The 2017 F1 Season is Upon Us!! Here’s What You Need to Know…

Hey Racing Fans,

There is much to look forward to in the upcoming F1 season—with many new rule changes concerning the construction of the vehicles themselves.

Especially being the vehicles will be both higher-performance (expecting 3-5 second faster laps than ever before) and will be placing more strain on the drivers due to the increase in downforce and grip.

There are also two rule changes for the races themselves: wet starts will now take place from a standing position on the grid, and drivers are allowed one “special event” helmet livery. The actual rule changes don’t really affect much except that there will be more crashes at Turn 1 on wet days, and sometimes one or two drivers may change colour.

Now to go over the specifics of the car regulation changes, F1 and Pirelli have put together a video explaining the tyre size increases and what it means for the laps and the drivers.

Basically, wider tyres have a greater contact patch, and with much more rubber in contact with the road, the car can take corners much faster than with the thinner ones of yesteryear. It also adds to the physical difficulty of controlling the car around corners.

As for aerodynamics, here’s a few pictures that sum up the changes, and that all add up to there being more downforce and thus more grip. This causes the drivers to experience even more lateral Gs every turn which, over 40-60 laps, could separate the men from the boys this year.

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Engine-wise, the changes are mostly in the supply of power units happening off the course, and the cost per customer teams for said power units ($1 million Euros/unit cheaper than last year). There will also be a constraint on the boost pressure and FIA officials have abolished the “token” system for mid-season engine development.

Brushing over the specifics of the complicated system of tokens assigned to parts of the power units and the spending of “tokens” in order to develop specific engine parts, the difference between seasons is that in 2016, there was a reason Mercedes ran away in the straights—Ferrari, Renault, and Honda were not allowed to spend on engine development due to token restrictions. Now in 2017, there are no such restraints.

This will lead to one of two potential outcomes:

  1. With freedom to develop and their own bottom-lines to consider, the power unit suppliers will come to level out in terms of straight-line performance allowing the fans more excitement as the competition will be more intense between the drivers.
  2. With freedom to develop and the wondrous corporate imbalances of capitalism, Mercedes may just convert their financial supremacy into development supremacy and we’ll see an unrestricted runaway from them this season.

However, I believe that even if it is a happy medium between the two, we still have an exciting season ahead of us unlike any we have seen before.

Until next time, enjoy the show 🙂



5 Legit Ways Your Car Can Shape-Shift

It’s an unseasonably toasty February day in Toronto.

Bar patios have been haphazardly thrown open to accommodate the demand of all the delighted, fresh-air-seeking patrons.

Motorcyclists peek out on newly—if temporarily—clear, dry roads, and convertible drivers tentatively drop their tops to let in that Vitamin D.

Though it’s MUCH too early to be thinking about it, we can’t help but daydream about all the ways your car can be your best, most multifunctional companion in the coming spring and summer months—fit for business trips, road trips, or any other kind of trip you’ve got on the horizon.

So what else can your car become? Dream big!

1. A Badass Office


You don’t even need to be a traveling salesman to get some stuff done in your car.

Strap one of these multifunctional trays on and make calls, update schedules, participate in e-meetings, or just eat some McD’s.

2. A Pretty Functional Bed


If you try to tell me you’ve never been in a position when you’ve at least considered sleeping in your car, you are lying and you know it.

This blow-up mattress even accommodates that footwell gap, which has claimed many a sound (if cramped) sleeper.

3. Pickup truck? You’ve got an Observatory



You’ve definitely seen this truck-bed-full-of-pillows image floating around, and there’s a reason.

This is just awesome. Not sure if she’s got one of these blue babies under all that fluff, but wouldn’t you say that would be 100% more cushy? Take it to the drive-in, on a summer road trip (hope there’s no rain!), or as everyone else suggests: stargazing.

4. A Mobile Closet



For road-trippers, salespeople, frequent tailgaters, etc.

Forgo the squashed clothes duffle and keep looking like a boss with smooth suits, fresh undies, and a change of clothes for the night (out or in).

5. A Fashion Statement for the Best of Them


If you’re already looking like a boss, throw your car a bone and give it some TLC and style points of its own.

Throw in some mats with a custom embroidered nickname or phrase to live by, or try out some Mossy Oak CamoMats if you’re an outdoorsy type.

I’ve got just a few shape-shifts here…have you got more?

Happy customizing!!

-Mat’er of Opinion

RE: Introduction

Hello again 🙂

After the Mat’er of Opinion published her post, it got me thinking.

None of you have really heard (through this or the previous blog) some of my core opinions on cars and why I am such a petrol-head. So I figured that I would take a similar form in explaining where my interest in the subject comes from and how that affects my topics and opinions in each of my posts.

