PREVIEW: 2018 Formula One Season

Article By 
Isaac Forcella
March 1, 2018

PREVIEW: 2018 Formula One Season

Article By 
Isaac Forcella
March 1, 2018

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 historic event.

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.

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton's heated rivalry may boil over this season...

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.

McLaren's papaya and blue car looks amazing - apart from the massive blank space on the sidepod

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.

We won't be seeing this livery again this season, despite how cool it is

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 milkshake.

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.

Mercedes are hoping to win yet another Constructors title in 2018

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 Forcella

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.