Formula One 2017 – Chinese Grand Prix (Round 2)

Sure, there’s still an awful long way to go, but at first glance…this is already looking a lot more promising, isn’t it? I mean, as far as most people are concerned, this is meant to be the absolute highest level of motorsport anywhere in the world, but it’s hard to be positive about a situation where two drivers from the same team are constantly battling it out for overall supremacy, and so something had to be done to turn the tide. Sure, there’s always an element of risk whenever a championship – especially one as high-profile as this – brings in a new set of rules (chiefly because no one really knows if they’re going to work or not), and, perhaps inevitably, some are going to get to grips with them quicker than others, but, when you consider the pattern of the last few seasons, it was a surprise to see them have such an immediate effect…and it looks as though the competition is going to be stronger than ever before. The most iconic name of them all has drawn first blood in the 2017 Formula One World Championship, and, for the first time in a long while…the pace-setters look like they’ve got a fight on their hands.

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WRC 2017 – Mexico (Round 3)

We all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but even so…I don’t think anyone saw that one coming, did they? Whichever way you look at it, success in motorsport – particularly at an international level like this – is something that normally takes time to achieve, and, while it’s natural to try and aim for the best possible outcome in any case, it often pays to be a little more realistic and not try to run before you can walk in terms of getting results. I mean, it says a lot about just what a statement it was when even the team themselves – who probably have the highest expectations than anyone – were saying even before a wheel had been turned that their target of outright victories was still a way away from being fulfilled and not to expect too much, too soon, and, while I’m sure they’ll take it however it comes, I highly doubt even they thought this would happen so soon. The new boys have already well and truly made their mark on the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season…and it’s all starting to warm up nicely.

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Formula One 2017 – Australian Grand Prix (Round 1)

OK, well…this is certainly going to take some getting used to, isn’t it? Granted, there’s always changes being made in the world of motorsport, and some are inevitably going to be bigger than others, but it’s not often you see one quite as momentous as this, with the genuine end of an era – and one that’s not even been played out on the track, at that – being executed in such a ruthlessly efficient fashion, and already, there are signs the future direction at the highest level of the sport is going to be significantly different to what’s gone before. However, for everything that’s gone on behind the scenes, the on-track action hasn’t escaped without alteration either – in fact, you could probably argue the sheer scale of the rule changes this year is the biggest for quite some time – and, with the usual changes of personnel adding another element to the already complicated mix…it’s anyone’s guess what’s going to happen next. There’s every reason to be excited about the 2017 Formula One World Championship, and, after so much talking over the winter…it’s time to write the first chapter.

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FIA Formula 2 2017 – Season Preview


After more than a decade as the main feeder series to Formula One, GP2 has now morphed into the FIA Formula Two Championship for the new season – this is the 2016 field at the start of the feature race in Austria – and so, with such a valuable prize potentially on offer…who’s going to be the one to watch in 2017?

Well, they’ve finally managed to get it done…but what exactly HAVE they done? I mean, normally in motorsport, whenever a new championship pops up, there often has to be something that little bit different about it compared to its direct rivals, but, when the biggest alteration is to the name of the series rather than the technical aspects of the cars on show…it does seem to be a fuss over nothing. Sure, for people who only follow motorsport in passing, without knowing about the various ins and outs of a particular series, it does make a little more sense to have a clear, ordered structure to the single-seater ladder that allows young drivers to move up through the ranks more easily, but, from a fan’s perspective, there wasn’t really all that much wrong with the old system, and it does beg the question whether this needed to be done right now or not. The newly rebranded FIA Formula 2 Championship is all set to burst into life this weekend, but, while it might well signal the start of a new dawn for the direct feeder series for Formula 1…there’s still plenty to prove.

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WTCC 2017 – Season Preview


While some of its global appeal may have been lost, as one of the best tintop series around, the FIA World Touring Car Championship still has a reputation for incredibly close action – this is the field at the start of the Main Race in Russia in 2016 – but, with the dominant force of recent years now out of the way…who’s going to step up and steal the glory in 2017?

I don’t want this to sound negative…but it doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence, does it? Granted, things never stand still for too long in the world of motorsport, and this even extends to championships themselves, with new categories popping up all the time at the expense of other, more well-established series, but you tend to expect, don’t you, that major international championships would be immune from the threat of being scrapped, and yet that’s exactly the situation we’ve got here. I mean, for years, it’s hardly been much of a contest in terms of the destination of the overall title – indeed, it was sometimes clear for everyone to see even before a wheel had been turned – and, as a result, it was inevitable that there were going to have consequences sooner or later in terms of either the size of the grid or the variety of the machinery on show (two absolute essentials for a good saloon car series) and, after years of predictions that this might happen…we’re now starting to see the results. The 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship kicks off this weekend with some major questions being asked about its future, and, at present…it doesn’t seem as though anyone has the answers.

