Formula One 2017 – Russian Grand Prix (Round 4)

Well, it was already pretty clear, but now we know for certain…it’s going to be like this all the way, isn’t it? Granted, there’s still more than enough time for things to change – and, to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did – but, when all’s said and done, this is meant to be the highest level of motorsport in the world, and it doesn’t do that image many favours when there’s only two cars from the same team fighting it out at the front, but, at last, things seem to be starting to change. I mean, when you consider the way the last few seasons have played out, it would have been easy to think this sort of competition was still some way off, but such a significant change in the rules was always likely to help bunch the field up and give a few different names an opportunity, and, as a fan…this is just the kind of thing we’ve been crying out for. After several years at the top, the pace-setters finally have a fight on their hands for the 2017 Formula One World Championship…and they’re certainly not going to have it their own way from here on in, either.

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BTCC 2017 – Donington Park (Rounds 4-6)

It was always going to take a lot to match what had gone before…but that wasn’t exactly a bad start, was it? I mean, as a whole, it generally doesn’t take much to see just how competitive motorsport can be, but, while pretty much any series is capable of producing the odd season of classic racing, being able to deliver to such a consistently high standard year in, year out takes some doing, and, without a shadow of a doubt…this championship is right up there with the very, very best. To be honest, it’s not hard to see why it’s been held in such high regard for so long – after all, while the names, faces and even the rules have changed significantly over the years, you’d have to look very, VERY hard to find anything that comes anywhere near when it comes to close, no-holds-barred, bumper-to-bumper racing – and, if the opening exchanges are anything to go by (which, of course, they almost certainly won’t be), it’s already shaping up to be yet another absolute cracker. The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has begun in typically frantic fashion…and it’s only going to get better from here.

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WRC 2017 – France (Corsica) (Round 4)

OK, so it was a little while in coming, but when it did, well…they didn’t exactly make life easy for themselves, did they? I mean, when you think about it, there’s been numerous famous examples in motorsport over the years of strong connections between certain manufacturers and championships – some more iconic than others – and, while it’s not unusual for some teams to want to try their hand elsewhere every now and again, there’s almost an expectation that the more successful names would be able to pick up where they left off when it comes to bringing in the silverware, but, more often than not, it’s not as simple as that, and this is a classic case in point. Sure, they were never exactly likely to lose that winning habit overnight, but things have a habit of changing surprisingly quickly in this game, and, even with the dominant force of recent times now out of the picture, it was always going to take a little while for them to readjust, but, now that they’re off the mark, it’s hard not to think that this could lead to a major upturn in fortunes. Even at this early stage, the battle for the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship title is looking closer than it’s been for a very, VERY long time…and it’s going to be some time before it’s resolved.

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FIA Formula 2 2017 – Bahrain (Rounds 1-2)

OK, so it’s not quite ‘back to the future’, but…I think we’ve been here once before, haven’t we? When it comes to motorsport, the world of open-wheel single seaters is often seen as the most spectacular form of racing, but, while the majority are well aware of Formula One as being the top level and the ultimate ambition for any aspiring young driver, there’s never been much consistency in the junior categories as to the best way to get there, but, at long last…it looks like that might all be about to change. Yes, it’s not exactly a massive alteration – in fact, you’d find it difficult to pick out anything different apart from a new logo and a new name – but, in the long run, it could be a hugely important development, and, if the action on track remains even half as good, I don’t think there’ll be many people complaining. It might have a new identity, but, in almost every other way, the 2017 FIA Formula Two Championship is pretty much the same…and it’d be a brave man to try and predict how it’s going to turn out.

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Formula One 2017 – Bahrain Grand Prix (Round 3)

Well, we all knew it was coming, but, even by their standards…that was quite some response, wasn’t it? I mean, whichever way you look at it, securing any kind of silverware in the cut-and-thrust world of motorsport is hard enough at the best of times, but the challenge often seems to be even greater when it comes to retaining a particular title, and, while some teams have the ability to make it look incredibly easy at times, it’s equally as interesting to see how quickly they can respond when somebody suddenly emerges from the pack and presents themselves as a genuine challenger…and that’s almost exactly what we’ve got here. OK, so it didn’t come completely out of the blue – in fact, the signs were there for all to see even before a wheel was turned in anger, and it generally doesn’t take much to work out who’s going to be quick and who’s not in this game – but, once you get used to it, that winning habit is difficult to get out of, and really, it was always going to be a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’, the pace-setters would show just what they were capable of. The fight for the 2017 Formula One World Championship already has the makings of more than a two-horse race, and, even at this very early stage…it looks like it could go the full distance.

