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No wonder he loves himself.
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI
Wider cars, more downforce and fatter and faster tyres should mean lap times in 2017 are around five seconds(!) quicker than last year. Take it from four-time champ Sebastian Vettel: "Braking is better, cornering is better, you've got more grip. It works pretty much like an aspirin, it fixes pretty much everything.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is also excited about the new cars: "Having spoken to the drivers, these machines are violent -- just like Formula One cars should be.”
Bruno Barros / DPI / NurPhoto
New F1 owners Liberty Media will want to stamp their presence ruled so long by Ecclestone. Live streaming and social media will be high on Liberty's agenda, but could run into opposition from broadcasters signed up to exclusive rights deals by Ecclestone.
AFP PHOTO / Jure MAKOVEC
Plus, the huge disparity in prize money among teams might remain until current contracts expire in 2020. But if Liberty avoids the knee-jerk changes of Ecclestone's stewardship (e.g. one-off double points finale in Abu Dhabi, and last year's ‘elimination’ qualifying farce), it’s a good start.
The three-pointed star is killing it. Red Bull principal Christian Horner told www.formula1.com: "Mercedes is the clear, clear favourite. They have won 50 races in the last three years, we've won five and Ferrari three. Do I have to say more?"
AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE
But in pre-season testing in Barcelona, Lewis Hamilton went on record to say that Ferrari are the favourites after Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel set the two fastest lap times. Esquire says: Bah, humbug.
AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF
Lewis Hamilton threw his dummy out of his pram last season after losing to team mate and champion Nico Rosberg. Then he left team Mercedes. His replacement is Valtteri Bottas who put in six-day-a-week training sessions that included sub-zero, cross-country skiing treks followed by a nice, relaxing dip in frozen lakes in his native Finland.
Florent Gooden / DPPI
Good for endurance, you know? Bottas has never before finished below a team-mate in the F1 standings.
Here’s McLaren racing director Eric Boullier: "We need to be competitive to keep (Alonso) happy. If we're competitive he'll be happy and if not he'll take his own decisions." Alonso’s contract expires this year , and McLaren has reportedly approached Mercedes to supply engines after disappointing pre-season testing with the Honda power unit.
Asanka Brendon Ratnayake / Anadolu Agency
Asked by Spain's AS newspaper if he believed McLaren would be winners with Mercedes power, Boullier said: "I think we would." As early as 2017? Boullier: "Yes, we'd be winning again.”
AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
The new Formula One season starts on 26 March 2017 in Australia.
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