The Formula One season is finally back, and it feels like it’s been a while since we last saw the teams and their stars take to the asphalt in Abu Dhabi for the final race of the 2017-18 season.
Lewis Hamilton claimed his 4th World Title after rival and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel had his hopes of a championship fizzle out towards the end of the season. Heading into the first race of the 2018-19 season in Melbourne, Australia this weekend, we take a brief look at some of the changes ahead of what looks like a fascinating Formula One season.
During the offseason, a fair amount has changed in terms of the teams, the engines, the cars themselves and the calendar. The main difference you will see this season with the cars is the introduction of the ‘Halo. This new addition to the car design is a three-pronged section that sits over the driver’s head which further protects him or her from race debris or other moving objects. The introduction has been controversial with the majority of the F1 world divided on the opinion of the ‘Halo’ due to the impact it has on the weight, aerodynamics and importantly the speed of the car.
In terms of the engines, Ferrari and Mercedes will keep hold of their respective engines but the remaining constructors have moved around quite a bit. After three unsuccessful years of running under the Honda unit, McLaren has switched to a newly improved Renault engine which will be also used in Renault’s and Red Bull’s cars this season. Honda is still staying within the F1 scene however and will be used within the Toro Rosso cars.
With regards to drivers, most drivers have kept their seats within their respective teams but there are a few changes to note. With the retirement of the popular Brazilian Felipe Massa, Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin lands the other seat in Williams alongside Canadian, Lance Stroll. Sauber has also introduced 20-year-old, former Ferrari junior driver, Charles Leclerc to partner Marcus Ericsson for the 2018-19 season.
New for the 2018-19 season is the return of the French Grand Prix, on June 24th. Not among the calendar for ten years, the Circuit Paul Ricard near Marseille takes up the French Grand Prix mantle. Also returning to the calendar, after a year’s absence is the German Grand Prix. Be sure not to miss the action unfold from the Hockenheimring on Sunday, July 22nd.
The Australian Grand Prix starts at 6:10am on Sunday which is sure to be a great start to the season if you can get up early enough to watch it. The Bahrain Grand Prix is up next after Australia, which is live at your local Last Orders on the 8th April from 4:10pm!