With a largely mediocre Formula One season in the bag, questions are being raised by media pundits, key team personnel and by the drivers themselves as to whether or not Formula One is heading for glorious return to form by stamping it's authority as the unequivocal pinnacle of motorsport, or if it is destined for failure. 2016 With Mercedes yet again proving that few others can do as they do in 2015, they will remain as favourites for the two titles again in 2016. However, due to the regulations remaining largely unchanged and the law of diminishing returns, the 2016 season should, in theory, be more tightly contested between Mercedes, Ferrari and possibly even Red Bull. The lack of changes to the regulations will allow the chasing pack to draw ever closer to the front as they redesign and/or optimise their power unit and aerodynamic packages. However the issues of following closely behind the car ahead will likely remain as big of an issue as it has been this past season, if not worse, due to the aerodynamic evolution of the cars from 2015 to 2016. The cars will undoubtedly be producing the most downforce seen by the V6 Turbo-Hybrid era as aerodynamicists will spend countless hours in the factories coming up with more effective and intelligent solutions to add downforce to the cars, thus producing an even greater 'dirty air' effect for the car behind. However, with a seemingly rejuvenated Rosberg and a coming-on-song Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton looks like he'll have his work cut out for him in order to Three-peat his title success. The tyre rules will also receive somewhat of a shake-up for 2016 as Pirelli will nominate three compounds prior to the race weekend. One of those compounds will be mandatory for the teams to use, while the teams will be allowed to choose one of the other two compounds of the nominated three. This choice is per-driver, so you may see drivers running a totally different strategy if they opt for a different tyre to their team mate. 2016 will also see the introduction of a new "Ultra Soft" compound which will be denoted by purple sidewall markings. Track limits will also be more strictly enforced in 2016 and beyond according to Charlie Whiting and the FIA, as the rule enforcers look to crack down on drivers abusing the track limits and about time too. 2017 The 2017 season is shaping up to be the largest change to the rule book in Formula One since, well... 2014 really. The cars are going to be wider and more powerful along with producing more aerodynamic downforce and having fatter tyres bolted to them. The end result is projected to be cars that are 5-7 seconds per lap faster than they currently are now (and they will get to that mark because the engineers working on them are incredibly clever). To put that into perspective, the current cars are nearly on par, in terms of laptime, with the cars seen in 2013, which is an amazing feat considering the raft of aerodynamic restrictions and exhaust blowing techniques being banned. This means that the cars of 2017 could well be the fastest F1 cars in the sports history. Formula One cars are set to look drastically different in 2017. However it would seem that the Strategy Group have rather missed the mark as many of these changes will likely result in even worse racing than has been seen in the last few years in a bid to make the cars seem more impressive. It's all well and good to make the fans mightily impressed by the sheer speed of a Formula One car (I was utterly blown away by the speed and the noise when I saw them in the flesh at Albert Park in 2011), however it doesn't mean much if the racing itself is dead boring. Many of the drivers are now aware of the plans for 2017 and have questioned the intellect of the rule makers. More aerodynamic complexities and greater speeds will only serve to increase the turbulent air given off by the cars in substantially greater quantities. As many of the drivers and media pundits are saying, the solution is rather simple: reduce the dependence on bodywork aerodynamics such as front wings and trailing edges, as these are the parts of the cars that are most affected by turbulent air. One solution to reduce said dependence is the exploration of more effective ground effects in order to gain downforce whilst not producing such a prolific amount of turbulent air for the car behind. Additionally, efforts should be made to simplify the front wing design. Currently they look like something that could easily be the headline piece in a modern art gallery, they truly are an engineering masterpiece, however because of their complexity, they rely too heavily on receiving 'clean' airflow over their surfaces to work at 100% of their potential. They may be works of art, but they are also hurting the quality of the racing. Off-Track On top of the on-track problems that Formula One faces, it faces arguably even more crippling problems off the track: manufacturers having too great of an influence on the direction of the sport in order to suit their preferences, An unfair, unsporting and anti-competitive prize money distribution mechanism resulting in many teams being on the brink of bankruptcy if not already there, and diminishing TV audiences worldwide as FOM looks to exploit subscription services in order to squeeze as much profit out of Formula One instead of offering every race to the much larger audience of Free-to-air viewers. Can Formula One dig itself out of this hole and come back with a bang in 2017? Or are we resigned to another 3-5 years of half-baked racing and tiny grids?