F1 fans around the world just witnessed a dramatic end to the 2016 season with a thrilling final showdown between teammates and rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, leaving them already looking forward to next March and the start of the 2017 season. So what can fans look forward to next year?
Rifts at Mercedes?
Several media outlets are suggesting Hamilton may not be long for Mercedes. Sources are suggesting Hamilton's tactic to back up the field at Abu Dhabi, against team orders, could be enough to see him out. Adding fuel to the fire of speculation, new McLaren head Zak Brown has said he is open to Hamilton returning to the struggling team. Perhaps we will see a different aspect to the rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton if they end up on separate teams next year.
Can anybody catch Mercedes?
The domination of Mercedes over the past 3 years has been clear to even the most passive follower of Formula 1. The has fallen behind the intense quickness of the Mercedes, typically relegated to accepting a top 3 or top 10 position. Ferrari, the only other real challenger, has seen much of the same. Being comfortably behind the awesome power of the Mercedes. So can anyone challenge the reigning king in 2017? It is possibly the number one question on the lips of F1 fans and commentators. After all Red Bull was the dominating force during the 2010-2013 seasons only to be usurped by Mercedes. The question is when, not if, they will be dethroned. Could 2017 see a new contender for number one? One thing we do know is that Vettel's Ferrari and Ricciardo's Red Bull won't be willing to lie down and accept another dominant Mercedes season. The outlook for next season will surely become clearer as winter testing takes place, all eyes will be on Mercedes to see if they can continue their streak of dominance.
Every year there are rule changes in Formula 1 designed to improve some problem, perceived or otherwise. Usually there isn't a massive difference to what the audience sees on a race weekend. Next year is set to be different however. New regulations are set to determine the look of the cars, the result of which will make them look more aggressive. Will this make for better racing on a Sunday? Probably not. Are the cars going to look better on a bedroom poster? Almost certainly.
One thing that is certain for next season is that every team and driver on the grid will be giving it their all to be number one. Mercedes might be the supreme force in Formula 1 right now but they have 20 drivers and 10 teams all vying for their position.