again in 2017 having used last season’s Ferrari power units throughout this year. Toro Rosso also used Renault power last year:

Under new regulations being introduced next year if a team cannot agree a deal with a power unit supplier then the manufacturer who supplies the smallest number of teams must offer them a deal at a stipulated rate. At present that manufacturer is Honda. Entries for the new season are open until November 1st.

Other rules

Further rules changes are planned for 2017 providing they are approved. These include preventing drivers from making changes to their cars during race suspensions and increasing the use of standing starts for wet weather races:

Formula One experimented with a new qualifying format at the beginning of the season. It proved highly unpopular and was dropped after just two races. However a “global assessment of the format of the weekend” began earlier this year involving the FIA, FOM and the teams, so further changes are possible.

Tracks

Felipe Massa, Williams, Monza, 2015
F1 may be about to hold its last race at Monza
After an exhausting, 21-race calendar teams may be relieved to see the schedule contract next year. However the anticipated reduction in the number of events is likely to come at the expense of historic races closer to home rather than fly-away rounds.

The Italian Grand Prix still does not have a contract in place for next year. If Monza is unable to continue to afford Bernie Ecclestone’s prices the race could move to Imola. However a recently-passed piece of legislation may prevent that from happening.

If F1 does remain at Monza, next year’s race could take place on a re-modelled track:

New Monza circuit layout for 2017
Monza is planning a makeover
After a one-year absence last season, F1’s return to Germany two weeks ago was greeted by another poor crowd. The Hockenheimring does not have a contract to hold the race in 2017, but does have one for the year after.

The other venues on the calendar this year should remain, barring any unforeseen financial problems.

There were concerns over the continuation of the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas as competition from the Mexican Grand Prix plus very poor weather depressed spectator numbers last year. However a new tax deal earlier this year also saved the circuit’s owners millions of dollars.

Azerbaijan, the newest addition to the F1 calendar, held its first grand prix earlier this year and has a ten-year contract running to 2025. However the manat has recovered none of the value it lost in its late-2015 slump, meaning the race is now costing its organisers much more than they originally envisaged, something which may jeopardise the future of the event.

Over to you

What are you most looking forward to in next year’s championship? Have your say in the comments.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “A look ahead to 2017: What we know now about next year”

  1. Do we know when the FIA is planing to release the 2017 calendar?

    1. Probably the September World Motor Sport Council meeting, though a version will likely be leaked before then.

  2. Looks awesome, can’t wait for 2017. Hopefully we can have an awesome tussle between Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and possibly McLaren, with Renault leading Williams, Sauber, Force India and Toro Rosso in a midfield battle with Haas and Manor behind.
    Driver market looks interesting aswell, a few things to note.
    Williams, Renault, Force India, Manor and McLaren set for a little change. Vandoorne likely to join McLaren, Bottas and Perez to move around to possibly Renault, Ocon in the mix at Renault and Manor, Wehrlein could move to force india, Button may rejoin Williams, massa likely to retire. Can Kvyat fend off Gasly at STR, will Gutierrez beat Leclerc at Haas for a seat. Sauber’s second seat is an unknown aswell. Looks intriguing

    1. Sadly I see it a little less awesome than yourself. We can expect a battle between Red Bull and Mercedes, however development on the Ferrari is not looking good, and while McLaren may make enough improvements to fight Ferrari, I don’t see them at the front yet. I also don’t see a great on-track battle, with an increased presence of DRS due to the larger rear wings, and harder to follow due to the larger tyres. That, along with no German and Italian Grands Prix, makes it look rather bleak.

      We can expect Massa to retire, making way for another new driver (or potentially Wehrlein or Ocon). McLaren is unclear. They may opt to continue the development work with Button for another year, and give Vandoorne a year of experience at another team, such as Force India. I don’t think Bottas will move from Williams. Renault I reckon will keep Magnussen, their only race driver signing since purchasing the team (if I’m not mistaken), and may take Perez on a slightly longer term contract.

      Also, I don’t think we will see Haas fighting with Manor at the back. Haas I think will be firmly routed in the mid-field, having spent most of 2016 developing the 2017 car. We can expect another year of the same from Sauber, and possibly see Manor moving up in the competition a little.

      1. @Strontium ”harder to follow due to the larger tyres” – I don’t think the changes to the tyres will make following another car harder; actually, the increased mechanical grip by them should help it, and furthermore it’s the increase of aerodynamical downforce that could make it harder, not mechanical grip.

        1. But in fact my understanding is that there is as much increase in downforce from ground effects as from wings, if not more. There is floor and diffuser work happening. So for sure I am enthusiastic about next year’s cars.

