It goes without saying that the main thing an F1 fan looks forward to each year is the return of, well, F1. But every season is different – new drivers, new teams, new races, new rules – and this year, the sport is having a shake up. Here are five things that we're excited about.
"New regulations? What? We had no idea..." said nobody in F1, ever. The only thing people talked more about in 2016 than the battle of the Mercs was the topic of 2017's changes. Tyres, tyres and more tyres. Anyway, in a nutshell, the changes to the car will provide more downforce and more grip, which from the outside means fatter cars and bigger tyres. Yep, big old biceps and massive boots, aka more muscle on track. There are others (see our feature about regulation changes here), such as fussing about with the rear diffuser, but overall it's all about increasing the speed. It gets our vote anyway, because we've got podiums to collect like Pokémon.
2) Shut up and drive
Speaking of massive boots to fill and on the subject of change, our paddock neighbours in silver have had rather an interesting time of late. The end of the season is usually when a team recruits for crew, what with people hopping off to new horizons and so on, but it's not often you're in need of a new driver at short notice, especially after they've just won the world title. From a fan perspective, Nico Rosberg's retirement was certainly unexpected but once the shock had worn off, the situation gave rise to a new light in the 2017 tunnel. He'll be missed of course, but putting Valtteri Bottas into one of the most sought after seats in F1 will certainly have an impact and might just shake things up a bit. Popcorn, anyone?
3) Baby you can drive my car
One of our favourite things about a new season is the unveiling of our brand new challenger. It makes the Team a bit sweaty and anxious (after all, it's a funny old thing, letting your brand new baby out into the world for the first time), but the nerves soon calm down after a glass of the fizzy stuff and a few team hugs. Last year we had a great time with our friends at Puma in London, where some cool dancers showed off the new kit and we showed off the RB12 in all its beautiful matte glory. We can't wait to show you the RB13!
4) It takes two...
Ah, Daniel and Max. What a ride they gave us in 2016. The impressive overtakes, the hard-earned podiums and the gripping on-track battles, both with each other and the rest of the pack... an absolute joy to watch. Then there were the off-track demands of the job: the relentless interviews, the videos cooked up by our marketing monkeys, the determination to pop more balloons in 1.92 seconds than the other, all done with good humour and team spirit. And the best part? They've got a brand new car and brand new rules to play with in 2017. They're already hard at it behind the scenes and you can expect to see them hunting down the title like a pair of hungry sharks with a whiff of blood ahead. We can't wait.
5) He comes from a land down under...
Kicking things off in Melbourne is always fun, not least because it's a welcome ray of sunshine after the chilly MK winter but returning with Daniel's third place trophy and the Team's second place silverware under our belts is a great way to arrive at our Aussie home from home. There are few welcomes warmer than in Melbourne and it's usually one big F1 party to start the new season in style. With new wheels to ride and an unpredictable season ahead, we fully expect the Honey Badger to go into the weekend with all guns blazing to deliver a feisty drive for his home crowd.