First, what is known. I love Top Gear UK and thus The Grand Tour. However, I love it for a different reason than I love cars.

It is so tremendously entertaining because of its social commentary and review style while accomplishing a pretty simple task: reviewing cars. Were it to just tell you the facts of a car, it would be a very quick show indeed and you would have the basic information you need about each vehicle without much context. The greatness in the show is in its playful delivery of the review, and in the obvious bond that the three hosts share, which carried them all across the pond together to pursue this new venture in The Grand Tour.

What I love about cars, though, is a little different. You can only truly get to know a car in a racing environment and with a standard transmission. They all have a different feel to them and each wants to be driven a certain way. Even how the car reacts when you change gears is unique to each. Getting the fastest lap times is about “knowing” a car and taking it to its absolute limits (in designated autosport environments, of course).

So now that you know where my love for them comes from, look forward to lots of auto discussions in all their shapes and sizes in the future 🙂

So long and happy driving!


Enter The Mat’er of Opinion


Hello there.

I realized after the last post by MatintheHat, that if I was going to have an opinion on the supposedly smashing Top Gear in my first post (and being that I work for an automotive supply company), I’d better suck it up and watch the first episode of The Grand Tour.


And just as grudgingly, after a few clever British chirps and #fastshinyprettything sightings, I found that it was pretty damn entertaining.

I am not a car person. Not at all. I do believe they are very pretty, and, dare I say, sexy as hell on occasion, but that about sums it up for me.

(Oh, and that driving standard is awesome.)

But I like cars because:

  1. They are pretty darn pretty
  2. They get me places I need to go
  3. They give me a sense of security from the extreme cold/devastating heat
  4. They relieve the burden of hauling groceries home when you’ve wildly underestimated how heavy food actually is
  5. They feel a bit like your own mobile apartment
  6. Driving is fun
  7. Convertibles are a little piece of freedom
  8. Driving standard feels like you’ve become a machine

Yet I believe I’m not the only autonewbie who feels just a little bit alienated when car people start talking about V6 engines, DRS, and Jerome D’ambrosio (who happens to be threateningly handsome but I’m sure his attributes go beyond that).

So on my part for MatMyCar’s blog, I’ve taken it upon myself to examine the fancy car knowledge of MatintheHat, break it down into human words, and hopefully have a bit of a chat about things that everyone has the potential to know and love about cars.

Because knowledge is power!

Ahem…but on this subject let me just say I’m on team McLaren P1—I gotchu Jeremy Clarkson.

Especially because driving it is apparently like “Begbie in Trainspotting lobbing a pint pot over his shoulder in a nightclub and starting a bar fight.”

And it’s the prettiest.


-Mat’er of Opinion

The. Grand. reTourn.

Hello all,

And a Happy New Year to you!

I know it’s been a while since last sharing my thoughts, but we are now committed to bringing new content on all things automotive on a bi-weekly basis in 2017.

Which brings us to the topic of today: “The Grand Tour” on Amazon Prime Video.

Followers of BBC’s “Top Gear” will know of Jeremy Clarkson’s falling out with the BBC and—more notoriously—the producer that he struck in the face which caused him to be officially sacked. A wise American billionaire known only as Jeff Bezos saw the opportunity in this cultural disaster and signed the famous trio to essentially the exact same show, only in America.

As we all know, America has been in need of a proper driving show since the now-infamous “Top Gear: USA” was so poorly received and subsequently cancelled. Much like casting George Lazenby in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service“, they found they just couldn’t replicate the formula of the show without the real stars and expect the same amount of success. Bezos knew this, which is why I’m sure it didn’t even seem like a risk to him at all to produce “The Grand Tour,” even though the production costs are only overshadowed by its global popularity.

So far the numbers are wildly in favour of his “gamble” as the new show recently surpassed previous number one “Game of Thrones” as the most illegally downloaded television program in the world. If you do have an Amazon Prime Video account, I strongly urge you to set aside some time for this gem of the convoluted media world. If you don’t have an account, just stream it online. It doesn’t seem like they’re trying very hard to stop you ;p

Or at the very least, pick up the season once it’s released on Blu-Ray.

Until next time,

Mat in the Hat

Happy Black Friday!!

Hope you have a great shopping day everyone, I know I will 🙂

Please be mindful of the poor greeters who are the first line of defence against the sometimes very literal flood of customers flowing into your nearest Wal-Mart. If I have to hear that people are so greedy that they don’t care who gets trampled again, I’ll lose a little more faith in humanity.

This has been a public service announcement 😛

The Practical Applications of “Impractical” Driving Skills

Good morning, readers!

