2018 F1 Race Calendar – Official

The 2018 Official F1 Calendar has been announced.

This year will see the return of the French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard, after a 10 year break from the country.

Google Calendar link here: https://calendar.google.com/calendar?cid=YWZnMGs0aDdsdGdicHU5bDZuMzgwaGdrajhAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQ

 

DateVenueCountryCircuit
25th March 2018MelbourneAustraliaMelbourne Street Circuit
8th April 2018SakhirBahrainBahrain International Circuit
15th April 2018ShanghaiChinaShanghai International Circuit
29th April 2018BakuAzerbaijanBaku City Circuit
13th May 2018BarcelonaSpain
27th May 2018MonacoMonte Carlo
10th June 2018MontrealCanada
24th June 2018Le CastelletFranceCircuit Paul Ricard
1st July 2018SpielbergAustria
8th July 2018SilverstoneGreat Britain / EnglandSilverstone Grand Prix Circuit
22nd July 2018HockenheimGermany
29th July 2018BudapestHungary
26th August 2018Spa-FrancorchampsBelgium
2nd September 2018MonzaItaly
16th September 2018SingaporeSingapore
30th September 2018SochiRussia
7th October 2017SuzukaJapan
21st October 2018AustinTexas
28th October 2018Mexico CityMexico
11th November 2018Sao PauloBrazil
25th November 2018Yas MarinaAbu Dhabi
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Vettel Must Learn to Control his Temper if he’s to Win Another Title

Sebastian Vettel was pretty close to a race ban when he allowed his temper to get the better of him and deliberately drove into the side of Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

But that dangerous start at Singapore was completely unprofessional, aggressive and unnecessary. It wasn’t that long ago that Roman Grosjean received a race ban for being a complete idiot on the track at the start of the Spa GP, and after receiving support for his snappy temper, the Frenchman is now a much cooler customer behind the wheel. It leaves many fans of the sport wondering why Vettel has been allowed to get away with causing collisions.

So how did he manage to get away without a race ban? Jos Verstappen thinks it was all down to politics and you’d have to agree.

Simply, Vettel escaped a ban because a ban would have made sure Hamilton begame the 2017 World Champion, and that would make the rest of the season pretty boring. Neither the rights holders, the FiA or the fans want that.

Vettel escaped a ban because a ban would have made sure Hamilton begame the 2017 World Champion”

Like most great sportspeople, Vettel hates to lose he’s not very good at it. Most F1 fans know from experience that he’ll do the dirty on a teammate for the sake of winning. Remember Multi-21 when he was supposed to yield to former teammate Mark Webber? It’s no surprise that he took out Kimi Räikkönen in Singapore, apparently without a thought for him or the team; and at the same time probably deleted all hope of Ferrari and Vettel winning the 2017 drivers or constructors championship.

Vettel is a great ambassador for Formula One off the track, but his temper often gets the better of him when he’s in the car. Anyone who follows the sport will have noticed the increased incidents of shouting, swearing and generally aggressive behavior. He’s not taking the pressure very well at all, and it may be pressure that he’s applied to himself as he tries to emulated his hero Michael Schumacher. Schumacher was arguably worse, but Vettel is in danger of receiving a similar label from the non-German fans. It seems that as soon as something happens which he is unable to control, his temper gets the better of him. The ‘red mist’ descends and he does something silly (or dangerous). He loses it.

There’s no doubt that Sebastian Vettel is one of the greatest drivers of modern F1 history but he must learn to control his temper or his risks receiving a race ban and being unable to achieve World Champion status in 2018. Ferrari need to reign their driver in or they risk losing all the progress they have made over the past few years. He may need to see a sports psychologist; or perhaps he needs a financial penalty from the team.

Whatever the answer, something needs to happen quickly at Ferrari to appease fans of the team and the shareholders. Even Vettel isn’t bigger than the team.

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The FiA should do More to Recruit Women into Formula One

Tatiana Calderon

As an avid Formula One fan I’m always disappointing by the lack of women in the sport, in particular women in senior roles. Whilst the F1 paddock is dominated by men, women are (generally) left to ‘stand around and look pretty’ and very few are given jobs which seem them involved in the day-to-day running of F1 teams.

Even Claire Williams – the deputy Team Principle of the Williams F1 Team – has said that her father wasn’t keen on her taking a job in the motorsport. In an interview in 2013, Williams said that women need to be more “ballsy” if they want to progress in the sport and that people still expected she would get pregnant and disappear from the camera. In 2017, the boss of Sauber Monisha Kaltenborn, was forced to leave the team after a reshuffle of management.

