2017 could be defined by the performance of the top three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
With the large regulation change for 2017 many believe that it should give the advantage to Red Bull who excel in the area, although there are other factors at play, including the competitiveness and reliability of the engine packages.
It has been a difficult few years for Red Bull, coming off the back of four world championships and Renault losing their way on the new hybrid engines. The public bashing of Renault in 2015 left them in a difficult position, but kept the pack for 2016 under a rebranded Tag Heuer name.
Although there have been a few wins for the team, it has been largely down to the failings of Mercedes rather than outright performance. The real expectation to that was at Monaco last season where the engine really doesn’t matter, although that wasn’t able to be capitalised on due to a botched pitstop.
The renewed commitment by Renault has been encouraged by the team, hoping for an uptick in performance over 2016. That hasn’t really materialised through winter testing, the team opening admitting they are not on the same level of Mercedes or Ferrari.
Daniel Ricciardo returns for another season, the Australian hoping for more race wins, only taking the win in Malaysia following the engine failure of Lewis Hamilton. After only a year and one race win, Max Verstappen has a large following and building on top of a great debut season with Red Bull will be important. The team are certainly in no doubt that he will once again be exciting at the front of the field.