After waiting over two months, Formula 1 is now just a week away from the beginning of one of its most ground-breaking eras. The roadshow will officially kick off with 8 of the 10 teams revealing their 2017 competitors between the 20th and 26th of February.
So, in a week that promises to be hectic, this guide has been written so you will know when each team will reveal their car, where they’ll do it, what to expect, and most significantly, why each reveal will be uniquely important!
Sauber – 20th of February, Online.
So far, Sauber will be the first team to show their 2017 challenger when they release images online on the 20th of February. The team will then complete a filming day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the 22nd, just 5 days before the first pre-season test begins there on the 27th.
Marcus Ericsson will continue to run for the team in 2017, providing an element of stability. Pascal Wehrlein will be their second driver, joining from the now doomed Manor. This season may difficult for Sauber as they’ll have a year-old power unit, giving competitors around them a major advantage.
Renault, 21st of February, London
Just a day after Sauber, on the 21st of February, Renault will become the 2nd team to reveal their 2017 car at an event in London, England.
As a tribute to launch announcements, we’ve come up with our own, ft a silhouetted car (ooooh) AND a cover (aaaah)!
Save this date: 21 Feb! pic.twitter.com/AH07o5asD5
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) January 6, 2017
After scoring just 8 points in 2016, the team has employed the services of Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer to return glory to the Enstone outfit in 2017.
This is an important season for Renault as they need to take steps toward the ultimate goal of the World Constructors Championship. As a manufacturer, they aren’t here to make numbers up, meaning progress should generally be going forward. With the team fully set up for 2017, this will effectively be their first impressions in a proper return to the sport.
Force India, 22nd of February, Silverstone
The reveals now begin to burst through the flood gates as Force India will be the third team to release their car on the 22nd of February. They have an event scheduled at Silverstone, Britain, just minutes from their factory.
The team is coming off their highest Constructors Championship finish in 2016, when Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg elevated the team to 4th. However, this year Hulkenberg has departed to Renault and 20 year old, Esteban Ocon, will join the team.
The privately funded team will be tested by the regulations in 2017 as they’ve forced the team to design from scratch with far less resources and assets than competitors around them. Retaining a 4th in the Constructors would be a major win in 2017.
Mercedes, 23rd of February, Silverstone
Like Force India, Mercedes will reveal their car, the W08, at the Home of British Motorsport: Silverstone. The defending champions will then complete an initial shakedown run and filming day at the circuit.
The new regulations have so far only looked to dethrone Mercedes from their dominance of the V6-Hybrid-Turbo era. One key difference in 2017 will be the absence of the difficulty stressful relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The latter has hung his racing gloves up and Valtteri Bottas – who has commonly challenged the Mercedes when driving for Williams-Martini – will replace the reigning World Champion and partner Lewis Hamilton (a four-time World Champion) before he has even won his first Grand Prix. This could be a somewhat risky situation for both parties if Bottas isn’t up to the task.
Ferrari, 24th of February, Fiorano
After one of their worser seasons in 2016, Ferrari will be looking to set the record straight with their 2017 challenger. The team will reveal their car, rumored to be called the SF17-JB, at Fiorano, the team’s private test track, before completing a two day filming schedule.
One of the biggest talking points over Ferrari’s 2017 car will be whether-or-not they’ve decided to keep with a white livery. The white tinge returned to the famous brand in 2016 and it didn’t bring them much good luck – similar to what happened when they last introduced it in 1993. Whether or not the team believes in any sort of ‘white paint curse’ remains to be seen.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will continue to drive the cars – but it’s an important year for both of them. Raikkonen seems ready to retire and Arrivabene has always stated that Sebastian’s contract runs out at the end of this year. Both drivers will truly have to earn their spot within the team throughout 2017.
McLaren, 24th of February, Woking
Fact: 90% of the anticipation for the 2017 Formula 1 season has centered on McLaren’s 2017 car. The fabulous day will finally come on the 24th of February, when the car is revealed at their factory in Woking.
