Formula 1 2017 saw two teams, Mercedes and Ferrari (17 wins in 20 races) dominate the season. The Managing Director of Formula 1 Ross Brawn has said that there needs to be closer competition in F1 between the teams. There are two classes in the Formula 1 championship right now. In fact, the top two teams were too far ahead of the rest of the field. The bottom five teams of this season need a quantum leap in performance in 2018 to get within touching distance of the leaders.
Formula 1 2017 – Review of the Bottom 5 teams
Midfield Team Struggles
Renault produced a much improved performance in the second-half of the season to finish sixth in the constructors’ championship. The addition of Carlos Sainz, on loan from Toro Rosso, seemed to energize the team in the last races of 2017. If the team can carry this momentum into next season, they will be one of the teams to watch.
McLaren finished a disappointing ninth and ended their fruitless partnership with Honda on the engine front. The performance of the chassis at the tracks where engine performance was not paramount offered a ray of hope for the team for 2018. The team armed with the new Renault engine deal will look for atleast podium finishes next season.
Haas F1 avoided the blushes in their second season with a respectable performance. Sauber who finished dead last could move up the ladder with brand new Ferrari engines and a lucrative sponsorship deal with Alfa Romeo for 2018. Toro Rosso with Honda engines and a new driver pairing might find this season’s seventh place hard to retain next season.
Renault: The French car manufacturer is in the second season after their return to F1. In recent years, the lack of resources has seen many of the top names in the technical department of the team depart. Renault has made a strong commitment to the team and the team has benefited from the increased resources. After a wretched start to the season, updates during the season yielded results. The Enstone-based team moved up two places in the second-half of the season.
Nico Hulkenberg has proven to be the team leader Renault were looking for. Jolyon Palmer struggled to score a point in the first-half of the season. The Briton finally had a point scoring finish with a sixth place in Singapore. But it was too late and he was replaced by Carlos Sainz. The team with the new addition of the talented Carlos Sainz alongside Nico Hulkenberg has momentum going into next season.
Best Race of the Season: Spanish GP where with the new updates Nico Hulkenberg finished 6th
|Nico Hulkenberg #27
|Jolyon Palmer #30
*Carlos Sainz replaced Jolyon Palmer for the last four races and finished seventh in the United States GP (6 points)
Scuderia Toro Rosso: This junior Red Bull team faded away as the season went along. The Faenza-based team boasts of a talented Technical Director in James Key who produced another good chassis. But reliability issues with the engine led to a verbal spat between Renault and the Team Principal Franz Tost. Honda will be their engine supplier for 2018.
The musical chairs the team played on the driver front further undermined the team’s performance. Carlos Sainz after his best ever finish of fourth at Singapore departed to the Renault team for the last four races. The experienced Daniil Kvyat had a wretched season with only five points and many driving errors. The Russian was dropped during the season. Pierre Gasly was his replacement. Brendon Hartley took over from Sainz. These two drivers will be the driver pairing for 2018 with new Honda engines.
Best Race of the Season: Singapore GP where Sainz finished 4th
|Carlos Sainz Jr #55
|Daniil Kvyat #26
*Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley replaced Kvyat and Sainz and did not score points
Haas F1: The second season for this American team has been more challenging and has seen inconsistent performances. The team avoided the second season blues and retained their eighth position. Romain Grosjean has scored a decent chunk of points, but has been complaining bitterly to the team about brake-issues and the balance of the car. The new driver Kevin Magnussen kept pace with his teammate and got more comfortable with the team as the season progressed.
Best Race of the Season: Austrian GP where Romain Grosjean finished 6th
|Romain Grosjean #8
|Kevin Magnussen #20
McLaren: The second most successful F1 team has languished at the back of the grid in the hybrid-era. The Woking-based team’s last win came in 2012. It has been an alarming slide down the order since then. With the Honda engines not delivering again, McLaren has had a wretched season. The team had to drop Honda and switch to Renault as engine suppliers in order to retain their star driver Fernando Alonso. The chassis in non-engine dependent tracks has shown promise and the Renault engines could see the team back at the sharp end of the grid.
The team boasts of one of the star drivers on the grid in former two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard turned in some stellar performances, but engine failures in the last laps of races dimmed his chances. The rookie Stoffel Vandoorne after early season struggles came into his own in the second-half of the season.
Best Race of the Season: Hungarian GP where both drivers scored points
|Fernando Alonso #14
|Stoffel Vandoorne #2
*Jenson Button drove in place of Alonso during his IndyCar sojourn.
Sauber: This once respected Swiss team served as the breeding ground for many a future top driver. The Hinwil-based team has seen the departure of Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn mid-season after differences with the new owners. Her replacement Frederic Vasseur is an experienced hand and the new chief has decided to end the deal with Honda for new engines for 2018 and stay with Ferrari, albeit with new engines for next season. A sponsorship deal with Alfa Romeo brings in much needed resources for 2018.
Pascal Wehrlein has scored all the points for the team, but the Mercedes protégé has lost his race seat to the Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc. With Ferrari providing new engines and treating the team as a junior team, there is no place for Wehrlein in 2018. Marcus Ericsson has not looked like scoring a point, but with the owners support will be around next season. The only way is up for this team.
Best Race of the Season: Spanish GP where Wehrlein finished 8th
|Pascal Wehrlein #94
|Marcus Ericsson #9
Read Part 1 of the Review of the Top 5 teams here: https://lastwordonmotorsport.com/2018/01/13/formula-1-2017-review-of-the-top-5-teams/
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