          As much as there is good reason to doubt F1’s ability to ‘get it right’ even if just because of political reasons as opposed to actual knowledge of how to make racing closer, I think the very fact that these big changes are happening is an indication that F1 does ‘get it’ now, at least to some degree. And I’ll say again as I have been saying recently to those who just assume things will be worse…we have processions now anyway, so I really doubt it can be made worse. And if in fact it is somehow worse, at least the infrastructure will be in place for them to tweek these cars, being wider with bigger tires that degrade differently, and will at least offer the potential for a better product out there. I can’t envision the big front tires that will be less sensitive to a small temp window, getting more bothered in dirty air, holding drivers to a second or two behind the guy in front. I can envision the bigger tires creating more drag on straightaways such that teams may be limited to how much wing they can even run. Perhaps even the heavier cars might cause less wing rake to be run for top speeds to be maintained.

          I guess to me, criticizing F1 already for making these changes is kind of like saying ‘Gee Mom and Dad thanks for buying me a new car, but you got the colour wrong so you suck, and without even driving it I can tell you I don’t like it.’

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing the new look cars race on the more twisty circuits like Hungaroring and Monaco, but most of all the Baku track, the narrow section will seem even narrower and provide much more of a challenge. Not to mention the drivers looking like they have physically given there all during the course of a race, rather than looking like they had a leisurely stroll in the park.

  4. One of the features I am looking forward to most next year are the ‘more durable’ tyres from Pirelli. Hopefully this will mean a wider strategy window for deciding when to pit the cars for their mandatory stop. It should also mean a reduction in the amount of marbles scattered about off-line. This in turn might mean that there is a wider clear line into a corner and that might mean more overtaking . . . I live in hope.

  5. Just imagine a scenario Mercedes or Ferrari lose all their customers, then proceed to getting bullied into supplying a team it dosen’t want to. The forced supply rule is not going to work and all its gonna do is encourage manufactures not to join F1 and likely encourage existing manufactures to leave. Goodness me the people making the rules in F1 never think of the long term consequences and it seems neither do current manufactures. When/If Renault become a competitive team i bet you RB will lose their supply.

    1. @foreverred it’s catch-22 and the only feasible way to enforce it would be the one with the most capacity to supply doing it.

      It would be good to see Honda give engines to another team and have them beat McLaren, if only to see Ron Dennis’s face!

  6. Ofc. lets weigh down the cars even more. Take away everything thats awesome about F1 cars one step at a time.

    1. I think they seriously need to rethink the way they weigh F1 cars.

      Firstly, they should set the weight without the weight of tyres and the drivers.

      Set the weight far lower than it is – these are some of the finest engineers in the world, give them a bigger challenge to design the best car with the lightest weight.

      Then give a set weight for the drivers. The extra after the driver is in should be accounted for by using a dead weight in the seat. This gives no teams a weight advantage that they can use from a lighter driver.

      The tyres should be extra. They are the same for all teams when new, and it would stop the practice of picking up rubber to make the cars appear heavier.

      1. @strontium, with regards to picking up rubber, it’s a bit odd that the drivers continue to do it in some ways.

        Whilst drivers have resorted to such tactics for several decades, the FIA has the right to order the teams to fit a replacement set of tyres to the car for a post race weight check. Whilst it is not common for the FIA to exercise that right – it’s usually only used when a damaged car crosses the line in a points paying position – in theory that move would remove the benefits from picking up rubber after the race.

        1. I’m pretty sure they pick up rubber to regain some of the rubber that was worn off. If the replacement tyres are new one, they will most likely be heavier than the replaced ones anyway.

  7. I am looking forward to faster cars, although that does not always imply better racing. It is clear from the Rate the Race polls that it is the racing which needs looking at, not the cars which are breaking records as it is. The fact that despite having to artificially create overtaking, the show is still incredibly poor. This is what F1 should have been focusing on for 2017, not making the cars quicker. I fear that having worse racing will just result in even more silly gimmicks. But then again will it be worse? I am hoping that the increase in mechanical grip from the tyres will hopefully reduce the effect of the dirty air. Although I would not trust my physics!

    The lack of high-profile driver changes is a bit disappointing, but we are yet to see what Williams and Force India do. However I’m not convinced that they will be towards the front next year. Now McLaren and Renault is where my eyes are firmly set right now.

    Some of the new rules for next year are actually pretty good – I’m intrigued by this standing wet start system (I’ll wait and see before judging) and the no changes under red flag rule is well overdue. However there’s no need to mess around with the Grand Prix weekend. Just no.

    I’d be amazed if Germany is on the calendar next year considering how poorly F1 has done in its past couple of visits. The 2017-spec Monza is very exciting with that immense pit straight, but I would be equally happy to see Imola return. As for Azerbaijan, it was a nice idea but it just has not worked. The empty seats despite having by far the smallest capacity only highlighted that.

    We will see with F1 2017.

  8. I’m looking forward to next season as things just feel stale at the moment. The racing may not improve but the drivers will be challenged more and the cars will look better. If nothing else, that’s a big improvement for me.

