The 2017 ended with a New World Order (of sorts) unleashed by Liberty Media. The new owners launched a new rebrand of the sport at the final race in Formula One, with the logo taking on a retro-cum-blade-runner-future feel to it and promised big changes for the sport moving forward.
Not everyone is jumping on the Liberty bandwagon. Fans, drivers and team owners alike have all voiced their concerns at the circus-like theme that Formula One is adopting. "Why change a winning formula?" has been the general gist of their arguments.
However, Liberty's vision goes further than just a polishing of the sport's marketing and branding. Under Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One whored itself out to the highest bidder. Instead of pursuing nations with a racing heritage and world class tracks, Bernie and his cronies instead swapped heritage for the nouveaux-riches that inhabit some of the most autocratic, oppressed states on the map.
Where once F1 would grace Magny Cours in France before racing around Hockenheim before jetting off to Buenos Aires, the calendar now takes in such regimes as Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Russia. The 'European' Grand Prix being hosted by the city of Baku summed up the sport in the dying embers of the Ecclestone years.
That's not to say Liberty are going to destroy contracts and say adios to Putin et al - they're millions are too lucrative to ignore - but they certainly have gone on record as saying they want to restore the sport's heritage by returning to the fabled European circuits.
Despite those promises, they are actively pursuing adding to the North American segment of the calendar. Montreal, Austin and Mexico City are not enough; there have been suggestions over the past year that races on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are being planned. Whether this comes to fruition remains to be seen, but there seems to be a new-found appetite for Formula One in the USA, not least due to the baffling new regulations introduced by IndyCar last summer.
The likes of Sweden, Portugal, Denmark and Turkey have been mooted as potential F1 venues in the future. Vietnam and Argentina are possible destinations, too. The European theme stands out. Four of the seven aforementioned are from the 'home' of racing, whilst Vietnam and Turkey would represent the chance to expand audiences in the Near East and south-east Asia, admittedly at questionable political climates.
Circuit layouts seem to be under review as well. Any new track added to the calendar in the next few years will likely take the form of street circuits. Why? Because it means F1 can come to big cities in the USA. Miami is the most likely destination for a street circuit, whilst New York and LA are under review.
As it stands, the Monaco, Singapore and Baku Grand Prix are the current street circuits in F1 (you can technically add Montreal and Melbourne to that list). The three venues are harldy known for break-neck, high-octane racing; Monte Carlo delivers the glamour, Singapore the spectacle of night-time racing and Baku the utter carnage from earlier this year). Do we really need more street racing?