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Formula One - 2018

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With the new season just over a month away (25/03) I figure it's high time we take a look at what's changed from last year to this.

We'll start with the hilarious news that Liberty Media, in their attempts to be all modern and progressive, have fired over 400 women and brought in grid kids instead.  This clear step forward for womens' rights - which I mistakenly thought meant they had the right to work wherever and wear whatever they wanted - means that F1 will be using children now, who you would presume are too young to be paid (cha-ching!).  Some of the countries F1 visits positively encourage child labour, but I'd have thought on balance this is a case of meaning well but shooting one's self in the foot.

One common sense change that has been made is around the starting time of the races.  European races have been brought back 1hr and all races have been brought back by a further ten minutes.  So now your 1pm BST start is a 2:10pm BST start.  The hour is to make the majority of European races more appealing across the various timezones, and the extra 10 minutes is because most TV networks start their programming on the hour, so now they'll at least get 10 minutes of build-up and grid walking instead of literally tuning in for the warm-up lap.

The one significant visual change to each car is the new Halo.  This controversial addition to the cockpit is designed to protect the driver's head from the majority of what might come their way over the course of a race.  One vertical bar directly in front of the driver supporting a ring that encompasses the cockpit.

On the team front we have McLaren leaving the Honda engine and teaming up with Renault.  It'll be interesting to see just how far up the grid this engine change can bring Fernando & Stoffel.  I suspect a lot.
Toro Rosso in turn have left Renault and gone the other way.  While this looks like a bit of a disaster for them, Honda won't be terrible forever, and as the development team on the grid this makes sense to me.  It's a free hit for both.

Finally, a smaller but no less significant change, with Sauber extending a deal with Ferrari resulting in them getting the current spec engine instead of a year old one.  Hopefully this brings another back marker into contention for points.

Driver-wise, as part of the STR/Honda/Renault deal, Red Bull have agreed to loan Carlos Sainz Jr. to Renault, giving them a very strong looking line-up.  Williams have hired Russian rookie, Sergey Sorotkin to partner Lance Stroll.  How quick the Russian will be remains to be seen.  The interesting one is the other rookie.  20 year old Monégasque racer, Charles Leclerc who has joined Sauber.  He is the 2017 F2 Champion, the 2016 GP3 Champion, the 2015 Macau runner up & 4th in his F3 Euro debut, and 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Runner up in his debut year as a 16 year old and he's been Ferrari's test driver this past 2 years.  There are high hopes on him.  I suspect Sauber's new improved engine deal is linked to Ferrari's desire to see exactly what Charlie is capable of in a competitive motor.

Regarding the calendar, the Paul Ricard circuit is back for the French GPGermany is also back with Hockenheim, and Malaysia is gone.

Full calendar

1dd26e1c56e77c4bc1ed76a05f4e71d7.png

 

I'll be back later with the sporting and technical changes, but suffice to say there's nothing majorly different from a spectacle POV on the regulations front.
Or you can read them for yourself here at wiki.

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Red Bull TAG Heuer RB14

skysports-f1-red-bull-rb14_4234989.jpg?2

 

 

Haas Ferrari VF-18

skysports-haas-f1-car_4231010.jpg?201802

 

 

Williams Mercedes FW41

fw41-e1518722470887.jpg?quality=85

 

 

Sauber Ferrari C37

f1-sauber-c37-launch-2018-sauber-c37-755

 

 

Renault RS18 :wub:

renault-rs18-5.jpg

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Determined to get back into F1 this year having lost interest the last few seasons.

Will be following with interest.

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I love the Red Bull design (as in the livery), but I think I read that it's temporary and there will be a different design for the final car.

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1 minute ago, Stevo985 said:

I love the Red Bull design (as in the livery), but I think I read that it's temporary and there will be a different design for the final car.

Yep, correct, that's a provisional livery designed to obfuscate some of their more innovative aerodynamic features to prying yes.

