This coming weekend we have one of the greatest Grand Prix in the World Championship – the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps. It signifies the beginning of the second half of the world championship with nine Grand Prix starting off in Europe and then moving back to a series of long-haul races culminating with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the 27 November.
A number of questions remain regarding who will win the driver’s world championship, but perhaps fewer in relation to the constructor’s cup which, last year, Mercedes resolved at the Russian Grand Prix in September. At the moment Mercedes are leading by 159 points to their nearest rival Red Bull Racing, with a maximum of 43 points available per race (first and second places), that still mathematically makes it possible for someone else to win, but it means Mercedes would have to have quite a few races with zero points for both cars – so RBR must be hoping for a few more replays of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
Other questions relate to who is now putting all their focus on the 2017 season car, with new regulations coming in, there are some big changes which need to be understood and turned into practical designs and completed cars. It will be interesting to see how much diversity there is in terms of what a 2017 F1 car looks like. But one question that is almost resolved is the fastest pitstop team for 2016. So far Williams have proved dominant in this aspect of the race with ten fastest pitstop times in twelve races, recording an official fastest time of 1.92 seconds – which equalled Red Bull’s US Grand Prix 2013 record. Only Mercedes have been able to beat the Williams crew during 2016. So for the remainder of 2016 I’m going to be watching to see if Williams can win the majority of the 21 races and also if they, or anyone else, can get the official time to a new record below 1.92 seconds.