It’s far too early to make any predictions, with no driver turning a wheel in anger until tomorrow and, even then, it’s impossible to know what testing plans each team has. But it’s safe to assume 2017 will provide fans with a strong midfield battle. Whilst we all wait to see if Red Bull and Ferrari can actually provide competition to Mercedes this season, the battle just behind them will probably be a little less predictable. Force India won best of the rest last season, beating Williams to fourth in the constructors’ championship. Naturally, the team is hoping to move forward this season and is aiming to break into the top three. It’s perfectly possible the team will achieve that goal, but it’ll have to be careful to not follow in Williams’ footsteps and start moving backwards now. After taking third in the championship back in 2014, Williams has been struggling to match the performances it managed at the start of the new engine era. The team should still be in the battle at the top of the midfield this season, but the inexperience of Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa’s lack of performance over recent years could be a disadvantage to it. Power unit choice won’t really come into the equation in the battle between Force India and Williams, with both teams running a Mercedes engine. Both teams will also be running a promising young driver expected to be quick and a driver with a little more experience. The difference between the two teams will be who has interpreted the aero rules best and which team runs the smoothest. With strategy being a troubling point for Williams in the past, it looks like Force India might have the upper hand on that one. The third team in the race for the top of the midfield will be Toro Rosso. Not running the Mercedes power unit will probably be a disadvantage with the German engine expected to have about 100 brake horse power more than the Renault, but the team is expecting their best year in Formula One to date. The team has two experienced drivers, keeping the same line up as the majority of last season, something it hasn’t done in a long time. Toro Rosso has also claimed to be looking more long term, over the full course of the season, and has a list of planned in-season developments. The power unit disadvantage probably won’t be as big a problem for Toro Rosso as it would be other teams. The team battled with a year-old Ferrari engine last season and still made it to seventh in the constructors’ championship and, in the words of Franz Tost, the Renault engine is “the most competitive engine we have had so far in the hybrid era”. If anybody can get the best out of the power unit, it’ll be Toro Rosso. Each team has its strengths and its weaknesses and, unless someone has made a drastic mistake with their aero package, we should be in for a good battle at the top of the midfield. Of course, it’s too early to say anything for sure, except that the Toro Rosso wins the award for the best livery of the season. For more Formula One news and discussions head over to Race Department’s dedicated F1 forum. Who do you think will be the top of the midfield? Will Toro Rosso be able to overcome the likely engine disadvantage and do you think Williams will be able to stay at the sharp end of the midfield? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.