By Ollie BarstowFollow @OllieBarstowF1 on Twitter

Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel (and an angry Fernando Alonso) may have dominated the headlines in the wake of the season opening Australian Grand Prix, but we take a look at some of the other big talking points up and down the grid to emerge from Melbourne as F1 2017 kicks off in style

Ferrari's future

Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne may have been fully focused on the fight out front as Sebastian Vettel romped to Ferrari's first victory since 2015 but it is reasonable to assume both would allowed themselves the odd glance towards the Sauber of Antonio Giovinazzi as he made his unexpected F1 debut in Australia.

It was perhaps fitting that on the day Italy's most iconic brand delivered one of its most convincing performances in years that the man many are tipping as Ferrari's future became the first Italian in six long years to start an F1 race. It has been quite the year for Giovinazzi, who turned heads in his maiden season GP2 by almost snatching the title from Red Bull upstart Pierre Gasly at his first attempt, doing so as one of the few top drivers in the series without any allegiance to an F1 team programme. Mercedes eventually showed an interest but - to the delight of the tifosi that haven't seen an Italian tricolour fly over a driver on the podium since 2009 - it was Ferrari that would snatch his signature.

His unexpected debut with Sauber proved mightily impressive as well. No-one would have blamed Giovinazzi for taking it relatively easy as he went from reading a text in bed on Saturday morning to his first F1 qualifying sessions hours later with only 18 laps of practice time in between, but instead he nearly caused a massive upset by reaching Q2 at the first attempt. Had he not made a late and reasonable error towards the end of his final lap he'd have likely bumped team-mate Marcus Ericsson out of Q1. When asked whether that would have been embarrassing, the Swede's nervous laugh and mumbled 'yes' reflected the blushes he had been spared.

Though frustrated to have adopted conservatism for the race to focus on an admittedly distant finish - not helped by losing his best reference point in Ericsson on lap one -, few drivers have stepped in at such short notice and instantly impressed, much less one with as little experience as the youngster.

Meanwhile, the circumstances of Pascal Wehrlein's withdrawal continues to baffle somewhat. His po faced demeanour when explaining he couldn't race due to 'match fitness' suggested he either wasn't desperately disappointed not to be racing or he was assured that taking one for the team was a noble act. Or he just has an exceptionally good poker face.

Regardless, given his uncomfortable winter of multiple rejection, it was surprising to see a driver so relaxed to be missing out on the chance to instantly prove himself in what was arguably Sauber's best chance to score... not least because it allowed a potential threat to his seat do exactly that instead.

Stranger 'fins'

Much has been said about the aesthetics of this year's cars but while the broader, more aggressive appearance has been lauded, the derided 'fins' - as well as the Mercedes so-called 'coat hanger' wing - continue to catch the eye for all the wrong reasons. No team can be blamed for exploiting any loophole that could lead to performance gain, but there was evidence during the Australian Grand Prix weekend that 'fins' could end up doing more harm than good for some drivers.

Crashes for Jolyon Palmer and Daniel Ricciardo caught both off guard and left them scratching their head as to why their sessions ended in the wall after fairly innocuous errors, but ex-Williams technical director turned Sky TV pundit Pat Symonds believes he has an explanation. According to him, when the rear steps out the fin is therefore disrupting the air flow to the rear wing, creating an imbalance.

As such, if the car begins to slide, it will be much harder for drivers to collect it and explains why Palmer and Ricciardo both failed to adequately prevent their crashes employing tactics that would have worked last year. It remains to be seen whether it is a trait drivers can handle or whether it will throw up a different challenge each time... either way, it seems increasing the downforce just makes the difference so much more noticeable when you lose it.

Force India sinks the pink

A fellow journalist of mine couldn't wait for the season to start... and not (just) because of the action. As a writer specialising in the extraordinary technical expertise that goes into making these F1 cars such magnificent feats of engineering, the excited pre-season talk of liveries and colour schemes would get him entertainingly riled.

In short, as everyone cooed at the Toro Rosso STR12's new look, he was busy analysing the front-wing. Unfortunately for him there was little escape from the visual pantomime as Force India surprised everyone by revealing a striking new pink hue ahead of Melbourne, prompting a slew of memes and puns across social media. It was the talk of the paddock come Thursday ahead of the race, largely because few could help asking about 'pink helmets' and then giggling about it.

Regardless, whether the car was pink, brown or rainbow pattern, it was a strong start to the season for Force India as both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon made good gains from their modest starting positions to get in the points, the latter securing his first-ever top ten finish in the process.

More importantly for Force India, the makeover has been a publicity success for a team that deserves more plaudits for consistently achieving beyond its means in recent years. BWT may not be paying enough to warrant a title deal, but in a sport where sponsors are often put off supporting smaller teams based on the value of exposure it will get, the attention it subsequently received demonstrates what a bit of commercial creativity it achieves.

Not even my esteemed and angry counterpart could deny that.

Stroll's bump to earth

It has been 21 years Jacques Villeneuve took F1 by storm by claiming pole position and a podium on his Williams debut, a performance that fellow Canadian Lance Stroll was no doubt reminded of more than once as he kicked off his first F1 event with the pressure of attention placed firmly on his slender teenage shoulders.

Of course the Williams of 1996 vs. 2017 makes it negligible to attempt a comparison, but in isolation Stroll will not come away from Melbourne feeling vindicated by his performance. New track, physical cars and a general lack of experience were always likely to be factored into Stroll's weekend but his costly crash in FP3 set the tone for what was a character building first effort.

A scrappy qualifying performance can be explained away by the circumstances of his rushed lap but it was an edgy race for the teenager even before it came to a premature conclusion due to brake-related issues. Nervous debuts aren't new, but the real test arguably comes now for Stroll - and not just on track.

It was his maturity and composure that struck many when he was officially revealed as a Williams driver last year, but he appeared an embattled soul with those slender shoulders very much down by the end of the Melbourne weekend. Seeing Felipe Massa riding high inside the top ten driving what is seemingly a competitive car won't exactly help his confidence either, but he has the package and the support around him to pick himself up, learn from mistakes and come back stronger.

After all, Jenson Button qualified at the back for his F1 debut in 2000... and he also went on to become world champion. Now that is the performance he should be reminded of!

Red Bull on the ropes

It was the team many expected to use the change up in regulations to take the fight to Mercedes, but while Red Bull's deficit to the top two didn't seem such a surprise to most after pre-season, it definitely appeared to surprise Red Bull. Staying calm despite technical issues - even going as far as to praise the Renault engine - and hinting at new parts to come for Melbourne, Red Bull indeed waited until FP1 to reveal its definitive front wing but it wasn't worth the cloak and dagger it was attempting.

Spending its weekend trapped in a comfortable margin behind Ferrari and Mercedes but a fair distance up on the mid-field, it was an unusually - and unfortunately - lonely weekend on track for Max Verstappen especially. He might have had Daniel Ricciardo for company but for his weekend taking a dramatic downturn the moment he lost the rear and spun into the barriers during qualifying. It isn't easy to perturb the Australian, but his crestfallen (and rather foul-mouthed) evaluation of the weekend revealed more than just his opinion of the race (which saw him suffer two different technical issues in 25 laps) but of the car as well...

Going back to the original point, Red Bull has previously shown a remarkable ability to turn four-star car into a five-star one in a few races and there is plenty of time to recover ground, but it will be disappointed to have started 2017 off having lost nearly all of the momentum of its 2016 campaign.

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