Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Get ready for the 2018 F1 season with F1 Fanatic

2018 F1 season

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New year, new championship: The first race of the 2018 F1 season doesn’t take place until March but with car launches and tests coming up it’ll feel much sooner.

Here’s everything we know about the new world championship season.

Drivers

Robert Kubica, Williams, Yas Marina, 2017
Will Kubica make a shock return?
Just one place on the grid remains up for grabs as 2018 begins. Williams is yet to announce who will partner Lance Stroll following the retirement of Felipe Massa. This time last year Massa was talked out of retirement after Williams let Valtteri Bottas move to Mercedes, but assuming he is gone for good this time there are two front runners in the hunt for a seat.

These are Robert Kubica, who would make an extraordinary return from injury if he did join the team, and rookie Sergey Sirotkin. Williams have ruled others including Oliver Rowland out of contention.

Several drivers changed teams during last season and will stay in place as the new season begins: Carlos Sainz Jnr at Renault, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso.

The only other change in the 2018 roster is at Sauber, where Charles Leclerc arrives in place of Pascal Wehrlein.

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Teams and engines

The big change among the teams last year was McLaren’s decision to sever its relationship with works engine supplier Honda. It is now a Renault customer and Toro Rosso has taken over its Honda engine supply.

The only other major change is at Sauber, whose Ferrari engines are now branded Alfa Romeos. In a significant change, they will now have current-specification power units, as fellow Ferrari customers Haas do, instead of year-old examples.

Calendar

Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2016
F1 will return to Paul Ricard
There is a record-equalling 21 rounds on this year’s schedule. Sepang (Malaysia) is gone but Paul Ricard (France) will return after a 10-year absence and the Hockenheimring has one year left on its contract to hold the German Grand Prix in even-numbered years.

Get the 2018 F1 calendar on your mobile device

Don’t miss any of this year’s action. All of the 2018 season races are listed here and the times of each session plus the car launch dates will be added once they are confirmed:

Get more 2018 racing calendars

Find calendars for more 2018 series here:

Read up on the new rules

George Russell test the Halo, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2017
Halo has proved extremely divisive
The biggest rule change for 2018 is the arrival of the controversial Halo head protection system, which is going to make the cars look very different

Among other changes is a further reduction in the number of power units each driver is allowed throughout the season. This will fall to three, meaning each unit will have to last seven events on average. The grid penalty rules have been revised slightly as a result.

Further changes to the rules for 2018 may yet still be announced. Read more about the rules changes confirmed so far here:

Plan your 2018 grand prix trip

Will you be visiting a race during 2018? Hit our dedicated discussion forums to find other fans who’ve been before or are also planning trips this year:

See here for more information on how to plan a trip to an F1 race, what to take with you and more:

Follow the 2018 drivers, teams and more

The F1 Fanatic Twitter Directory includes all the drivers, team members and other significant F1 names.

The only drivers who do not maintain an official Twitter presence are Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. But you can find details for the drivers who do – and many others – here:

And of course make sure you’re following F1 Fanatic’s Twitter accounts:

Show who you’re supporting in 2018

Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley all embark on their first full seasons this year. Which of the established racers and new names will you be backing?

Here’s how you can show who you’re supporting on F1 Fanatic:

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 35 comments on “Get ready for the 2018 F1 season with F1 Fanatic”

    1. The only drivers who do not maintain an official Twitter presence are Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

      The rate at which he’s going, it looks like Hamilton might join their ranks (or replace Kimi!)

    2. ”Which of the established racers and new names will you be backing?”
      – Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, The Renault-drivers and the Force India-drivers or, i.e., These two teams as a whole. I also hope the STR-drivers to have a season as successful as possible. Furthermore, following three trouble-full seasons, I really hope that Mclaren would finally have a competitive enough overall package to at the very least be competitive enough to finish in the top 10 regularly preferably in the upper-top 10 or top 5 in other words.

    3. I’ll be supporting Hamilton, Raikkonen, Perez and Alonso. Teams- McLaren, Mercedes, Sauber, Force India.

    4. I’m predicting another championship for Hamilton/Mercedes, Ferrari to slip to third with Red Bull taking second.

      Bottas will again fail to secure 2nd and Mercedes will drop him back to Williams at the end of the season replacing him with Riccardo.

      Alonso will get a win, probably in Hungary.

