Race calendar – 2017 Formula 1 season
The 2017 Formula 1 season will only have 20 races, one less than the previous year. For the future we should expect more races during a season, as Formula One’s new majority shareholders, Liberty Media, plan to increase the number of Grand Prix races, especially in the United States, but for the moment Hockenheim, which hosted the 2016 edition of the German Grand Prix, will no longer be on the F1 calendar.
In 2016, when the US Grand Prix seemed to be at risk, it was in the teams’ interest to lobby for a solution, because rules stipulated that each driver could only have four engines instead of five if the number of races fell to 20 or fewer. That is no longer the case for 2017, so there is no incentive to find a replacement for Germany. The European Grand Prix has been renamed the Azerbaijan Grand Prix for 2017, and has been rescheduled in order to avoid a clash with the Le Mans 24-hour race that saw Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg unable to participate and defend the title he helped win in 2015 with Porsche.
Major regulation changes for the 2017 Formula 1 season
1. Wider tyres, wider cars
For the first time since 1997, the cars will be two metres wide – 20 centimetres wider than they have been for the past 20 years. As a result, the width of the tyres has also been increased by more than 20 per cent – with the purpose of generating much more mechanical grip and thus raise cornering speeds, which will make the cars up to five seconds faster than last year.
2. Longer, pointier noses
The front wings aren’t just getting wider, they’re getting a bit pointy too. The nose is being lengthened by 20cm in order to create the desired effect. More technically, the teams now have 20cm more space on the front wings in which to place all manner of aerodynamic drapery – the intended effect being greater scope for cars to generate downforce.
3. Lower rear wings
Although the height of the cars remains unchanged, the height of the rear wing has been lowered by 15cm. It will also be 15cm wider, be mounted 20cm further back and be angled to have a greater overhang. These fairly radical reformations of the rear wing assembly are part of the general effort to increase downforce.
4. Rear diffuser
‘Diffuser’ entered the F1 layman’s lexicon in 2009, when several teams – including eventual championship winners Brawn – succeeded with a novel but controversial ‘double-decker’ design. For 2017 the rules allow an F1 car’s rear diffuser to be taller, wider and further forward – changes that allow the diffuser to become even more effectively. However, these constitute only limited tweaks, due to concern for creating even more disturbed air flow and thus making it even more difficult for cars behind to follow closely, and overtake, which has been one of the most discussed topics in Formula 1 during recent years.