    Frankly, I’m not sure it can get much worse than it is at the moment so I’m all for change!!

  9. World wide motorsports have seen diminishing crowds and in some cases events or series are in jeopardy of dissapearing. Both F1 and Nascar have for the extent held ground. Most other events see grandstands half full mainly due to ridiculous ticket prices. I find that concerning.

    F1 continues to shoot itself in the foot with these awful racetracks like Baku. Very cool city visually but a simply dumb track layout. I happen to dig Abu Dahbi believing it is a very beautiful facility. That transistion to night makes it special. Singapore on the other the other hand is a beautiful place with an awful race track layout. The under and through the grandstands racing is poor for racing and worse for the spectators. Imagine how boring it must be.

    Whats the solution?

    Keep the great tracks as they have been for decades and lower the prices. A full house by being a bit cheaper to attend is far better than half full higher priced silly tracks that drivers are not motivated by.

    Something has to change or motorsports worldwide will continue to fall by the wayside.

    Isnt the FIA rich enough??

    1. as long as the race tracks and drivers and teams are willing to pay for the privilege of racing. and nobody else can challenge/compete with the FIA, no, the FIA isn’t rich enough. This is what happens when you have unchallenged authority, it has no reality check.

  10. I would like some changes about the DRS. It would be good thing, but it looks like the FIA doesn’t want this.

    1. They might not have much choice. There has been speculation that next year overtaking will become more difficult than it is now because of the worse turbulence close behind a car. If this is so, then don’t be surprised to see changes in DRS.

      1. if overtaking is harder then DRS might actually be useful. It may get you with in an out braking attempt instead of the current motorway pass.

        This was the idea of DRS in the first place. And for this reason tracks that overtaking used to be possible are now really good races as now its possible but not easy. Everywhere is to easy.

  11. There better be a race in Montreal in 2017…

  12. Mercedes will be even stronger next year. But at least they will look ‘cooler’. Can you imagine how bad it would be if they were carrying those halos :) lolz. Mercedes will probably be 130% faster going over 2 seconds faster than mid pack.

  13. All the planned changes look like good well thought out decisions and I think they will have a positive impact on the sport. It is the unplanned ones I am worried about. The ones where the teams find out about them only weeks or days before an event and then they are gone again in a few races time. Any bets on what they might be? Fan boost like Formula E. No car Telemetry back to the pits. Double points for Germany and Italy so that the crowds turn up. Qualifying with your race tyres, but with the backs fitted to the front and vice versa. Or how about qualifying where the cars can only drive backwards in reverse gear. Sprinklers are a bit boring, so Mario Kart style banana skin release mechanisms for the following cars to spin out on. (I might support that last one!)
    Look, I am happy for all of the planned changes. I just hope the FIA has learned from this year and doesn’t add some more stupid changes as well.

  14. “The minimum weight for a car will rise by 20kg to 722kg. This is an increase of 80kg compared to 2013”
    Sigh …
    “Under new regulations being introduced next year if a team cannot agree a deal with a power unit supplier then the manufacturer who supplies the smallest number of teams must offer them a deal at a stipulated rate. At present that manufacturer is Honda. Entries for the new season are open until November 1st.”
    That’s good news for the sport

    I really hope Vandoorne gets the McLaren seat and that Ocon gets the Reanult seat.

  15. Will the strange noses be gone for next year?

  16. ‘Under new regulations being introduced next year if a team cannot agree a deal with a power unit supplier then the manufacturer who supplies the smallest number of teams must offer them a deal at a stipulated rate.’

    Sounds like a sensible rule.

    1. Yeah… Perfect. The end of McLaren plan of getting WCC with superior Honda engine.

      Now if say Honda make by far best engine, RedBull can simply “fail to agree a deal with Renault”. Good rule.

  17. I am really looking forward for 2017, hoping to finally end Mercedes’ greatest-ever domination of F1. They finally get rid of those super-sensitive tyres and the cars are going to be more exciting. I am not very pessimistic about overtaking, it’s not going to be much harder than it is now IMO. I really hope the new rules bring us back to times when F1 was exciting (before 2013).

  18. For me, consider me gone. I don’t think the new rules address the needed changes to make the sport more competitive among the teams or a desired end to the works Mercedes domination. Between DRS, the cartoon-like oversized tires and the science-project hybrid engines, I’m done with it all.

  19. I hope next season will be more exciting. Good choice to remove Monza, because Monza is a very boring track, giving Mercedes more chance to dominate… I don’t know what will actually happen if the race will be in Imola. I think FIA should make the track same as Marina Bay, giving the non-Mercedes team more chance to compete. It’s good to make the car wider, and heavier making the car will require better aerodynamics. This will make a good fight beetween Red Bull-Mercedes. Maybe, with this new regulation… a good aerodynamics car but unsupported with good engine, such as McLaren… will be more competitive next year. :)

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