      Force India will slip to 6th behind McLaren and Renault.

      Toro Rosso will be stone dead last with no points.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        1st January 2018, 14:27

        I can’t change what you predict, but I’m not sure Red Bull will beat Ferrari. Given that Red Bull still have Renault and they are wanting to split with them, I just can’t see the reliability being up to the standard of Ferrari and Mercedes. Unfortunately, I think it will be the reliability that lets them down even though they have 2 top drivers. I think Ferrari should still be very close to Mercedes.

        I personally think Bottas will improve a lot next year. This is only his first year with Mercedes and he’s been against Hamilton who is in his 5th. And yet he was closer to Hamilton in the standings than Rosberg was in 2014 and 2015. And in Rosberg had been in the team since 2010 and had looked to improve as he had been with the team for longer. I think Bottas will likely do the same. He just needs more time. But if he doesn’t improve, then I can see Ricciardo being a good choice. Although from reports I’ve read, it is looking likely that Red Bull with try their absolute hardest to get him to stay. I don’t think Verstappen will have resigned with such a long deal unless he was convinced things would turn around.

        I can agree with your sentence about Toro Rosso, I think that will be the case.

        Force India looked very good this year and they managed 4th in the constructors. This should get them some extra money to develop the car. I’m not totally sure McLaren will instantly be better than them especially with a Renault vs Mercedes engine. Even when McLaren had Mercedes in 2014, they really didn’t look great. But I guess it will be Alonso that makes the difference. If they get their chassis absolutely spot on, I can see one or two wins being possible.

        1. I predict McLaren will be close but not on par with Red Bull. Red Bull will be competitive wit Merc and Ferrari.
          Mexico proved Red Bull has made gains and they will be better prepared than in 2017.
          Alonso, with a few terrific starts, won’t win a race but will nonetheless perform well enough to scramble the order at the top.
          Red Bull will win the WCC. The WDC will either be VES or RIC, probably the latter.

      2. @philipgb I more or less fully agree with your predictions regarding points 3-5, but not so about points 1 and 2. Regarding the 2nd one: Even if Bottas was to underperform so much to lose his drive before the end of the season, I highly doubt it would lead to your suggestion ”Mercedes will drop him back to Williams at the end of the season replacing him with Riccardo.” I doubt RB would just let Ricciardo go before his current contract expires for zero compensation, and furthermore, Williams will also have two drivers under contract at least until the end of the season.

        1. @jerejj

          Hence why I said at the end of the season…

          1. @philipgb Yes, although I kind of assumed that by ‘at the end of the season’ you were referring to Bottas possibly being replaced by Ricciardo for 2019, but then again, on the other hand, the term ‘at the end of the season’ mightn’t always directly refer to the specific point in time when a race season ultimately comes to an end. It could also imply to the last few races, so, therefore, I replied with the wording I did just in case you were referring to the latter option.

            1. I’m meaning replaced for the 2019 season as I’m predicting despite Hamilton/Mercedes taking their respective titles, Bottas will again end up 3rd, maybe 4th.

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          1st January 2018, 20:29

          I get the feeling Ferrari may want Bottas if Merdedes don’t keep him. They were previously showing interest in him and he is no doubt better than Raikonnen who Ferrari have just signed again. But I still think there is a big chance Mercedes will keep Bottas. He showed to be very capable in the first half of the season. I know it is best to progress as the season goes on, but showing you are that good instantly basically shows you are very capable. Bottas just struggled in the 2nd half. But I reckon that this year, he will do as well or better as the first half of last season. since he’s had a full year to get used to the team.

    5. I predict that I won’t like the halo-shod cars, and that Mercedes-Hamilton will walk away with the championship. I look forward to spending far less time in front of the telly listening to the blowhard “Crofty” screaming every time somebody executes a DRS motorway pass.

      1. @Gary ”Mercedes-Hamilton will walk away with the championship.” – Don’t jump to definite conclusions yet about the Championship outcome. It’s far from given that your suggestion would happen.

        1. Weird. This is not me.

    6. The surprise will be Honda. If they succeed in keeping up the development they had the last races their engine will be on Renault 2017 level.
      Mclaren succeeds in getting the right chassis around the renault they will play a serious part.
      RBR builds a RB14 with two of the best drivers and a revived chassis/newey builds the platform to perform.
      Mercedes oversteps their engine development and half way the season use a fallback to the 2017 engine.
      Ferrari fall back again and will struggle to keep up.

