The changes in F1 for the 2017 season

15 March 2017 06:05

Formula One has undergone a radical shake-up of its technical regulations in a bid to spice up the show this season.

The 2017 cars are wider and lower in order to improve downforce, make the cars faster, and look more aggressive.

Here, we run the rule over the latest changes to the F1 rulebook while Britain's Jolyon Palmer, who drives for Renault, provides his expert analysis.


The dimensions of a Formula One car have radically changed to make them faster and appear more aggressive. This year's cars are much wider, having increased from 1800mm to 2000mm. The width of the front wing is up by 75mm to make the car look quicker, while the rear wing is lower and wider (a 150mm increase). The rear wing is also closer to the diffuser, while the diffuser is bigger, the floor of the car is wider and the bargeboards are longer, all to improve performance.

Palmer's verdict: The idea is for the cars to look cool - a throwback to the eighties. They have been designed this way to give the impression of speed and to look racy. The changes have increased the downforce and we can now take a number of corners flat out which we had never have been able to do before.


Formula One cars were 600 kilograms 10 years ago, but have steadily increased in recent years. And in 2017 they will come in at more than 720kg due to the bigger cars, wider tyres and extra bodywork. The regulation changes will also make the cars tougher to handle, and place a greater physical stress on the drivers. As such, most drivers have put on muscle over the winter in order to cope with the new demands.

Palmer's verdict: Last year I was as lean as I could be, but I would not be able to be that weight and drive the new cars. The FIA, Formula One's governing body, has increased the weight limit otherwise no one would get to the end of the race. The speed of the cars will take its toll on us physically, and the hot races will be difficult. Mentally it will also be a huge challenge.


The front and rear tyres are radically different this year to cope with the demands of the wider, heavier cars. The front tyres have increased in width from 245mm to 305mm while the rear tyres are now 405mm, having been 325mm last season. The new tyres will also produce mechanical grip and be more durable which should allow drivers to push to the absolute limit throughout the race.

Palmer's verdict: The wider tyres make the car quicker in low-speed corners, while the aerodynamic changes make the car quicker at high speed. They are harder and more durable, too, so we should be able to go much further into the race without stopping. It looks as though we will have more one-stop races this season.

So. will the changes improve the show?

The cars will certainly be much faster with lap times expected to tumble by up to five seconds, and the general consensus is that they look much better, too. But it is expected that the extra downforce will increase the drag and make it harder for one car to follow another, thus leading to fewer overtakes.

Palmer's verdict: People are worried that because we have got more downforce we will not be able to follow, and the braking distances are shorter, so there will be less margin to make a lunge on another driver. It is too early to say, but they look way cooler this year and the image of all 20 cars going past the crowd will look really impressive.

Source: PA-WIRE