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Formula 1 2017 Expectations

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Sergio Perez driving his 2016 Force India

Sergio Perez at the 2016 Force India
Photo: Takayuki Suzuki

The 2017 Formula 1 race season has been announced, and while it is no surprise that Germany has been left off the calendar, it was certainly a major disappointment for race fans. A June 30th race at Hockenheim had been on the preliminary schedule, but a satisfactory deal could not be struck, as the racetrack was unwilling to accept total possible losses for the event. Unfortunately, the German racetrack was just not financially capable of managing an event of such status, given lower attendance in recent years.

With the announcement of the new season, sportscasters, fans and betmakers are all predicting season favorites and odds for both drivers and manufacturers. Mercedes out of Germany has taken the constructors’ title for the past three years and is the current favorite with odds currently at 4/6, meaning (if you’re not sure how odds work in auto racing) for every $6 that is wagered, you would win back an additional $4. With these kinds of odds, it is almost as if Mercedes is expected to be the sure thing.

Nico Rosberg doing donuts after the race

Nico Rosberg celebrating his championship with several perfect donuts

One surprise this year was the retirement of Nico Rosberg, last year’s World Champion from Germany. When the races begin in March, Rosberg plans to be home watching them instead of his usual position behind the wheel. This news stunned fans as Rosberg announced his unexpected retirement just five days after his win at Abu Dhabi. However, Germany certainly does not lack for superior drivers, even if they can’t afford a race of their own. Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg’s teammate for Mercedes (although British and not German) is favored this year with 21/20 odds in his favor. German driver Sebastian Vettel, who drives for Ferrari, is expected to be placed fifth with 14/1 odds.

Belgian driver, Max Verstappen, who drives for Red Bull, makes a leap from last year’s fifth place in the World Championship. Odds favor him 14/5, predicting him in second place in 2017. Verstappen is by far the most exciting driver to hit the Formula 1 scene since Lewis Hamilton finished second at 22 years of age in 2007. 2017 will make his first full season at the young age of 20, and if Red Bull cars are as strong as they claim, he will be quite the challenge to current favorite Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas in a Williams

Valtteri Bottas at the wheel of a Williams F1 car
Photo: Jake Archibald

Other changes in this season include an aerodynamic overhaul of the Formula 1 vehicles. Critics are claiming this year will see the most changes to the cars in the last 19 years, with fatter tires, wider front and rear wings, producing the most aggressive looking car ever seen on the F1 track. These changes come with a series of unprecedented regulation changes, the likes of which haven’t been seen since 2009. These changes predict the end of engine domination and the era of the aerodynamic win.

While Red Bull and Ferrari both hope to upset Germany’s fourth contractor win this season, Mercedes is set to unveil its new “beast” on February 23 and predictions stick with the German manufacturer to win again this year. The retirement of Rosberg left Mercedes in a difficult position as most other drivers were already under contract with other manufacturers. While they have not announced their replacement for Nico Rosberg, the  announcement is imminent. Finnish driver Valterri Bottas is the current predicted favorite.