Thursday, 23 February 2017

Formula 1 in 2017 means fat tires and wide wings

Mercedes-Benz GP

Formula 1 is set to be a radically different sport in 2017, and that mainly has to do with the change in ownership. Long-time F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been shuffled out by new owner Liberty Media, replaced by a three-person team with Chase Carey as CEO, Sean Bratches as head of commercial operations, and legendary engineer Ross Brawn overseeing the sporting and technical stuff. But the changes for this season aren't solely in the boardroom. 2017's F1 cars have a few notable changes compared to recent years, and this week the teams started pulling off the dust sheets to show us.

Bigger Tires

For one thing, the tires are bigger. F1 is still sticking with those silly 13-inch wheels, but they're about 25 percent wider this year: 305mm up front (compared to 245mm last year) and a whopping 405mm at the back (up from 325mm). Pirelli has also been told to make tires that won't rapidly degrade, which means an end to drivers cruising around many seconds a lap slower than their cars are capable. (The tire company was instructed to make those rubbish tires on purpose following an exciting race in Canada in 2010, except that race was exciting because the teams were all reacting to the unknown. Once everyone knew how the new tires would behave, the racing turned out to be dull as dishwater.)

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