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F1 Countdown- One Week to Go
The wait is almost over. The new cars will finally become reality next weekend at Melbourne’s 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Ten teams but will it be a 3 horse race?
Following eight days of pre-season testing, in two sessions in Barcelona, it seems that the leading teams may be a lot closer than they have been since Mercedes’ three-year domination started. Ferrari have been very fast, with Mercedes not far behind and Red Bull and Williams also looking promising.
Ferrari's new car is not dissimilar to others, with its thumb print nose, wider front wing, lower rear wing and shark fin, but the Scuderia have been very adventurous with the design of the sidepods and the work seems to have paid off. The result is a car that looks to have plenty of the aerodynamic grip that its three predecessors lacked in comparison with Mercedes and Red Bull.
Mercedes have produced another very neat car, the W08 EQ Power+, which impressed observers at its launch with the outstanding neatness of its packaging. And until the Toro Rosso STR12 was revealed, the Silver Arrow appeared to have a unique shape. It retains its distinct and elegant nose, and has extraordinarily well packaged sidepods.
It’s not only Mercedes who have made progress with their engine over the winter. Renault’s new RE17 power unit is “95% different” according engine chief Remi Taffin. That’s great news for Red Bull and Toro Rosso as well as Renault themselves, but the new power unit’s ERS system has been a little unreliable which as caused some consternation.
So who will win in Melbourne?
If testing is taken at face value, Ferrari start favourites with Mercedes and Red Bull very close behind and Williams heading the tight midfield bunch which will include Force India, Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas. But at this early stage, reliability will be as important as sheer speed, which will favour Mercedes and Ferrari.