Who doesn’t love a spot of fan fiction? The internet has become a breeding ground for theories spawned from those ‘what if’ questions generated at the end of films, TV series and even sporting spectacles.
What if Anakin Skywalker had the ‘high ground’ on Mustafar at the climax of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith? Or, closer to home, what if Lewis Hamilton didn’t catch and pass Timo Glock on the final lap at a soggy Interlagos in 2008?
The 2017 Formula 1 season has featured several intriguing narratives thus far that could trigger many ‘what if’ scenarios. For instance, in a world without the elite three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, what would the championship picture look like at this halfway stage?
With the numbers crunched, here are the facts and figures;
With the introduction of radically revamped regulations in 2017, teams have certainly stretched their technical resources over the winter. However, it’s not just the technical minds that have been made to work, with the graphics department also using up plenty of pen ink.
McLaren have brought an “orange-is-the-new-black” livery to the grid. Toro Rosso have ditched their painted bull in favour of plugging Red Bull’s ‘Simply Cola’ brand. Sauber have gone for gold accents to celebrate 25 years in the sport.
After striking a new commercial deal, Force India become the latest to reveal a striking livery. Like it or loathe it, a pink car is quite a statement. Good for Force India and a great indicator that F1 is in good health.
Force India are often labeled as F1’s best team. They may not have the manufacturer muscle of Mercedes, the heritage of Ferrari or World Championship trophies littering their lobby, but what they do have is an effective design team who convert their available resources into the maximum available points.
A record-breaking fourth place finish in the 2016 Constructors’ Standings was their well-earned reward. It seems implausible that they can improve upon what was a remarkable 2016 and break into the top three.
However, Vijay Mallya certainly believes it to be possible. On Wednesday, the team unveiled their 2017 challenger – the VJM10 – and it is certainly a bold design to match their big ambitions.
Marcus Ericsson has been a driver seemingly trapped in midfield obscurity, without a clear path to the limelight, for some time. He quietly arrived at a Caterham outfit about to plunge into disaster in 2014 before silently switching to Sauber, where more forgettable performances characterised his 2015 season.
I’m sure by this point, Ericsson fans have clicked elsewhere. They stopped reading too soon.
Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon, Felipe Nasr, Dave from the chippy and Steve from accounts have all seemingly been linked to the Force India seat for 2017. In Thursday’s Drivers’ Press Conference ahead of the Mexico Grand Prix, Esteban Gutierrez threw his name into the ring in not-so-subtle fashion.
With the European season set to begin in earnest with this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, teams will look to deliver their first major update package of the 2016 season. Force India have hinted that their car could look very different when it takes to the track in Barcelona, as the team are set to introduce significant changes to the VJM09, which has – up until now – proved a touch underwhelming.
Just one day after the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) released a damning statement in regards to the political structure of the sport, F1 has found itself hamstrung once again. Following an anti-climatic and uninspiring qualifying session in Australia – which debuted the brand new for 2016 elimination format – teams, fans and drivers have lobbied for a change back to the 2015 rules. However, a lack of unanimity has stopped such a change from happening.
F1 is left with egg on its face once again, as Bahrain will play host to a decidedly below par qualifying event.