2017 has been a phenomenal year for Formula One. With a change in ownership and a massive overhaul of the technical regulations, F1 has now consistently delivered what fans have been asking for since 2014.
With F1 on a summer break, it is the perfect opportunity to look back on the season so far. Here we look at the team performances across the entire field and offer our insights into how the season has shaped up after 11 races.
The battle at the front is extremely tight with Mercedes and Ferrari engaged in campaign that has oscillated between the two teams. Mercedes currently leads the Constructor’s Championship with their six wins and eight podiums. While Lewis Hamilton has been setting the pace for the team, it has been Valtteri Bottas’ consistent podiums that have stabilized Mercedes’ Constructor’s title challenge. However, poor luck in qualifying and during the races are the only factors that have marred an otherwise expected performance from the three-time world champions.
The new regulations have proven to be extremely beneficial for Ferrari, who have experience a sort of resurgence after a few seasons playing catch up to Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel winning the first race set the tone for the rest of the season, with the German driver matching Hamilton’s four wins. However, Vettel has finished on the podium much more than his title rival which has allowed Vettel to take a lead of 14 points in the Driver’s Championship. Kimi Raikkonen, on the other hand hasn’t been on the same pace in the races as Vettel and has unfortunately suffered extremely torrid luck during the races. The second half of the season does suit the Finn more and we could yet see a late season resurgence to contribute to Ferrari’s Constructor’s Championship.
Red Bull has had the best time in the first half of the season, finding themselves well behind the two front-runners and dangerously close to losing their third place in the Constructor’s standing to Force India. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen both have the skill to take the constantly improving Red Bull cars to podiums and wins but have suffered reliability issues, especially Verstappen. The summer break should allow Red Bull to iron their reliability problems and give their drivers the best chance to secure the third place in the Constructor’s Championship.
While the front-runners jostled at the front, it is the midfield that the battles have been the tightest. Force India have continued their consistent form from last season, scoring points finishes at all but one race. Sergio Perez and rookie Esteban Ocon have made the most out of the machinery given to them which has allowed them to solidify their fourth place in the Constructor’s Championship. It hasn’t been without trouble though, as Ocon has matched Perez’s pace on more than one occasion, with both drivers coming together at Azerbaijan. The second half hasn’t always played to Force India’s strengths and it will be up to the drivers to make the difference and secure the team’s second consecutive fourth place in the Constructor’s Championship.
Williams were expected to be much closer than they are to Force India but the regulations haven’t allowed the British team to perform at their regular pace. Felipe Massa and rookie Lance Stroll have shown glimpses of performance but haven’t had the race pace to finish in the points regularly. The highlight, however, has been Lance Stroll’s controlled drive to third place in Azerbaijan. The team will have to analyze where they’re lacking to stay ahead of Toro Rosso who are just two points behind Williams.
Speaking of Toro Rosso, the Italian team has suffered a combination of poor reliability and erratic driver errors, preventing the team from overtaking Williams in the Constructor’s standings. While Carlos Sainz Jr. has extracted the most out of the car, regularly scoring points, Daniil Kvyat has so far been unable to show the same pace that promoted him to the Red Bull sister team. Kvyat has also been the cause of a few collisions that has stopped him from delivering up to his potential. If Kvyat can get his performances in the second half in order, Toro Rosso will be in a position to challenge and secure fifth in the Constructor’s Championship.
Haas and Renault are engaged in battle at the back of the mid-field as both teams build for the future. Haas has been the better performer of the two, currently seventh in the Constructor’s Championship, with Romain Grosjean leading the charge for the American team. Renault, on the other hand, finds itself just three points behind Haas, with Nico Hulkenberg being the only points scorer for the French team. Both teams will be looking for any opportunities to get both cars in the points to catch up to the teams ahead and finish the season on a high.
The story of the two backmarkers, McLaren and Sauber are quite contrasting. McLaren continues to struggle with the Honda powertrain with the team running out of patience with their engine partners. While the McLaren chassis has shown its potential, the engine has been plagued with poor reliability, preventing Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne from finishing in the points. The races at Silverstone and Hungaroring, however, brought results for the team lifting out of last place in the Constructor’s Championship.
Sauber meanwhile, have shown an improvement on their form with Pascal Wehrlein delivering for the team and scoring two points finishes while Marcus Ericsson has got tantalizingly close to scoring points as well. Running last year’s Ferrari engines are also hurting the team as they continue another season at the bottom of the Constructor’s Championship. Sauber will most likely look to develop for next season and will take advantage of any on-track opportunities that come their way in the upcoming races of the season.
The second half of the season has been set up for a stellar contest throughout the field. Mercedes will be giving it their all to secure a fourth title in the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships while Ferrari will continue to hound the Mercs to secure Sebastian Vettel’s first Driver’s Championship with Ferrari. Red Bull will be bringing significant improvements to their car to give their drivers the best chance of securing wins and podiums on a regular basis.
The midfield is also going to provide exciting action as Force India will look to consolidate their position while Williams and Toro Rosso battle amongst themselves to take fifth. Lower down the field, Haas, Renault, McLaren, and Sauber will most likely look to concentrate on next season.