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WTCC 2017 – Race of Morocco (Rounds 1-2)

Well, if ever they wanted a chance to prove what they can really do…this has got to be it, hasn’t it? I mean, yes, it’s not as if the potential wasn’t there before, but, in the world of motorsport, it’s amazing sometimes how easily even the very best teams and drivers can be made to look so incredibly ordinary when the pace-setters of a particular championship are producing such a high standard of performances that constantly forces them to play catch-up, and, when you look at the way things have turned out here over the last couple of years, it’s not exactly been much of a competition. However, things never stay the same for long in this business, and it’s nothing new for manufacturers to decide they want to try their hand at something different – or, in this case, go back to a familiar stomping ground – but, with the dominant force having departed at the height of their powers, there’s an open goal that needs filling…and there’s a fair few in contention to do just that. Despite everything that’s been going on away from the track, the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship is shaping up to be one of the most open in its history, and, to be honest, no one has any idea which way it’s going to go.

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TCR International Series 2017 – Georgia (Rounds 1-2)

At the risk of making myself look stupid once again…this couldn’t really get any better, could it? I mean, when this all came about for the first time less than three years ago, many people were quick to dismiss it as an unnecessary addition to the world of touring car racing – in fact, some questioned whether it would even see the light of day – but motorsport has an uncanny knack of throwing up its fair share of surprises…and few could have predicted how this was going to take off. Granted, it might still fall short in terms of pedigree and prestige compared to most other global championships at the minute, but everything’s in place for it to become even bigger and more popular in the coming years – an ever-increasing number of top-level drivers, cars from a wide variety of manufacturers (with technical parity being maintained to ensure the closest racing) and the regulations spreading like wildfire to national and regional series around the world – and, to be honest, it’s hard to believe that it won’t happen. On paper, the 2017 TCR International Series looks to be shaping up as the closest of its short history so far…but there’s still one man that everyone will be trying to catch.

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Supercars 2017 – Tasmania SuperSprint (Rounds 3-4)

Well, talk about starting as you mean to go on…that simply couldn’t have gone any better, could it? I mean, it doesn’t take much to work out that success doesn’t come easily in the world of motorsport at any level, but strangely, whenever a new season rolls around, there seems to be even more pressure than usual on the defending champion of a particular series to prove that their triumph wasn’t just a fluke and simply carry on as before, and, as a result, it can sometimes take a while for the results to pick up…which, in many ways, was what made this even more impressive. OK, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected – particularly when you consider the previous record of the team and the superior performance of their car – but you can only beat what’s in front of you, and, while success in the past doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to happen again in the future, it certainly makes it a lot easier when the competition is this strong. The dominant force of recent times have started ominously in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, and, even at this early stage…it looks like the competition don’t have any answers.

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BTCC 2017 – Brands Hatch (Indy) (Rounds 1-3)

Now, I know this kind of thing gets repeated virtually every year, but it’s probably true this time around…this really could turn out to be something special, couldn’t it? Of course, in motorsport, it’s always a risk to build up the prospects of a particular championship before a wheel has even been turned, only to then find that the on-track action falls short of those high expectations once the season gets underway, but, having forged a formidable reputation as one of the most competitive series around, I suspect that’s not going to be the case here. I mean, granted, the big-budget racing of years gone by might be little more than a distant memory, but, with a huge range of cars and manufacturers on view and tightly controlled regulations that help to keep the action as close as possible, the formula has remained pretty much the same ever since – after all, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it – and, when you add an ever-growing list of driving talent into the mix…there’s plenty to get excited about. Sure, the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is going to have to go some way to match the drama of the past few years, but, on paper…it could be even better than before.

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GP3 Series 2017 – Season Preview


Despite having only been in existence for seven years, the GP3 Series has become arguably the best place to spot the next F1 superstar – this is the field of 2016 at the start of the feature race in Germany – and, with so many already having gone on to bigger and better things…who’ll join the roll of honour this time around?

OK, so it might not be the most spectacular series around…but it certainly does the job, doesn’t it? I mean, whichever way you look at it, the world of motorsport is incredibly difficult to get into at the best of times, and, while any aspiring racing driver worth their salt will be looking to make it to the very top, the reality is that they have to spend time in the junior ranks to prove their worth, but, with the top brass of Formula One teams watching on from the sidelines, there could hardly be a better shop window than this. However, there might well be problems on the horizon, and it’s nothing to do with the concept – in fact, the amount of talented drivers that have been produced in recent years shows just how successful things have been – but the changes that have gone on further up the single-seater ladder means it now suddenly looks out of sync, and, with some questioning whether it’ll even be around in the near future or not…the pressure’s on to see if they can come up with the answers. Despite all this, though, the GP3 Series is still one of the most prestigious championships in open-wheel racing, and, as the 2017 season prepares to burst into life this weekend…there’s plenty to get excited about.

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