The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

From Ferrari to Force India, Gentleman's Journal run down the racers

With a new season, there’s redesigns, overhauls and innovation galore. But which racing machine comes in pole position for you?

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Ferrari SF70H

Ferrari’s 63rd single-seater entry into the Formula 1 World Championship sets the standard for the rest, establishing wider tyres, wider front wing and lower rear wing as trends across the board.

Specifically, we’re seeing the sidepods gain more complex aerodynamic designs, and the addition of a fin on the engine cover. The roll-hoop has seen a complete redesign and the wheels tinkered with to speed up pit stops.

Advertisers on livery: Ray Ban, UPS, Shell, Santander, Hublot

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Sahara Force India VJM10

As with several of the new 2017 cars, Force India’s new machine boasts a thumb-tip nose and shark fin, as well as totally redesigned front and rear wings to adhere to the new aerodynamic regulations.

The biggest news here is the striking pink livery, a colour scheme change due to the team’s new partnership deal with water technology specialist BWT. That rear shark fin may be bad, but the Pepto Bismol paint job takes things to another level.

Advertisers on livery: Johnnie Walker, BWT, Kingfisher, NEC, Sahara

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Haas VF17

With more grey in the livery than previous years, the new Haas machine has also been gifted the horrible aerodynamic fin that typifies the field in 2017. Despite this, the team has offered up a solid design, exaggerating last year’s outwash tunnel on the front wing and ditching the inner cascades used in 2016.

The endplate is evidently aping Ferrari’s triangular toppers, and various inlets and winglets have got away with improving aerodynamics without making the car look overly busy. It’s not the best of the bunch, but it’s certainly not the worst.

Advertisers on livery: Richard Mille, Pirelli

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

McLaren-Honda MCL32

Talk about dynamic. The new MCL32 is one of our favourite machines this season. A striking orange and black livery ramps up the tiger factor, and celebrates the team’s illustrious history whilst looking forward to their newly-managed future.

Overhauled in almost every respect of design, we’ve been given an aggressive-yet-elegant car, with Fernando Alonso calling it ‘one of the most beautiful cars [he] has ever driven’. Even that omnipresent back wing looks good thanks to some savvy silhouetting.

Advertisers on livery: Chandon, Johnnie Walker, CNN, Richard Mille

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Mercedes W08

Voted the best looking of the new bunch in many an enthusiast’s poll, the W08 shows a departure from the template of many 2017 cars. The back shark fin is considerably smaller, and a narrow nose design takes the thumb-like stub of other teams’ machines in a different direction.

The huge S-duct outlet is carried across from last year, as does – unsurprisingly – the classic silver livery, now synonymous with the team. An interesting paint job gives the illusion of movement but, with its V6 turbo engine, it’s likely that the car will need any help in that department.

Advertisers on livery: Petronas, Boss, Epson

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Red Bull RB13

‘Unlucky for some,’ read Red Bull’s official release for their RB13. With its incredibly tight and compact chassis, this is a car to be reckoned with. Tiny air inlets and undercut side pods show aerodynamic design down to the smallest detail and that nosecone with a hole at the tip is nothing short of genius.

It may not be the best looking of the cars, and doesn’t shock with its livery, either. But the RB13 is a serious contender, and a solid design.

Advertisers on livery: Tag Heuer, Mobil 1, Esso, Rauch

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Renault RS17

The new French car has distinctive wings and a wider track, and is fitted with the new Pirelli tyres. Additionally, to fit in with the new nose regulations, the team have included the much-maligned ‘thumb’ appendage.

Colour-wise, we’re talking yellow – which comes as no surprise given its status as Renault’s corporate colour scheme. The black manages to hide the hideous back fin reasonably well, and even gives this machine a touch of the Batmobile.

Advertisers on livery: Infiniti, Castrol

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Sauber C36

Sauber’s 2017 offering is wider than its previous iteration, growing 20cm to 2 metres. The tyres, too, are 25 per cent wider than they were before – as are the front and rear wings. Coupled with the enlarged diffuser and it’s clear that Sauber are under the impression that bigger is better.

Of course, this adds to downforce and grip, meaning faster lap times, so these cosmetic changes should translate into better results. Allegedly redesigned from scratch, the car is a celebration of 25 years in Formula 1, and its blue and white colour scheme reflects this silver anniversary.

Advertisers on livery: Silanna, CNBC, Edox

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Toro Rosso STR12

One of the only cars that has managed to look good with the back shark fin, Toro Rosso’s STR12 hasn’t opted for the silhouette approach – but rather have embraced a bigger canvas and splashed their bull logo across the car.

With a nose similar to the Mercedes machine, and tightly-packed bodywork that resembles Ferrari’s offering from last year, the has a day-glow red and striking metallic blue colour scheme. A firm fan favourite.

Advertisers on livery: Acronis, Simply Cola, Edifice by Casio

The Grid: Which is the best car in the 2017 Formula 1 Championship?

Williams FW40

Another car that has used the back fin creatively, Williams Martini have created a 21st century car that harks back to the golden age of motorsport. In clean white with striking pattern strip, this is retro at its very best.

The side pods have seen a subtle redesign from last year, and some clever silhouetting around the base give the car a look almost of floating.

Advertisers on livery: Rexona, JCB, Randstad

Further Reading