Today I thought I’d take a lighter, more “fun fact” approach to the post as opposed to the usual ranting lol. The main things I want to talk about today are the benefits of learning how to operate a standard transmission and applying “Racing Line Theory ” to everyday driving. That video is an awkward English boy giving the specifics, but generally the theory is about taking the shortest possible distance to any destination (the closest route possible to a straight line). I’ll get back to that later, though, first is the standard transmission. A lot of people think it’s a lot of work and there are only detriments to having one (not being able to eat a sandwich, apply makeup, fiddle with things, etc.) but there are many added benefits once you simplify your drive to just focusing on the road and taking calls on your headset. The most significant benefits are the better fuel economy and the lower cost of maintenance. The lower fuel consumption is fairly simple as you can choose the gear and as such keep the RPMs as low as you want them and there is no slippage between gears like in an automatic transmission which burns added fuel. The manual transmission is also mechanically simpler causing it to weigh less, cost less (both to purchase and maintain) and be easier to repair than the automatic transmission. It’s also far more engaging to drive, forcing you to focus more and most likely deterring accidents.

Racing Line, as stated above, is making the straightest line from point A to B. Obviously because you’re travelling less distance, you burn less fuel but also driving in smooth arcing lines puts less strain on the engine to work against the other forces acting on your car. Your engine doesn’t work as hard and you get around corners faster; this is also a lot more fun 😉

So if you’re searching for a new car, try going manual! You’ll be glad you did.

And next time you’re out driving, try basic racing lines, especially on lightly used roads. You’ll find that it brings a bit more excitement to your daily grind.

Until next time car fans,

Mat in the Hat

Going through the Motions

Hi again,

I thought I’d go on a bit of a rant today about something that’s been bothering me for a while now: complacency behind the wheel. The other day, I was trying to merge onto the 400 just north of Toronto and nearly ran into the back of the car in front of me because they were trying to join the flow of traffic (which was travelling the speed limit of 100 kph or higher) while going 80 kph. This made it impossible for them, me, and the other 5 cars behind me to merge safely without cutting normal people off and looking like assholes. Just because you’re going at a speed your comfortable with like a kindergarten-level driving school student, doesn’t mean you aren’t making everyone around you feel much less comfortable. You’re the one causing traffic jams and accidents, you tool (Relevant Meme). So the next time you believe that slower means safer, remember that the Autobahn is the safest highway in the world because it doesn’t have speed limits and the drivers all know that they’re in control of a potentially very destructive force of engineering. As such they are able to react to problems with authority and clarity of vision which is something I think North American drivers either lost or never had. If someone passes you on the highway when you’re slowing down, remember that they are a safer driver than you because they are more aware of what’s going on around them and didn’t hesitate to make a move. Same thing with accidents causing traffic jams because people stop to look.
I hope at least a handful of people related to this and got a little frustrated just thinking about it 🙂
Have a great day!

New cars

I really don’t know why anyone would buy a car that is brand new from a dealership. It seems like any and every other possible choice when shopping for an automobile is superior. Think about it. If your new car loses 33% of it’s value as soon as its driven off the lot, you might as well get the one-year-older previously owned model for a drastically reduced price. It’s essentially the same car that had a newer year put in front of it and maybe they replaced the carpet with a more lightweight weave or slightly changed some of the interior dimensions, but all the high priority items have stayed the same. If you like throwing money away to prove to random strangers that you appear to be successful, then new cars are definitely the right choice. If it’s financed, two or three years from now you’ll be paying a ridiculous monthly fee probably equal to that of the current year model at that time. Especially for economy cars, if you’re going to buy a Civic, no one will really care that it’s the newest model. It’s a Civic. The new body design doesn’t hide the fact that it’s always been the same concept underneath. Just buy used. You save on initial price, insurance, and headaches involved with new electrical implementations.

American vs. Eurasian

Hello everyone,

Like many I used to be quite biased against the American-made sports cars. I used to think they didn’t have enough engineering expertise to innovate in the area of handling. But now it seems that an increasing number of American cars are being tested around the undisputed test track champion of the world, the Nurburgring Nordschleife, and posting some pretty spectacular times, the ’09 Dodge Viper ACR taking the 6th overall production car time. Even Cadillac, long branded as being luxurious and dependable, are starting to breach into the sports sedan/coupe market with the CTS-V and choosing to compete directly with the industry standards of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes in this class. What I’m getting at is that whether you believe it or not, the American automotive industry is once again booming. There may still be a stigma attached to them because of the government bailout but a less publicized story is that they payed it back in full only a short time (5 years ahead of schedule) after it was granted to them. As it stands they hold their own against all of their direct competitors in terms of build quality and performance in their respective classes. I still wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m converted but they’ve definitely earned their stars and stripes in my book as of late.
Everyone have a good one,
Mat in the Hat