      Top drivers in 2018: Hamilton and Verstappen and Ricciardo They will decide the WDC.

      For now i putt my crystal ball back…

    7. Also the last year of live coverage (and possibly highlights) for those of us without Sky in the UK. It looks like my last season of F1 after 25 years.

      1. @b194 – Me too. I cannot justify the additional costs and I have an aversion to Sky as a business entity.
        It will be interesting to see if highlights programs/Youtube clips plus BBC Radio 5 Live can maintain my passion.

        1. @tribaltalker. As a matter of interest I have maintained my F1 ‘passion’ despite not having a TV for 5 years, nor watching any ‘catch-up’ facility on the computer. I feed my passion with sites like this, the enthusiasm and knowledge of the posters and an occasional YouTube clip. That’s it.

          1. @baron – Thanks for that very positive approach! I’m impressed. And you are right, F1 is about so much more than the 2 hours of a race.

    8. 2018 not even a day old and already the negative vibes! I predict TR will be better than you thought and that Haas will be the series ‘rear gunner’ .

    9. A word of thanks to f1fanatic.co.uk as the primary source of information that l rely on for Formula One Racing.
      To Keith my personal thanks for allowing me to speak my mind about how F1 is going. I am reminded that your site brings those who are very deep into Grand Prix Racing and it gives us all a chance to learn. Like most sports fans who reach out to players and teams, we who follow the drivers careers know that first off you gotta be very good and lucky to get a seat, some get the best seats. Championships are won and lost by the people and teams of many nations who fight it out on racetracks around the world. I am lucky to have seen most of it now for forty years. Along the way l witnessed the best come and go in racing machines that will blow your mind.
      f1Fanatic supplies the inside stories and the chance to speak our minds but here in the Pacific Northwest of the US our Cable coverage suddenly ended with was superb by the way, now as of this writing dont know who will cover 2018.

      So thanks to Keith

      I am still learning

      1. @TEDBELL ”who will cover 2018.” – If you’re referring to which TV channel will cover F1 in the US from next season onwards, then the answer is ‘ESPN.’

        1. My thanks Jere

      2. You’re very welcome, thanks so much for your kind words.

    10. I registered on F1fanatic in 2008 (although started visiting the blog in 2007)…

      It is 2018 now.

      Wow.. time flies. @keithcollantine could you make an F1Fanatic members/followers/community entering 2018 reassesement/introduction article of sorts?
      I’d love to know who’s who and who has been how long on the blog. Oh, and who are the oldest members of the community. I might just be one of the veterans, but there surely are guys who have been here for a longer time.

      1. @damon That’s a great idea for functionality the site could have, especially when we’ve had members like yourself who’ve been contributing for so long. One for the ‘future ideas’ notebook…

    11. OK, I’ll play.

      The highlights of the 2018 season will be:

      A season-long seesaw battle between Red Bull Racing and Merc-AMG, with several penalty-accruing incidents, all (coincidentally) involving Max. Ricciardo will lead the championship for most of the season, finally being overtaken by Hamilton at the last race, when Bottas deliberately takes out Verstappen in a pay back maneuver in an effort to ensure his position in the team for 2019. The controversy will extend far past the end of the season.

      Ferrari will fail miserably due to poor leadership, conservative aero design and poor QC. Kimi will be sacked mid season after calling Marchionni the worst Finnish imprecation possible, involving barnyard animals. His place will be taken by Le Clerc, who will proceed to out qualify and outpace Vettel at every ensuing race. He will become the defacto #1 Ferrari driver for the foreseeable future.

      Force India will change their name reflecting strong new sponsorship from tech industries in India and Mexico. They will beat Ferrari to third in the championship, with Ocon out pointing Perez – both drivers will drive well and there will be no incidents between them. Ocon will come third in the drivers championship, after the full-season DQs for Bottas and Verstappen.

      Ferrari will be lucky to finish fourth just ahead of a resurgent Williams, led by Robert Kubica. Lance Stroll will continue to improve with a strong work ethic and good coaching by Robert in racecraft.