 

Female drivers have tried but failed

Having watched many different types of motorsport it’s fair to say women don’t generally make it to the higher ranks, or certainly no where near as much as men. The most recent person to make it to test and F1 car during a race weekend was Williams test driver Susie Wolff but she retired from the sport soon afterwards. Many said that she was only supported within the sport because of her husband, Toto Wolff, boss of the Mercedes GP team.

Another lost talent was María de Villota who died in 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest caused by the life changing injuries she received when she crashed an F1 car during testing at Duxford Aerodrome.

 

F1 isn’t just about being strong

Historically, critics of women in F1 have said that the sport is too physically demanding for women to participate. The upper body strength such as the demands on the neck and upper back. However, recent changes to the regulations have meant that less strength is required to control an F1 car.

 

The pinnacle of motorsport needs to take a lead in encouraging women engineers and managers

F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, with race technology eventually making it into road cars (such as energy recovery). Teams require constant development, with engineers being responsible for designing and building many aspect of the modern technology. The UK lacks the valuable input that women can add to design and construction with schools struggling to encvourage young women into science, maths and engineering. Formula One has the ability to make an impact on this.

 

Could Tatiana Calderon be the next hope for women in F1?

Colombian racing driver Tatiana Calderon is the latest women to be recruiting into F1. Her role will see her as text driver for Swizz team, Sauber. However, she is unlikely to ever get a race seat with her currently record which has seen her best career position as 6th in the Spanish Formula 3 series in 2016.

 

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Helmut Marko threatens to leave Formula 1…again

Ever since he realised that Red Bull were going to struggle for years to compete with Mercedes, Helmut Marko has been threatening to leave Formula 1. Another year, another threat, because although the Red Bull chassis is excellent the customer Renault engine is crap.

It all started to go wrong in 2013 when a dominant Mercedes  was leaving the Red Bull well behind. Ever since, Dr Marko has done nothing but whinge and whine and makes threats to leave the sport.

 

The effect on Red Bull if Marko leaves

So what would the effect on the Red Bull F1 team be is Marko was to leave the sport?

Actually, not much.  Christian Horner would still remember how to manage a team, Adrian Newey would still remember how to draw, the engineers would still remember how to be engineers and the mechanics would still be mechanics. The tyre man would still know about tyres. The drivers would still be excellent drivers.

 

What about money to fund the team?

Anyone who follows Formula 1 closely knows that the real money behind the Red Bull Racing team is billionaire and co-founder of the Red Bull drinks company, Dietrich Mateschitz. With an estimated net worth of over $18billion, and the tax incentives from the British government to hosting his team in the UK, there’s still a bit of pocket money left to help the team along and a lot of reasons to stay in the sport.

Power unit problems

With Mercedes refusing to supply Red Bull with a customer engine, and Ferarri much the same, Red Bull have one major problem on their hands; an under-performing power unit. Whilst the chassis is quick in the twisty sections, it’s overall power is lacking which saw the car fall miles behind Ferrari and Mercedes in the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix.

The problem for Red Bull is that no matter how much they complain in the press, Renault are never going to give the team their upgrades before their own manufacturer team, which would make no sense as Renault try and drag their car near to the front of the grid. Unless a new engine manufacturer enters the sport Red Bull will struggle to find a different supplier.

 

Ecclestone to make F1 team return?

Meanwhile, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is making noises about starting his own team an recently made a suggestion that he would be willing to take over Force India with a “new Brabham team”. If Red Bull were to suddenly find itself in need of a new investor, Bernie might just be the man.

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Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes GP?

Pascal Wehrlein

As Nico Rosberg departs Formula One, millions of Formula One fans have been left asking who will take Nico Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes GP?

Pascal Wehrlein

Pascal Wehrlein wins the 2015 DTM season at Hockenheimring in 2015
Pascal Wehrlein is the likely Rosberg replacement

Back in February, I predicted that Toto Wolff was lining up Pascal Wehrlein to eventually driver for Mercedes, and I also predicted that he would eventually take Rosberg’s seat. What I didn’t know at the time is that Rosberg would retire so soon.

Sadly, Wehrlein’s first year driving for Manor Racing hasn’t been as great as it could have, and I expected that Wehrlein would have got at least another year racing for Manor before making the move to Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel

Despite struggling to secure podiums with Ferrari, Vettel appears to be at home with the Italian team for now. Vettel has always wanted to follow in the steps of his idol Michael Schumacher, and a Championship win with Ferrari is Vettel’s ultimate dream. Plus, with new regulations coming into place for 2017, Vettel is surely going to give the team at least one more year to give him the car he needs.

