March. We’ve made it through the off-season, and now have just
three and a half weeks until the 2018 season gets underway in Australia. And,
between McLaren’s promising partnership with Renault, Hamilton and Vettel’s title
fight, and an ever-improving Red Bull outfit, said season is shaping up to be a
Arguably the biggest talking point heading into the 2018
season is the title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. The pair
will go toe-to-toe for their fifth World Driver’s Championship each, the first
time in the history of the sport two four-time champions will compete on track
at the same time. Hamilton will be looking to defend his title from last
season, while Vettel will be attempting to surmount a four-year lull since his
last title in 2013. Whoever comes out on top will become the 3rd
driver in history to obtain a 5th World Title, after Juan Manuel Fangio
and Michael Schumacher.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will be attempting to add to his tally
of wins, and bring the fight to Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi
Räikkönen as frequently as possible. He’ll have teammate Daniel Ricciardo to
contest with however, as well as McLaren Renault driver Fernando Alonso. The
battle for 3rd place in the Driver’s Championship between these
drivers should be incredibly entertaining.
In the Constructors Championship, Mercedes will look to retain
their 100% win record in the turbo-hybrid era, which began in 2014. Ferrari
will be hot on their heels however, with insiders suggesting that they are
closer than ever to the German marque. Red Bull will still likely be fighting
for best of the rest for the upcoming season, however a new challenge from
McLaren may be in store thanks to their replacement of the Honda power unit.
Since 2015, McLaren have used Honda engines, which have
proven unreliable and slow. For the 2018 season, the team have switched to
Renault power units, the same used by the Renault works team and Red Bull. Toro
Rosso have picked up the Honda power unit instead, presumed to be testing how
competitive the engine is so that the senior Red Bull team can switch from
Renault in future seasons. The breakdown of the Red Bull/Renault relationship
has been a long and public one, with Red Bull having been looking for
alternatives for many years.
Red Bull have even gone to the lengths of rebadging the
Renault engine’s they use as TAG Heuer engines the past few seasons because of the animosity between
the two brands. The addition of Aston Martin as a title sponsor means for this
season means the team have potentially the longest name in Formula One history with
‘Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer’. Fortunately, the car itself has a
very simple name, with it just being the RB14. Said RB14 had an awesome camo
livery unveiled at Silverstone last month, however it was just a testing livery.
And by testing livery, Red Bull literally meant that one session for the media
day. It’s already been replaced by the actual livery for testing in Barcelona,
which is gutting.
As for the other teams, no livery has really stood out as particularly
good or unique. Ferrari have returned to all-red thanks to Santander dropping their
sponsorship, while McLaren have returned to classic papaya orange, with flairs
of blue. However, the car has massive patches of empty space which really
detracts from the overall look of the car. Force India’s car has white
plastered all over, and the team have swapped their matte paint from last season
for a glossy finish. What this has done is make the car look like a strawberry
HAAS’ car does admittedly look very nice, as does
Sauber-Alfa Romeo’s car. The Ferrari junior team is running essentially the
concept livery from a few months ago, which one can only assume is thanks to the
positive reception the livery received at the time. The phrase “If it isn’t broken
don’t fix it” comes to mind here. Mercedes’ W09 is literally the same design as last year with an extra blue stripe on
the side, as are the Williams and the Toro Rosso cars, with the later having just
added Honda logos to their 2017 design.
While the cars may not have changed much from last season,
the calendar has. The big addition this year is the return of the French Grand Prix,
which will take place at Le Castellet. Russia has been moved to much later in
the year, meaning Azerbaijan in now the 4th race of the season. Germany
returns to the calendar too this year, at Hockenheim, while Malaysia is missing
from the calendar. The circuit have chosen not to renew its contract with the
sport for the foreseeable future, meaning there will be a total of 21 races in
the 2018 season – culminating once again in Abu Dhabi.
I personally can’t wait until the season gets underway. I’ll
be covering every moment right here on FullThrottleMedia.co.uk, so make sure
you check back in following each Grand Prix for a full breakdown of events.
Isaac is one of our lead writers for FullThrottle, and has a lot of passion for racing games and real-world motorsports.
He’s also a competitive online racer in organized league events, and you can expect plenty of coverage from on real-world motorsport, racing games, and eSports.