The anticpation has been so large because of one big question: ‘are McLaren bringing back the iconic orange?’ Each year, a journalist will ask the question, but this year, there’s actually some weight to the argument.
Mainly, in a vast array of social media posts teasing and promoting the 2017 McLaren car, they’ve all had a tinge of orange present to subtly hint at the potential return. Pundits left, right and center have now predicted the return of the iconic colors. Some have even reported it. (http://www.thisisf1.com/2017/02/15/eric-boullier-confirms-livery-change-for-2017-mclaren/)
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 1, 2017
This is also going to be an especially important year for McLaren as the team has gone through a major management change, with Zak Brown stepping in and replacing Ron Dennis as the executive director of the team.
The first, and somewhat controversial, change within McLaren has been the decision to announce the changing of car names from MP4, to MCL. The MP4 legacy was created by Dennis himself, coming about in 1981 when he combined his team, Project 4, with McLaren, naturally giving the abbreviation of MP4.
In terms of performance, McLaren have seemed quietly confident of their ability in 2017. Stoffel Vandoorne has been promoted to a race seat alongside Fernando Alonso, a pair that promises to balance young speed with old class.
Toro Rosso, 26th of February, Catalunya
After a break from reveals on the 25th of February, we get a double-whammy of reveals on the 26th of February, with both Toro Rosso and Red Bull showing off their new cars. Toro Rosso will reveal their car in front of the Catalunya pit garages on the eve of the first pre-season test.
Reports broke on the 16th of February that Toro Rosso will revert their livery to a different, lighter style of blue. In previous years, they’ve kept a darker blue similar to that of sister team, Red Bull Racing. The lighter blue appears to resemble the blue found on Red Bull’s Sugar-Free cans.
To see a potential concept of the 2017 Toro Rosso, Click here. (http://www.circusf1.com/2017/02/toro-rosso-str12-vestira-lazzurro-red-bull-sugarfree.php)
The STR12 will be an paramount car this year as the team return to a current specification, Renault power unit. After a season long struggle with an older specification, Ferrari power unit in 2016, a strong aero package was the only thing keeping them relatively competitive. If their Technical Director, James Key, can re-create a similar package overall, the extra power boost could see Toro Rosso become a dominant mid-field team in 2017.
And Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz will both like the sound of that as they fight for their place in Formula 1. The longest lasting Toro Rosso driver sits currently at three seasons, both drivers enter their third year with the team.
Red Bull, 26th of February, unsure
Red Bull were the last of the above teams to announce when they’d reveal , stating on their Instagram account that the RB13 will be released on the 26th. It remains unclear whether or not they’ll post images online or show it off in front of the garages like sister-team Toro Rosso.
The unique matte finish introduced in 2016 will stay on their 2017 car according to social media posts showing it on team trucks already.
Social Media has also given away hints at a far larger partnership with the luxury British car maker, Aston Martin, for Red Bull in 2017. The below photo prominently shows the logo on the team’s new sportswear for 2017. Whether this will lead to an engine-partnership in the future remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a good sign.
Overall, 2017 is looking positive for the team as the new regulations tend to favor a strong aerodynamic package. Adrian Newey is continuing to lead the car design and I’m sure both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen can extract another two tenths out of whatever he builds when fighting each other to the death. Let’s hope they continue to thrill audiences in 2017.
Nor Williams or Haas have revealed when they will release respective 2017 cars. Last year, Williams dropped their car quietly, right in the middle of the internet spin over Ferrari’s release. Haas was one of the last teams to reveal in 2016, showing pictures of their first car on the eve of the first pre-season test.
Dates for Car Reveals and Testing:
22nd: Force India
24th: Ferrari & McLaren
26th: Toro Rosso and Red Bull
1st Pre-season Test: 27th of February – 2nd of March
2nd Pre-season Test: 7th of March – 10th of March