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Supercars 2017 – Clipsal 500 Adelaide (Rounds 1-2)

OK, so the final outcome wasn’t much of a surprise…but it wasn’t quite as many had expected either, was it? I mean, whichever way you look at it, the world of motorsport is difficult enough to succeed in at the best of times, particularly at a high level like this – after all, only one driver can win the title each year – and so, for those that fall short in their pursuit of championship glory, it can prove tricky for them to make a name for themselves in the sport. However, reputation only counts for so much in racing, and, while it must be satisfying for a driver to know they’ve delivered the goods in the past, titles aren’t decided on previous achievements – the standard of performances (and, ultimately, the quantity of points) in that season are what matter, and it’s hard to argue that whoever comes out on top will have earned their success, regardless of what they’ve achieved before. Put simply, anyone can beat anyone in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, but there’s one combination they’re all trying to catch, and the question on many people’s lips this time is…can they do it again?

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TCR International Series 2017 – Season Preview


Despite being a relatively recent addition to the world motorsport scene, the TCR International Series has rapidly grown to become one of the most popular and prestigious touring car series around – this is the 2016 field at the Imola circuit in Italy – so what does the new season have in store?

The novelty factor might be wearing off a little bit now…but it still doesn’t look an inch out of place, does it? I mean, in the cut-and-thrust world of motorsport, whenever a new championship arrives on the scene – particularly one that seems to have come completely out of left-field – it’s natural that expectations are going to remain pretty low for a while as it tries to find its feet, yet nobody seems to have got the memo here. Sure, it might not have been around all that long, but it delivers everything you’d expect of the more established touring car series around the world, and, at the minute, it just seems to be going from strength to strength. The TCR International Series has created more than its fair share of stories in its short history so far, and so, with the 2017 season preparing to fire up this weekend…it’s time to start writing the next chapter.

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BTCC 2017 – Season Preview


With packed grids, a huge variety of cars and some of the best racing anywhere on the planet, the British Touring Car Championship continues to set incredibly high standards – this is the field of 2016 in the first race of the penultimate meeting at Silverstone – but can the new campaign stand up to expectations?

Now, I know this gets said every single year, but let’s be honest here…this has all the makings of something special, doesn’t it? I mean, one of the many great things about motorsport as a whole is that there’s so much variety in terms of the various different styles of racing, meaning that – regardless of which one you prefer – there’s a championship out there to suit virtually anybody, and, as far as I’m concerned…this is the best of the bunch. Sure, on the surface, it can’t really compete with the engineering masterpieces that you get in Formula One, nor does it produce the same brutal, rugged spectacle of the World Rally Championship, but these things are almost a price worth paying when the quality of the racing itself remains so consistently high year after year, and so it’s really no surprise why many people regard it as the best saloon car series anywhere in the world. That’s right, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is back, and, as the 2017 season prepares to kick off at Brands Hatch this weekend…it’s virtually impossible to predict who’s going to come out on top.

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Formula One 2017 – Season Preview


Arguably the most spectacular and prestigious motorsport championship in the world, Formula One is about to change in a big way – this is the field of 2016 at the start of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix 12 months ago – and, with so many questions still to be answered…who’s going to grab the glory this time?

Talk about the winds of change…this is more like a hurricane, isn’t it? OK, so I might be overstating things a little, but it can be easy sometimes to become accustomed to things being done in a certain way – particularly  after such a long period of time – and so, when the status quo is upset for whatever reason, there’s immediate pressure on those coming in to prove they’re capable of delivering the goods. I mean, it’s natural that the world of motorsport has to move with the times every now and again, but this is very much a case of revolution rather than evolution, and, to be honest, it’s difficult to emphasise just how important this could be for what many people regard as the pinnacle of racing.  That’s right, Formula One is back, and, with the 2017 season set to get underway this weekend and so many unknowns to throw into the mix as a new era for the sport begins…it’s anyone’s guess how it’s going to play out.

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WRC 2017 – Sweden (Round 2)

Sweden (Round 2)
As the only truly winter rally on the current calendar, the snow-covered Swedish forests present perhaps the most unique challenge of any WRC event, so, with no clear championship favourite after the opening round of the season…who would be able to tame the white stuff this time around as the sport’s new era begins to take shape?

Now, I don’t know about you…but I think we’ve been here before, haven’t we? Of course, in motorsport, no two championship seasons are ever exactly the same – particularly after such a dramatic overhaul of the rules during the off-season – and so it’s inevitable things aren’t going to stay this way, but, with everyone starting from a clean sheet of paper, there was hope that the start of the sport’s new era would level the playing field and give a chance to some of the less familiar names to immediately make their mark…and yet, for one reason or another, we still ended up with near enough the same result.
In fact, if you were being really honest, you could say that this was the dominant force of recent times picking up virtually where they left off last year (and, if you’d only looked at the final result, that’s probably how it appeared), but it’s all too easy sometimes to take success for granted based on what’s gone before, and so, while it might not have looked like a contest on the surface, if you read between the lines…there was considerably more to it than that. The 2017 FIA World Rally Championship may have started as many had expected, but the field looks to be even more competitive than it has for a while…and so there’ll be plenty of twists and turns still to come.

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