So, that's it, we are now in the first Monday after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, an boring race, I'm not an liar, but we had more than an good season in general, with three different teams in the podium and five different race winners, so we - or me, in the case - want to know... what are your thoughts about the 2017 season? Were it an good season? Regular? Quite boring? And what about the media stuff? Are Formula One really evolving in the media side?
Giving my personal opinion, I think that we had in 2017 one of the two best seasons in the turbo hybrid era, with an great battle between the silver arrows and the prancing horses - well, more specifically, one of each, since their team mates were their support drivers - and we also saw six different names in the highest place on the podium (Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Valterri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen) representing the teams Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull Racing respectively, while 2016 had only two teams winning races, being them Mercedes with 18 victories and Red Bull with two (one with Verstappen in Spain and another one with Ricciardo in Malaysia), races where the dominant team had one or both of their cars retiring after the race end while the other nineteen races were won by the Germans.
Yes, it's true, the fight between Ferrari and Mercedes in 2017 were stronger in the first half of the season and thereafter the Belgium GP, the Italians had an sequence of second places as their best result in the middle of lower positions and retirements. Vettel had his big chance to retake the championship in Singapore, where the circuit that would benefit the Ferrari cars were in fact, were Ferrari saw their real chances to be strong in the championship again fall apart with an big crash at the start that victimised both Ferrari drivers, Verstappen (RBR) and Alonso (McLaren) to then, be even further away from Mercedes to only won again at Interlagos, São Paulo, but the damage were already done to the prancing horses, while Mercedes won their fourth constructors championship in a row at the United States Grand Prix with the victory of Lewis Hamilton, who by an comfortable difference from Vettel, won his fourth drivers championship (the third with Mercedes) in the following race, at Mexico finishing the race in the ninetieth place (while Vettel finished in fouth), Interlagos and Yas Marina were then only contractual races.
Vettel got the Pole at the Malaysian Grand Prix while Hamilton started as P5, but in the end Lewis were in an safe position considering all the mess that happened to the drivers in the "better" positions...
So, comparing with the previous seasons, we had an year with more result variations with Red Bull as the third force in the championship quite close to Ferrari and Mercedes, always completing the podium and even winning races although of Verstappen and Ricciardo retirements in some races and Ferrari returning to the higher place in the podium already in the first race of the season, at Albert Park, Australia after two years of lower results and more than that, for the first time at the turbo hybrid era we saw more than two teams winning races (the last time that more than two different teams finished in P1 were in 2013, with Lotus Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull winning GP's and still weren't as mixed in the results as 2017 were).
So, with that what can we expect for 2018?
Mercedes will be one of the strongest teams in the paddock certainly and Ferrari probably will still be the second one, but will Red Bull be even closer to them? And what about Mclaren, who will not be racing with the problematic Honda engines anymore, changing to Renault instead... can we expect to see them returning to the higher places on the grid or even in the podium? Winning races or fighting with teams like Renault, Williams or Force India (the middle of the grid)?
Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, the strongest teams of 2017.
And going beyond the track fights, Liberty Media changed a lot of things from Bernie's era in F1, focusing more in public, they did something that Formula One were in debt, the social media content. They started to work for real in their recent Facebook page and in their brand new Youtube channel, posting race reacts from the drivers, funny knowledge games between the drivers and even drivers briefings - almost unimaginable moves from an category who were rejecting all of that just two years ago, that's the LM effect to Formula One.
Formula One were stuck in the 90's until then and with an simple move it went directly to 2017 in terms of media content and to prove that Liberty were planning much more than that, an road show were done in London streets with almost all of the drivers (except for Hamilton) and all the current teams participating, running with their recent and older Formula One cars for an big show, where the public could see for the first time the drivers more relaxed, out of an Grand Prix weekend to take pictures with them and have an closer look to their favorite cars from the past and present. Liberty also did an big event in the US Grand Prix, introducing the drivers by the voice of ring fights announcer Michael Buffer, cheerleaders receiving the drivers at the track and in the previous day, they gave to the fans the opportunity to make their questions directly to the drivers and teams managers. Ecclestone, of couse, didn't like it and said that Liberty were turning an five stars restaurant into an fast food franchise, but that were changes that needed to be done.
Some teams already done road events with their cars occasionally and even Formula One already did something like that in 2004 in the London roads, but nothing like the F1 Live London 2017 and the managing director for commercial operations Sean Bratches already have confirmed that the plan is to make it an common event for 2018 in beyond in different cities around the world.
Without any doubts, that's the way that an category like Formula One should and needs to go for an healthful future. That's an way to attract public and make more fans, we are going to say good bye to 2017 and all the other sports are already doing things like that for years, doesn't make any sense to see Formula One, who sells the image of the main motorsport series rejecting not only the social media, but their own public too. Liberty are going in the right side and although we can't say what we're going to see in the competition side in 2018, the future is hopeful and we can be quite sure that with the new leaders, F1 will be quite closer to their fans.