Why Red Bull will be the Team to Beat in 2017

Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Contributor

The 2017 regulation overhaul acts as a partial reset button to the current running order. It’s a chance to break the wheel and usurp Mercedes from the top-spot and it is Red Bull that look to be the prime candidate to do so.

With engine development set to be less significant next season, we might finally get the chance to compare aero-packages again instead of banging on about power differential.

Having the right technical staff is one of the most important variables in shaping a season of success, and Red Bull arguably have two of the most sought after engineer’s developing the 2017 Red Bull. Everyone knows about Adrian Newey and his little red notebook. It’s not just his sole technical understanding; there is a big team beneath him who are contributing constantly too, but he remains a motivational figure.

The big addition to the technical team next year is James Key, who will graduate from Toro Rosso in 2017. Key unlocks massive potential (sorry, I’ll get my coat…) in that he’s been central to the design of the Toro Rosso this year.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: James Key of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Great Britain during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 8, 2016 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 08: James Key of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Great Britain during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 8, 2016 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Anyone who’s watched Formula One for the past few years knows of the significance placed on power. We know that Mercedes are the best because they have a dominant hybrid engine. We know that McLaren aren’t doing so well because this is something that Honda hasn’t been able to get on top of. But it is actually the Toro Rosso that has the weakest power-unit! They are stuck with a 2015-spec Ferrari power-unit whilst the rest of the grid enjoys the new-spec.

So how have they been able to score points and compete? Despite the clear talent that Carlos Sainz shows, he alone can’t make up the power deficit. The answer is that the chassis of the Toro Rosso is one of the best on the grid, and the man behind it is joining Red Bull for the design of the 2017 challenger.

Ferrari even tried to get James Key’s signature, but he is bound to work with Adrian Newey instead. The beast that they create for Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will be something very special.