Alex Palmer Writes...
For once, let's start with a serious topic. Social media seems to be buzzing with annoyed F1 fans who've made the trek to Spielberg but have found that their dream of having a photo taken with the bull statue has been dashed because organisers / venue managers (or maybe Dietrich Mateschitz himself!) have put up a steel fence. Now I know that a few 'bits' of the bull went missing after last year's race, but to deny fans such an iconic moment seems a bit of an over-reaction. So if the bull is off-limits, I wonder what other iconic Austrian symbols the fans might like to get photos with - could this be the year of the lederhosen? I have heard that both Alan McNish and Eddie Jordan will be sporting said hosen at various times over the weekend, although somehow I don't think scotsmen in lederhosen is anywhere near as much of a fan magnet as the bull is/was.

Anyway, after the largely forgettable Baku weekend here's hoping we get an interesting race this weekend. The weather seems to be doing its part with storms predicted for Saturday and a cold day with morning rain clearing to showers for Sunday. Talk off the track seems to be focused around the driver market, with the usual speculation about the older drivers and their plans increasing in volume. Will Button make way for Van Doorne at McLaren by replacing Massa at Williams? Will Kimi survive at Ferrari or will one of the young guns take his seat in 2017? With Sainz locked away by Torro Rosso for another year, that does seem to open the door for Bottas or Grosjean - Red Bull seem to be confident they have Ricciardo secured for at least another season. Or will Ferrari stick with experience for the 2017 car given all the technical changes next year, and retain Kimi for one last tilt? The next few months should be intriguing.

And now for a spot of gossip........seems Jenson Button has found himself another model girlfriend, Lewis Hamilton is waterskiing with extended family but seemingly no dogs in Tennessee, Rosberg has been doing promo work for the German F1 round (of course he has.....), and the Red Bull family hosted a select group of the world's media onboard Dietrich Mateschitz' flagship Douglas DC-6 escorted by a selection of classic planes from the Red Bull airwing. If the tweets are to be believed (and I suspect they are, for once!) the DC-6 apparently used to belong to Yugoslavia and was Marshal Tito's private plane. Watch out for a feature on the DC-6 during the SkyF1 coverage this weekend.

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2017 Calendar

RaceGrand PrixRace Day
1AustraliaSunday 26 March
2ChinaSunday 9 April
3BahrainSunday 16 April
4RussiaSunday 30 April
5SpainSunday 14 May
6MonacoSunday 28 May
7CanadaSunday 11 June
8AzerbaijanSunday 25 June
9AustriaSunday 9 July
10Great BritainSunday 16 July
11HungarySunday 30 July
12BelgiumSunday 27 August
13ItalySunday 3 September
14SingaporeSunday 17 September
15MalaysiaSunday 1 October
16JapanSunday 8 October
17United StatesSunday 22 October
18MexicoSunday 29 October
19BrazilSunday 12 November
20Abu DhabiSunday 26 November

2017 Driver Leaderboard

PlaceDriverTeamPoints
1HamiltonMercedes363
2VettelFerrari317
3BottasMercedes305
4RäikkönenFerrari205
5RicciardoRed Bull200
6VerstappenRed Bull168
7PerezForce India100
8OconForce India87
9SainzToro Rosso54
10HulkenbergRenault43
11MassaWilliams43
12StrollWilliams40
13GrosjeanHaas28
14MagnussenHaas19
15AlonsoMcLaren17
16VandoorneMcLaren13
17PalmerRenault8
18KvyatToro Rosso5
19WehrleinSauber5
20ButtonMcLaren0
21EricssonSauber0
22GaslyToro Rosso0
23GiovinazziSauber0
24HartleyToro Rosso0

2017 Constructor Leaderboard

PlaceTeamPoints
1Mercedes668
2Ferrari522
3Red Bull368
4Force India187
5Williams83
6Renault57
7Toro Rosso53
8Haas47
9McLaren30
10Sauber5