Formula 1 kick-starts again this weekend at Albert Park, Australia for the first race of the new season. What do you need to know for the new campaign?
Using the grid from the last race of the previous season, eight out of the ten teams have kept the same driver line-ups, most notably Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, and Max Verstappen at Red Bull.
The full list of teams and drivers for this year’s World Championship:
- Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas
- Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel & Kimi Raikkonen
- Red Bull – Daniel Ricciardo & Max Verstappen
- Force India – Sergio Perez & Esteban Ocon
- Williams – Lance Stroll & Sergey Sirotkin
- Renault – Nico Hulkenberg & Carlos Sainz
- Toro Rosso – Pierre Gasly & Brendon Hartley
- Haas – Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen
- McLaren – Fernando Alonso & Stoffel Vandoorne
- Sauber – Marcus Ericsson & Charles Leclerc
There are two new rookies for 2018. One of which is Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, replacing Felipe Massa, who had retired from the sport at the end of the previous season. The other is Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, replacing Pascal Wehrlein, who has gone back to racing in the German touring car series (DTM).
‘Halo’ cockpit design
A new safety feature that has been added to the cars this year is the new ‘halo’ design. The purpose of this is to help protect the driver’s head in the cockpit, especially when they are involved in accidents. However, some fans are not happy with the new ‘halo’ technology.
The championship will be contested over 21 races, one more than last year and an equal-record number of races in a Formula 1 season. Sky Sports will once again broadcast every race live, whilst Channel 4 in their final season will only show ten of them live:
- Australia – 25th March (Sky)
- Bahrain – 8th April (Sky/Channel 4)
- China – 15th April (Sky)
- Azerbaijan – 29th April (Sky/Channel 4)
- Spain – 13th May (Sky)
- Monaco – 27th May (Sky/Channel 4)
- Canada – 10th June (Sky)
- France – 24th June (Sky)
- Austria – 1st July (Sky/Channel 4)
- Great Britain – 8th July (Sky/Channel 4)
- Germany – 22nd July (Sky)
- Hungary – 29th July (Sky)
- Belgium – 26th August (Sky/Channel 4)
- Italy – 2nd September (Sky)
- Singapore – 16th September (Sky/Channel 4)
- Russia – 30th September (Sky)
- Japan – 7th October (Sky/Channel 4)
- USA – 21st October (Sky/Channel 4)
- Mexico – 28th October (Sky)
- Brazil – 11th November (Sky)
- Abu Dhabi – 25th November (Sky/Channel 4)
Who is favourite?
Most of the bookies’ favourite to win the World Championship this year is Lewis Hamilton, going into 2018 as the reigning-World Champion. His team, Mercedes are also favourites to retain the Constructors’ Championship again. However, from the Friday Practice times this morning in Melbourne, the Ferraris and Red Bulls are a lot closer than they were this time last year. Can Hamilton or Vettel clinch their fifth world title, or can Ricciardo or Verstappen come out on top in what is set to be one of the most closest of championships in years?