The 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship is set to be an epic season.
The new campaign is set to feature 21 Grands Prix held all across the globe in five continents.
Action flags off this weekend in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix.
The championship then comes to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the region’s biggest and most highly anticipated weekend, the Formula 1 2018 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, from April 6 to 8.
The season ends seven months later in November in the UAE, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
There are plenty of exciting milestones to look forward to in 2018.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and chief rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari are both vying for a fifth drivers’ World title. Should either of them win, they would join only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as drivers who have achieved that feat.
Mercedes could also become the only team, other than Ferrari, to win at least five straight constructors’ World titles. Mercedes are currently among four teams who have won four in a row, and they now have a chance to continue their magnificent run and try to catch Ferrari’s record of six straight.
Also in 2018, three drivers are on course for 100 podiums. To date, only Schumacher, Hamilton and Alain Prost have done it. Vettel could soon join that exclusive club as he already has 99 podiums to his name. Fernando Alonso of McLaren needs just three more podiums to hit the century mark, while Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen needs nine more.
Formula 1 has implemented several changes for the new season.
The Bahrain Grand Prix now flags off at 6.10pm on Sunday, April 8, 10 minutes later than its regular start time.
There are also chances for fans to get an even closer experience to all the racing.
The introduction of ‘Grid Kids’ will see up-and-coming local drivers playing a major role in the pre-race build up, whilst the new Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps programme will be launched at the Bahrain Grand Prix. This will offer a few lucky fans the chance to be driven round the track by an F1 driver. In addition, fans will also have the opportunity to join the ‘Truck Tour’ experience, parading around the circuit in open top buses during the race weekend.
All these changes are in the context for the new season of F1, which inevitably brings changes to the teams and their set-ups.
McLaren has a new engine partner in Renault and there are several driver changes, including Charles Leclerc, the reigning Formula 2 champion, now driving for Sauber and fellow-rookie Brendon Hartley driving for Toro Rosso.
Amongst the new technical regulations, the use of a halo cockpit protection device will be the most obvious modification to the car, providing an additional safety feature for the drivers in case of an incident.