Max Verstappen

For some, the idea of Max Verstappen driving a Mercedes is a dream come true, but for others, it’s a nightmare. There’s absolutely no doubt that Max Verstappen will be World Champion sometime soon but at the moment he’s considerably tied into Red Bull. He also owes Red Bull a considerable amount of loyalty for having the faith to swap him with Kyvat mid season.

However, Max Verstappen also has another powerful tool at hand in his father, Jos. Jos Verstappen is a tour de force when it comes to getting what he wants and this might just be the opportunity to get Max into the top car in Formula One.

Pressure and loyalties aside, Max Verstappen has taken some risky moves this year and it would be a brave decisions for Toto Wolff and Niki Lauder to try to steel him from Red Bull. It could also be contractually very expensive.

Fernando Alonso

It’s no secret that Alonso has been unhappy with McLaren’s progress this season, openly referring to to car as having a “GP 2 engine”. Alonso also has past links with Mercedes as an engine manufacturer. However, he is getting towards the latter years of his career.

It could be a dream come true for Alonso fans to see him in a truly competitive car.

Nico Hulkenburg

Just like Rosberg, The Hulk has shown he has a lot of ability. However, he has already signed up to Renault for 2017 so a move to Mercedes looks very unlikely.

It’s got to be Wehrlein, surely?

At the moment, no one knows who will take Nico Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes GP, but whoever it is there’s going to have a lot to live up to.

My money’s on Wehrlein…it makes perfect sense for Mercedes, even if it’s a little earlier than they may have expected.

 

Vote!

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Why this Hamilton fan is sad to see Nico Rosberg retire from Formula One

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg

As Nico Rosberg announced his retirement form Formula One, it left this Lewis Hamilton supporter sad to see Rosberg leave the sport. Frankly, it should leave all F1 fans slightly depressed to see a talented World Champion retire from the sport while still relatively young; especially as there appears to be no other available driver experienced enough to take his seat at the moment.

Forgetting the ridiculous rumours from Hamilton fanboys that Mercedes GP deliberately sabotaged engines to give Rosberg the lead, and removing the British Press’ constant criticism of the German driver, Nico Rosberg has been a constantly good racing driver. He’s also been a very good ambassador for the sport, despite what some within the anti-Rosberg campaign may like to believe.

 

Rosberg made Hamilton a better driver

If you constantly compete against people who are way below your own level of performance, you simply don’t try as hard, because you don’t have to. You can become complacent and lazy. If you’re in a race car that is miles ahead of the competition you need something to keep you on your toes and keep pushing you to be the best.

Lewis Hamilton has benefited from a rival in Rosbeg who is arguably as good as he is. This has forced Hamilton to up his game in a team where the German driver was almost definitely the preferred driver for the German owned team. Competing against Rosberg has meant that Hamilton (and at times the Mercedes management) needed to consistently out qualify and outscore Rosberg if he wanted to be the best.

Of course, it could be argued that other drivers such as Vettel could have done the same if they had been in the same team. They weren’t.

Rosberg is extremely intelligent

Off the track, Nico Rosberg was well respected within the paddock for his technical ability. He speaks German, English, Italian, Spanish and French fluently which makes him able to converse with team bosses and engineers from all over the F1 world.

 

But Rosberg has made some very poor calls on track

Name me an F1 driver who hasn’t. There’s no such thing as a fair fight in a sport where the prizes are so high.

 

Rosberg is more reserved than other drivers

It’s a German thing. If Hamilton is cheese, Rosberg is chalk. Hamilton is quite happy jetting off around the world, enjoying his fame and money (and why not!)

Meanwhile, the German prefers to spend him with his family, wife and new child. As a father of two and someone who considered family to be the centre of my life, I think that’s equally as cool.

So good luck Nico Rosberg. Hopefully we’ll see you in the F1 paddock again soon in a different role.

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The British Press should stop trying to discredit Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg

As the 2016 F1 season rapidly draws to an end, there’s suddenly an air of superiority from biased British fans of Lewis Hamilton. It’s been suggested that Nico Rosberg isn’t worth of being World Champion because Hamilton has suffered reliability issues, and I say the British Press should stop trying to discredit Nico Rosberg immediately.

Watching Sky Sports F1 and reading other news outlets, the Press were quickly trying to come up with every possible reason to suggest that Nico Rosberg wouldn’t be a worthy World Champion. They were pointing our how unlucky Hamilton has been in terms of reliability, but failed to mention that Nico Rosberg has scored more points than Hamilton to date and started the 2016 season supremely.

