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Formula 1 Preview 01 – 2018 by Dave Bass

Another season is looming and I have some more of that useful/less information for you.

During the 2017 season the ten teams covered 26,975 laps in the practice sessions, 5,959 laps in qualifying and 20, 325 laps in the races giving a grand total of 53,259 laps for the season.

New lap records were posted at nine circuits last year; Azerbaijan, Austria, Britain, Spain, Singapore, Russia, America, Mexico & Brazil.

Another interesting statistic for last season was the ‘Fastest Pit Stop Award’. Williams again won the most with 8 from the 20 races, Mercedes with 6, Red Bull with 5 & Ferrari with only 1, so the Scuderia will need to do some practice pit stops over the winter period.

An announcement from Channel 4 confirming the 10 races with their full coverage of the weekends’ activities:

Bahrain (Rnd 2), Azerbaijan (Rnd 4), Monaco (Rnd 6), Austria (Rnd 9), Britain (Rnd 10), Belgium (Rnd 13), Singapore (Rnd 15), Japan (Rnd 17), USA (Rnd 18) and the finale at Abu Dhabi.

The two pre-season test sessions will both to be held at the Circuito de Barcelona – Cataluña this year.  The first four day test was from February 26th to March 1st, followed by the second 4 day test which will be 6th-9th March leaving just 13 days prior to the opening practice session in Australia on 23rd March – not much time for the teams to make any adjustments that may/will be needed.

Once again there will be two rookies on the grid this year; the 22 year old Russian Sergey Sirotkin in the Williams partnering Stroll (making it the youngest driver pairing on the grid) and 20 year old Monégasque Charles Leclerc in the Sauber alongside Ericsson.

McLaren will once again be hoping they can return to the top ten in both qualifying and races with this year’s Renault power unit, Alo & Van have both proved they are capable of finishing races in the points, but, first and foremost they need to finish.

What about drivers Nationalities this year?

To date there are 3 French, 2 Germans, 2 Finnish, 2 Spanish, 1 English, 1 Australian, 1 Mexican, 1 Dutch, 1 Danish 1 Russian, 1 Belgian, 1 Swedish  1 Canadian, 1 New Zealand & 1 Monégasque. With Massa retiring it will be the first time for 49 years, way back in 1969 that a season has started without a Brazilian driver on the grid.

Räikkönen is the oldest driver on the grid at 38yrs 5mths; Stroll is the youngest at just 19yrs 5mths – that is a fair difference! Ferrari with a joint age of 49yrs 1mth and Williams just 42yrs, there is a vast gap of 27yrs & 1mth. There have been a couple of birthday celebrations already this year with Ham reaching 33 on 17th January & Per at 28 on 26th January.

Power units for this season; Mercedes, Ferrari & Renault all fitted in 6 cars with Honda again in 2 cars snd let’s not forget the return of the 2 famous racing legends to this year’s grid, ‘Aston Martin’ with Red Bull Racing and ‘Alfa Romeo’ with the Sauber F1 Team.

There are only two rule changes for this year:

The drivers will now only be allowed three power units for the season.  With one extra race on the calendar this means they will have to last for 7 race weekends rather than the four engines last year having to last for 5 race weekends.  This could mean more grid penalties, but the penalty system has been simplified. Any driver that racks up 15 or more grid place drops will automatically be sent to the back of the grid.  If more than one driver receives such penalties, the grid will be sorted in the order that the elements were changed.

Tyres have also had a bit of a boost as this year there are 7 sets of slicks available rather than the 5 sets previously,of which Pirelli will select the 3 compounds available to the drivers for the weekend. The range now consists of Hypersoft  (pink), Ultrasoft (purple), Supersoft (red), Soft (yellow), Medium (white), Hard (blue) and Superhard (orange), with the green for the Intermediate and the ice on the blue full wet compounds.

Liberty in their infinite wisdom have decided that there will be no grid girls parading (posing) alongside the cars with the numbers & names this year as it is deemed an unnecessary part of the spectacle.  They have instead decided to use ‘Grid Kids’.

To add to the confusion, they have also tampered with the start times.  All of the European rounds and the Brazilian race will start an hour later, with all 21 races starting 10 minutes past the hour. OMG what next?

Sadly, as from 2019, Formula 1 will be shown live exclusively on Sky Sports F1 with some selected race highlights only being shown on terrestrial television.

In the chart below is a piece of worthwhile information. The annual entry fees for the teams, Mercedes obviously pay more as they are World Champions and have to pay £4,386 for each point earned; the other teams pay £3,654 per point.









Red Bull




Force India












Toro Rosso
















Nine of the ten teams have announced the launch dates for their 2018 challengers:

First in line was Haas on 14th February and Williams on 15th, Red Bull on 19th, Sauber & Renault on 20th, Ferrari & Mercedes on the 22nd, McLaren 23rd and Toro Rosso on 25th, leaving Force India yet to confirm a date.