The 2017 season of Formula One looks to shake things up in a considerable fashion: wider tires, a more aggressive look for the cars across the starting grid, and the guarantee of a new drivers champion by season’s end. Before the inaugural race kicks off in just over a month’s time, we’re going to recap the chassis reveals competing in this year’s circus.
Williams Martini Racing FW40
Williams Martini Racing was the first up to bat, revealing computer-generated imagery of its 2017 contender, the FW40. Revealed in earnest today, this year’s in-the-flesh contender reveals a more aggressive shark fin than the renders, revised sidepods and air intake, with other details remaining identical to last year’s car.
The relationship with Mercedes will continue, leading one to believe the FW40 will be more than capable of maintaining its position among the top-5 finishers this season. The FW40 will be driven by the eighteen-year-old European F3 champion Lance Stroll, and a returning Felipe Massa.
Originally retiring from the sport at the end of last year, the Brazilian was quickly prompted for a return to the team after the original driver lineup was abruptly shaken-up by Mercedes acquiring previous driver Valtteri Bottas, replacing the retired drivers champion Nico Rosberg.
Next up is the C36, Sauber’s entrant for this year’s activities. Now solely owned by the Swiss investment firm Longbow Finance, this year’s car sports an entirely new blue, white and gold accented livery. The Swiss team is looking to re-establish itself among the top-10 contenders this year, and as such the C36 is an entirely new car.
The team has revealed that this year’s chassis has been ‘redesigned from scratch’ with no parts of last year’s chassis adapted to the design. However, the team will begin the season using a 2016-spec Ferrari engine as optimizing the aerodynamic package took precedent. Focused on reducing drag, the radiator, sidepods and bodywork were designed to be as slim as possible.
Heading the team will be Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein. It will be interesting to watch how the team evolves throughout the year under the ownership of the little-known Swiss firm.
Renault Sport R.S.17
Following suit, Renault revealed its hand with the RS17. Maintaining the yellow and black livery from last season, the French-owned team is hoping for a significant leap in performance compared to last year’s chassis, and have targeted a fifth place finish overall. “For 2017 our performance targets are clear. We want to take a definite, tangible step forward in performance and results. Fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship is our goal,” says Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll.
With 35 wins, two drivers and constructor’s championships under their belts, respectively, the team will take advantage of a top-10 finish, looking to push further up the grid order. The team of Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer behind the wheels of the two cars, and four-time champion Alain Prost serving as the team’s special advisor, Renault is poised for a number of significant changes in the future.
Sahara Force India VJM10
Celebrating its 10th season under the ownership of Vijay Mallya, and last year’s fourth place finish — the best in the team’s history — Force India unveiled its trump card for this year’s events, the Mercedes-powered VJM10.
Considered to be a “cracker of a car”, Force India has high expectations for this year’s effort, aiming for a top-three finish with the new aerodynamic rules in-effect. Containing few carry-over parts from the previous chassis, the car’s on-track performance is reportedly seeing gains of up to six seconds.
With Nico Hulkenberg having departed the team for Renault, the driver lineup undergoes its first change since 2014, with Esteban Ocon joining the team after his series debut with Manor in the second half of the 2016 season. He will be joined by veteran driver Sergio Perez.