As the reigning Drivers' Champion Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from the sport in December 2016, the 2017 season is the first since 1994 in which the reigning champion did not compete.Mercedes started the season as the defending Constructors' Champion, having secured their third consecutive title at the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix.
Just Racing, the parent company of MRT, went into administration in January 2017. The company collapsed later that same month, ultimately closing down entirely in March after administrators were unable to find a buyer for MRT.
Toro Rosso returned to using Renault power units in 2017, having used 2015-specification Ferrari power units in 2016. The team had previously used Renault power units in 2014 and 2015 before the relationship between Renault and sister team Red Bull Racing broke down, prompting Toro Rosso to seek out an alternative supplier.
Nations that are scheduled to host a Grand Prix in 2017 are highlighted in green, with circuit locations marked with a black dot. Former host nations are shown in dark grey, and former host circuits are marked with a white dot.
With the acquisition of the sport by Liberty Media, teams were given more control over creating and uploading content to social media. Under Bernie Ecclestone's previous management, all footage filmed in the paddock was automatically controlled by Formula One Management with tight restrictions on the release of content.
As a response to widespread changes in the technical regulations expected to increase cornering speeds by up to 40 km/h (24.9 mph), the FIA requested that every circuit on the calendar undergo revisions to update safety features.
New technical regulations led to a significant change in car design of the new 2017 cars (Renault R.S.17 pictured, bottom) compared to their 2016 counterparts (Renault R.S.16 pictured, top).
The technical regulations governing bodywork design were revised for 2017, with the objective of improving lap times by four to five seconds over the 2016 generation of cars. These changes include:
An increase of the overall width of the cars to 2,000 mm (78.7 in).
Bodywork allowed to reach a maximum width of 1,600 mm (63.0 in).
An increase of the width of the front wing to 1,800 mm (70.9 in).
Lowering the rear wing by 150 mm (5.9 in) and moving its position back by 200 mm (7.9 in).
Bigger and longer rear diffuser, now extending ahead of the rear axle.
The leading edge of the barge boards being brought forward to allow teams more freedom in controlling airflow.
An increase of the width of the front and rear tyres (around 25% wider than previous tyres) to allow cars to generate more mechanical grip.
The minimum weight of the car including the driver being raised by 26 kg to 728 kg, with teams allowed to use 105 kg of fuel to account for the increase in minimum weight.
2017 saw teams adopt the "T-wing", a thin T-shaped wing mounted to the bodywork above and forward of the rear wing to generate additional downforce. Its creation prompted concerns about the use of moveable aerodynamic devices – forbidden under the rules – after several T-wings were observed to be vibrating during pre-season testing. However, the stewards chose to review the use of T-wings on a case-by-case basis rather than issue a technical directive.
The token system used to regulate power unit development – where the power unit was divided into individual areas, and each area assigned a points value with development of these areas deducting points from a manufacturer's overall points quota – will be abandoned.
Restrictions are to be placed on the dimensions, weight and the materials used to build each individual component of the power unit.
Teams are restricted to four power units per season regardless of the number of Grands Prix in the season. Previous seasons had included a provision for a fifth power unit if the number of Grands Prix in a season exceeded twenty; from 2017, this provision is to be abandoned.
The cost of a power unit supply is reduced by €1 million in 2017 ahead of a further reduction in 2018.
Cameras are no longer permitted to be mounted on stalks located on the nose of the car.
Pirelli continued to be Formula One's sole tyre supplier in 2017, beating out a bid by Michelin to provide tyres for the series. Continuing from previous seasons, the company offered a range of seven different tyre compounds, five for dry and two for wet conditions. While both wet compounds are available for every Grand Prix, only a choice of three dry compounds are made available to teams for a single race weekend. As in the previous season, teams are allowed to choose ten out of thirteen sets of tyres for a race weekend freely from the three compounds made available by Pirelli. However, due to limited testing time for the new compounds during the winter break, Pirelli chose to provide teams with a mandatory number of sets for the first five races.
Under rules introduced in 2015, grid penalties for exceeding a driver's quota of power unit components carried over from one race to the next if the penalty could not be fully served when issued. When this carry-over system was abandoned, teams could build up a reserve of spare components by introducing several at once while only serving a single grid penalty. From 2017, teams will only be able to use one new component over their quota per race, with any additional components incurring further penalties. This change prevents teams from "stockpiling" spare power unit components.
Power unit suppliers will have an "obligation to supply", mandating that they supply power units to any team, should a team end up without an agreement. The rule was introduced following the breakdown in the relationship between Renault and their customer teams Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso at the end of the 2015 season that left both teams in limbo until deals could be arranged.
In the event that a race is declared wet and must start behind the safety car, the grid will follow normal starting procedures once conditions are declared satisfactory for racing. Drivers will line up on the grid for a standing start once the safety car pulls into pit lane, although any laps completed behind the safety car will still count towards the total race distance.
The FIA abandoned the rule governing driving standards under braking, in lieu of an all-encompassing rule against manoeuvres that could endanger other drivers. The rule was introduced in 2016 amid criticism of Max Verstappen for his habit of changing direction before braking late to defend his position, which led to concerns that such aggressive defensive driving could trigger an accident.
Starting from the Spanish Grand Prix, teams were required to display a driver's name and racing number on the external bodywork of the car in such a way that they are clearly visible to spectators. Teams have the option to use the official timing screen abbreviation; for example HAM (Hamilton) and VET (Vettel).
^In the event that two or more drivers achieved the same best result an equal number of times, their next-best result would be used, and so on. If two or more drivers achieved equal results an equal number of times, the FIA would have nominated the winner according to such criteria as it thought fit.
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