The British Press should stop trying to discredit Nico Rosberg

The Hamilton Fanboys of Sky Sports were unashamedly discussing the possibility of Rosberg being ‘lucky’ to be ahead of Hamilton. However, they failed to recall races where Rosberg also suffered reliability issues – such as engine failure at Monza 2015, brake failure in Bahrain and a sticky throttle in Russia: all of which arguably cost Rosberg the title in 2015. Where were the calls from the British Press discrediting Hamilton’s World Championship win then?

 

This attitude against Nico Rosberg discredits good journalists

As soon as you hear journalists and commentators looking for poor quality reasons for Hamilton falling behind, it seriously begins to discredit them. Sour grapes do nothing to make them sound experienced and everything to make them sound childish. Just like when Hamilton suggested Mercedes were trying to sabotage his cars.

 

Whomever scores the most points this year would deserve to win the world championship

And that’s it. End of argument. The biggest point scorer wins and reliability is just bad luck. Nothing more, nothing less. Whichever driver wins they’ll be a very worthy winner.

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Lewis Hamilton accuses Mercedes of sabotage as another engine fails

Lewis Hamilton looked set to win the 2016 Malaysia Grand Prix, until yet another engine failed on the World Champion, leaving the driver’s chance of clinching another world championship looking even more distant.

Hamilton, who has had more than his fair share of engine reliability issues this season, was clearly despondent about the failure of an engine which was less than two races old, but went one step further with comments which left the bosses at Mercedes GP fuming.

In an interview for Sky Sports F1, Hamilton implied that there may be some sabotage afoot, saying “something doesn’t feel right”. When asked to explain what he meant, Hamilton went on to say “there’s been 43 engines from Mercedes and only mine have gone – it’s odd.”

However, management of Mercedes were quick to reassure Hamilton that he was simply the victim of bad luck. Team boss Toto Wolff said that there was “no such thing as anybody having his fingers on any bits.”

Hamilton’s engine failure left teammate Nico Rosberg in the points as he finished 3rd, after spinning at the beginning of the race due to contact by Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton was visibly disappointed, holding his head in his hand whilst still in the car and shouting “No! No! No!” over the team radio.

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F1 Safety Car Starts spoil races

F1 Safety Car Starts spoil races

F1 Safety Car Starts can completely ruin races. A couple of months on from the 2016 Silverstone Grand Prix, a race which was spoilt by the Safety Car start, I’m still left dissapointed.

The FIA regulation says:

“In exceptional circumstances, such as in extremely poor weather, a race may begin behind the safety car, which will put its orange lights on ten minutes before the start to indicate this. When those lights switch to green the safety car will lead the field around the circuit in grid order.”

F1 Safety Car Starts do one important thing – it helps to dry the racing line of the citcuit more quickly. However, it takes a considerably amount of enjoyment away from the race. The start is exciting. It’s important. Safety Car Starts make races sterile and boring.

 

An alternative to F1 Safety Car Starts could provide a better all-round experience

Once the track is deemed suitible for racing, the cars should line up on the grid. The race should be stopped. Teams should be provided 10 minutes to change tyres (if required) and the race should re-commence.

Rain occurs. It’s a factor which can affect a race. Let the drivers race – it’s a skill – don’t stifle the event.

 

 

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London Grand Prix could see circuit pass Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace

London Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone’s recent announcement that a London Grand Prix street race could take place as early as 2017 has got British F1 fans in a bit of a flap, and although the glass half empty brigade are saying it’s impossible, many others are already starting to predict were the circuit could be placed. Including me and my excellent Photoshop skills [irony].

Formula One Management have a good record of putting on street-circuit races in other cities where people once said it would be impossible to hold them, including Singapore, Montjuïc circuit and Detroit street circuit.

London is one of the most historical cities in the world and a London Grand Prix would be great for the British economy. Imagine a British-built McLaren Honda flying past Big Ben, a Red Bull turning into the hard right-hander at St. Paul’s just before crossing Blackfriars Bridge, or a Mercedes breaking heavily outside Buckingham Palace as it proceeds to make its way around Green Park. And for those with more money than sense, a seat on the London Eye would give superb overhead views as cars make their way over Westminster Bridge.

And while we’re dreaming, how about some floating grand stands places near to the waters edge?

Here’s my proposed route:

My proposed 2017 London GP route
2017 London Grand Prix could see circuit pass Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace
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