Formula 1’s 2018 Cars Start To Break Cover
Graham Read, Formula 1 Correspondent
As the first of two four-day Formula 1 pre-season test sessions at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona in Montmeló, Spain approaches all ten teams have started to launch their new cars for 2018.
Let’s take a quick look at the five to appear so far, including the new Renault which was only revealed to the world a short while ago this afternoon. Apart from two additional compounds of Pirelli tyres being available for this season (Hypersoft and Superhard) you will see that the compulsory if controversial “halo” head protection structures have been included in the design of each car for the first time too.
This American owned team, about to start its third season in Formula 1, surprised everyone by being the first to reveal its new car on Wednesday of last week. Called the VF-18, this year’s challenger will again be driven by the Franco-Swiss racer Romain Grosjean and the Dane Kevin Magnussen. The outfit has made a solid start to life in F1’s fast lane and will be hoping to build on their successes to date.
Last Thursday evening the Williams Martini team became the second one to reveal its new car at an event in London. The FW41 will be piloted by Canadian youngster Lance Stroll, who made his F1 debut for Williams last season, and 22 year old Russian newcomer Sergey Sirotkin.
Both drivers bring funding to the outfit, but that is not unusual in motor racing and particularly in modern day F1. Both have sufficient pedigree to build a decent points tally between them if the car is fast enough and reliable enough. The customer Mercedes power unit installed in the back should give them encouragement on both fronts.
Aston Martin Red Bull
Red Bull are of course winners of multiple Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships in the past, but their rewards have been pretty lean since the arrival in 2014 of the all-conquering Mercedes hybrid car. Now officially named Aston Martin Red Bull, they launched their new car, the RB14, online yesterday and also took it for a brief filming run on a cold and wet Silverstone circuit. It featured a temporary “special edition” camouflage-style livery before the team reveals its racing livery when testing begins next week.
Rising young Dutch star Max Verstappen is under contract to them for the foreseeable future and alongside him again this year will be the always smiling and highly likeable Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who will be driving for the team for at least one more year before decisions are made about his future from 2019 onwards.
Alfa Romeo Sauber F1
Based in Hinwil, Switzerland, the Sauber team has a new lead sponsor and technical partner for 2018, Alfa Romeo, and this is clearly evident from the eye-catching new livery of its new car, the C37. The outfit used year old Ferrari power units last season and finished last in the Constructors’ Championship with just five points, but is very hopeful that the switch to uptodate Ferrari engines this time round will significantly enhance their performance and results.
They have retained Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson, whilst replacing the unlucky Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein with the equally promising French youngster Charles Leclerc who won last year’s Formula 2 championship and is highly regarded by Ferrari as one of its best young drivers.
Renault Sport F1
Renault is a fully fledged works team again and also a power unit manufacturer whose fortunes seem to be gradually on the rise. Apart from propelling their own car, Renault will also be supplying customer power units to McLaren F1 and Aston Martin Red Bull, the latter badged TAG Heuer. This season may be too early for the French outfit to be truly competitive, but here’s the car, the R.S.18, which they hope will bring Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz success for them on track.
The remaining five teams, including Mercedes AMG Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari, will be revealing their new challengers shortly before they all hit the Barcelona tarmac for the first time next week.
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Formula 1’s 2018 Cars Start To Break Cover, 20th February 2018, 21:00 PM