      Toro Rosso Honda will beat Renault and MacLaren. Haas will end its relationship with Ferrari after a horrible season with constant QC problems, taking up with Honda for 2019. The Renault team will smartly outpoint MacLaren, which will accuse them of withholding the good engines. Lawsuits will ensue. Alonso will go to Renault for 2019, which will lend credence to the theory…Sauber will languish at the rear, with made-in-Modena parts littering the tracks.

      That’s what my crystal ball says, which just happens to coincide with my preferred outcome. Imagine that!

    12. “Further changes to the rules for 2018 may yet still be announced.”

      It’s just a gut thing based on nothing in particular but I have a feeling Liberty are going to throw a double 6 with some weird unexpected sporting rule change(s) relatively close to the new season. Probably wrong, though…

    13. Hamilton Domination. An all out Schumacheresque sweep of poles and wins. It is about time; this is the year where he ascends into living legend status.

    14. A few notes from my time travels –
      1) Hamilton wins the WDC in 2018, with the strongest challenge coming from Max, Dan and Valterri. Valterri challenges well for the title up until the midway point in the season, but Mercedes thrown more weight behind Hamilton in the 2nd half because the Red Bulls are a genuine threat. Hamilton wraps up the title in Brazil.
      2) Ferrari start off the season just behind Mercedes and even take a couple of wins in Monaco and Hungary. After the mid season break they fall back on the development race, and Sebastian throws a few hissy fits before he throws Ferrari out of contention. Ferrari finish 3rd in the WCC, behind Red Bull in 2nd. Kimi Raikonnen is informed before Singapore that he’s no longer a Ferrari driver. Marchionne starts looking at LeClerc, Ricciardo, Bottas and Perez as potential replacements.
      3) McLaren see an upswing in form, and bag around 4 podiums in the year. Alonso bags 3 of them in Monaco, Hungary and Singapore. Vandoorne takes one in Malaysia. McLaren end the season 4th in the WCC behind Ferrari.
      4) Toro Rosso fail to score a point in the entire season, with their highest finishing position being 12th. There are over 12 DNFs due to mechanical reasons between the two Toro Rosso drivers and they will incur a record breaking number of penalties for engine parts in 2018. They will finish dead last in the championship.
      5) Midfield battle will be close between Renault and Force India, with the bitter rivalry between Ocon and Perez being the differentiator in the end. Both Force India and Renault bag 3 podiums each. The Hulk finally breaks his podium duck in 2018 at Brazil. Renault finishes 5th in the WCC, just a couple of points ahead of Force India in 6th.
      6) Sauber Alfa Romeo improves their fortunes massively. LeClerc bags the monster’s share of points finishes through consistent top 10 finishes during the season. He constantly outpaces both Stroll and Sirotkin to secure 7th in the WCC for Sauber. Stroll has the upper hand on Sirotkin during the 1st runaway races, but constantly gets out qualified and outraced by the Russian as the season goes on. Williams finish in 8th in the WCC mostly due to their poor driver lineup.
      9) Haas finish in a lonely 9th in the championship. Pretty even between Mag and Gro throughout the season.
      10) As discussed, no hope for Toro Rosso.

      1. Vandoorne takes one in Malaysia.

        So another prediction is Malaysia returns at the calender mid season? :-D

    15. Another big word of praise for Keith and the excellent F1 Fanatic site. Have been here for a few years and its the only place I comment and feel interested enough to participate in the predictions championship- but never seem able to consistently enter! A must visit every day for my Formula 1 news. Keep up the good work Keith. You’re “part” of Formula 1!

      Predictions for 2018:

      -Hamilton wins his 5th and Retires.
      -Alonso gets 2 podiums.
      – Honda gets a podium
      – Charles Leclerc will surprise with one or two top 5 performances
      – Hulkenberg will get his first win.
      – Sainz will consistently be in the top 6
      – Williams will be even worse than this year.
      – Ferrari wins constructors.
      -Hamilton moves to Ferrari in 2019. Vettel leaves the team (to McLaren?)

      Bold 7 year prediction- Formula 1 and Formula E merge somehow.

      1. -Hamilton wins his fifth and retires, “OR” moves to Ferrari. :)

    16. Halo has proved extremely divisive

      I don’t think a 90-10 split can be called divisive, I think that counts as almost universally unpopular.

    17. Supporting Hamilton Verstappen Riccardo Ocon Gasly
      Teams: McLaren, Red Bull, Williams, Mercedes

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