Sports Articles: Formula 1 2018 Season Preview


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Formula 1 2018 Season Preview
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Formula 1 2018 Season Preview


Kimi Raikkonen
Sebastian Vettel

Power Unit: Ferrari

Last year Ferrari pushed Mercedes close, often the difference was which one had been most recently penalised for their use of lubrication oil as a power boost. However the two cars different designs played a huge part, as Ferrari's shorter wheelbase was more suited to some circuits than the Merc's long wheelbase design. This season Ferrari have also moved over to the long wheelbase as they look to shift components lower down to counteract the weight of the halo. This should close the battle at the front as the longer wheelbase produces more downforce underneath and allows for more control of airflow via barge boards and other aero components.

Force India

Esteban Ocon
Sergio Perez

Power Unit: Mercedes

The Pink Panther is back once more, though they can not really expect to do any better than they did last season, as they were best of the rest in fourth. Their livery is a little less pink than last year but it still stands out as a unique colour scheme which could possibly give them leverage to use with potential sponsors. Another fourth place championship finish, while the best they can hope for in the short term, could just be a platform to use, along with any increased sponsorship the colour scheme can bring in, to put them in a position to snap at the heels of the top three, in the hope that one of them gets it wrong. Their main chance though is down to their Mercedes powerplant, which has been the best in the field for the last few years, if it continues to be so, they can once again put pressure on the Red Bulls on power circuits.


Romaine Grosjean
Kevin Magnussen

Power Unit: Ferrari

The US-based Haas team have continued their technical partnership with Ferrari which has allowed them to step right in and be competitive in the midfield from the moment they entered the series. However it has left them seeming as uninspiring as their colour scheme last season, as they seemed to get a little left behind. This time around they were surprisingly quick in testing, leading to Mercedes tipping them as the team to watch this year. They were right up there in the top 3 on the timing screens on the final two days of testing, despite lacking a few of the updates they had hoped to run with. If that is a true reflection of their relative pace, then Mercedes may be right, that they are the surprise package.


Fernando Alonso
Stoffel Vandoorne

Power Unit: Renault

The switch from being Honda's works team to being a Renault customer team was very much in an attempt to keep number one driver Fernando Alonso happy. I do wonder if they will live to regret following the wishes of a driver not known for making the right choices with his career. You only have to look at his car choices since winning titles, he has chosen to move at just the wrong time.

Has he now convinced his team to leave Honda at just the wrong time too? Testing with the new Renault unit has seen the reliability just as poor as it was with Honda, leaving McLaren with the lowest mileage in pre-season. They have also found they have been overly aggressive with their design, which required extra cooling slots to be cut in the engine cover. Will this be yet another year of frustration for Alonso at the back of the field? If so, how much of that will be his responsibility for forcing the change of engine?


Valtteri Bottas
Lewis Hamilton

Power Unit: Mercedes

Last season's champions have kept their driver line-up intact heading into the 2018 season, with genuine expectations, rather than hopes, of another world title. In Hamilton, they have probably the fastest driver on the grid, with an able back up in Bottas. The difficulty they have is adapting to the new rules as they were involved in the title battle until late in the season. When certain other teams were able to put their full concentration on developing this season's car, Mercedes were still trying to develop last season's to keep their lead. Has that held them back enough for the rest to close the gap? Either way, you would expect the Silver Arrows to be in the mix at the end of the season, especially if the claim by technical director James Allison is correct, as he believes they have gained a quarter of a second per lap in the sidepod alone.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo
Max Verstappen

Power Unit: TAG Heuer

Will the team be hampered by their great designer, Adrian Newey's split role, as he works on Aston Martin road car projects, alongside his role on the Red Bull team, which is now branded as Aston Martin Red Bull. The new car was right up there on the timing screens in the preseason tests in Spain, so the potential is there, though Ricciardo still believes Mercedes have the edge. Last season showed improvement, something they will hope will continue into this one, but that lack of focus by Newey could make all the difference to their season. They do look to have closed the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, but still seem to be chasing, rather than racing.


Nico Hulkenberg
Carlos Sainz

Power Unit: Renault

Renault have only returned to being a works outfit in 2016 and they have been working hard to catch up the ground to the leading group. It is not just the car that has needed work, the power unit has been problematic, which has led to a fraught relationship with customer team Red Bull. Last season was a struggle as reliability was holding them back, leading to the power of the engines being turned down significantly to help see them through races. This season they believe they have made giant strides forward and will no longer have to throttle back their engines for the sake of reliability. If they are right, that will make a real difference, as the lack of power last season saw them struggle much more than was expected. If they are able to keep the power turned up and stay reliable, it could see the them push right up to be the best of the rest.


Marcus Ericsson
Charles Leclerc

Power Unit: Ferrari

After finishing in last place in 2017, the arrival of a new title sponsor, in Alfa Romeo, has ended the financial difficulties they once faced, as well as provided a works factory input to drive the team forward. While it is likely to be a long term project to move up the field, the disadvantage of having to run a year-old spec Ferrari engine is gone, which should be a big help. This time around the engines are 2018-spec.

As well as the power units, they have taken some design cues from the Maranello outfit by placing the safety structure on the outside of the sidepods, allowing for smaller main bodies which give a significant aerodynamic boost, as Ferrari showed last season. In fact, Williams, Red Bull and Sauber are also using the design this season, though Ferrari have moved their design on a further step with innovative mirrors. With an engine that is a match for their rivals, money to develop the design and the added input from Alfa Romeo, Sauber should be, at least, competitive at the back of the field this time out.

Toro Rosso

Brendon Hartley
Pierre Gasly

Power Unit: Honda

Red Bull's junior team have been the team to benefit (though benefit might not be the right word if Honda have still not got their act together) from McLaren's acrimonious split with the Japanese car manufacturer. Honda came very close to quitting F1, again, as their engine struggled with a complete lack of power and reliability. However there was no way they could be seen to lose face by dropping out on a low, so they signed a 3 year deal with Toro Rosso in a deal which works for both parties. Honda have a team that really wants their partnership and is doing everything it can to make it work.

Toro Rosso finally have the works partner they have dreamed of for years. This is, after all, the team that, in its Minardi-incarnation, was back of the pack for most of its life. The relationship has been more than cordial and it has paid dividends so far as testing showed great promise. Could they be the dark horses of the season? There is certainly two partners in this relationship, with none of the antagonism of the McLaren era, where changes were met with grumpiness, at best, from the McLaren half. Honda now have a team that tries to work with them, such as when they wanted to increase the length of the engine slightly and Toro Rosso just worked around it to make it work. They have two champions driving as well, just a shame they are champions in other formulas, or this could have been a campaign that once again saw them challenge their sister team.


Sergey Sirotkin
Lance Stroll

Power Unit: Mercedes

One of the more famous names in F1 with a throwback colour scheme, but they have been struggling in recent years, despite having the Mercedes power plant. The team will be hoping that the return of Paddy Lowe can be the catalyst to a revival in fortunes and Williams can once more challenge at the sharp end of the grid. It does seem unlikely, without the vast resources available to works factory outfits, but there are high hopes of the new aerodynamic approach that has been taken with the new car. With two very inexperienced drivers, Stroll is only in his second season and Sirotkin is a rookie, they will need the car to be strong to give them any chance.

Written by Ed001

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