In many ways the 2017 year marked a watershed in Formula 1's future: not only was its former tsar Bernie Ecclestone, who shaped the championship unto his own image for three decades, deposed and "booted upstairs" by incoming commercial rights holder Liberty Media, but the new owner (at last) ridded F1 of its leech-like former managers, the venture vulture house CVC Capital Partners.
Although the takeover was confirmed in September 2016, change of control was effected on January 24 this year. When F1 decamped in Melbourne eight weeks later, it was clear fresh winds were gusting through the F1 from various directions - albeit mainly from across the Atlantic - as much on-track as within the paddock.
For starters the atmosphere was more relaxed and less restricted, with a 'can-do' attitude prevailing within Formula One Management, the Liberty subsidiary charged with pointing F1 towards the 21st century. Details such as freed up social media activities and increased paddock pass allocations made the teams bullish about a future under Liberty; yet, to many, this was simply a public tummy tickling show.