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shame, I like that Red Bull livery. Looks lovely.  Here's hoping testing reveals the prospect for more competition this season.  Really hope Alonso has a decent car to drive this year

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1 hour ago, Stevo985 said:

Determined to get back into F1 this year having lost interest the last few seasons.

Will be following with interest.

I start every season with this mindset but quickly lose interest. Hamilton being a prick is a big factor, then the rubbish tracks and lack of general excitement makes it something I can easily live without.

Hopefully 2018 is different.

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2 hours ago, BOF said:

We'll start with the hilarious news that Liberty Media, in their attempts to be all modern and progressive, have fired over 400 women and brought in grid kids instead.  This clear step forward for womens' rights - which I mistakenly thought meant they had the right to work wherever and wear whatever they wanted - means that F1 will be using children now, who you would presume are too young to be paid (cha-ching!).  Some of the countries F1 visits positively encourage child labour, but I'd have thought on balance this is a case of meaning well but shooting one's self in the foot.

This was a hilariously bad attempt at gaining some positive PR. For me what they should have done would be to stick with the girls but have them dressed in more formal/smart clothing (like you see in several of the Gulf states for example). This keeps them in work but doesn’t make them appear as objects of male sexual desire.

I agree that hot pants and a boob tube is probably not right anymore but they’ve made a right old mess of being “current”. 

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Halos are dreadful & will no doubt cause chaos at uphill sections like Eau Rouge & the start at Austin.

Hamilton will win it by a mile (Wouldn't be surprised if he beats the 13 wins in a season record) followed by Vettel, Bottas & Verstappen.

 

Edited by LakotaDakota

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Hard to get too excited. The noise coming out of the other camps is very much in hope rather than expectation given that Merc have a new spec engine on-line this year. Ferrari have been pretty quiet though, so there is hope. A bit of chaos in Australia would be great.

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39 minutes ago, LakotaDakota said:

Halos are dreadful & will no doubt cause chaos at uphill sections like Eau Rouge & the start at Austin.

Hamilton will win it by a mile (Wouldn't be surprised if he beats the 13 wins in a season record) followed by Vettel, Bottas & Verstappen.

 

absolutely necessary though. I’m wondering about the obstruction of view from the middle section over the aerodynamics.

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27 minutes ago, villakram said:

Hard to get too excited. The noise coming out of the other camps is very much in hope rather than expectation given that Merc have a new spec engine on-line this year. Ferrari have been pretty quiet though, so there is hope. A bit of chaos in Australia would be great.

Obviously the betting man would be all over Merc, but Ferrari were showing signs last season and there were times they were genuinely faster.  Renault's engine seems to have made another improvement and we know if you can give anything like a competitive engine to Red Bull, Adrian Newey will take care of the rest.  For me the midfield will be interesting, or rather how close the midfield can get to snapping at the heels of the leaders.  McLaren will obviously make massive gains and the Renault team also have a cracking driver line-up.  I that power unit is good then they will both challenge Force India for best of the rest.  Maybe even more.  I'm not holding much hope for Williams.  The engine will be their saving grace but I can't see them being anything but the worst Merc team with those drivers.  If Leclerc can deliver in an up to spec Ferrari then

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2 hours ago, a m ole said:

absolutely necessary though. I’m wondering about the obstruction of view from the middle section over the aerodynamics.

Wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference to Bianchi, From the angle Massa got hit in the head with a spring i don't think the halo would have stopped it either.

Looking at the way it is designed it doesn't prevent anything coming straight down vertically on top of your head either & this is what killed Henry Surtees 9 years ago and Justin Wilsons was pretty much the same, A Wheel & a nose cone right on top of the head, how will the halo stop any of this?

There is little/no protection at all from anything coming down from above

M5OH3AK.jpg

NjuN9wp.jpg

 

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23 minutes ago, LakotaDakota said:

Wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference to Bianchi, From the angle Massa got hit in the head with a spring i don't think the halo would have stopped it either.

Looking at the way it is designed it doesn't prevent anything coming straight down vertically on top of your head either & this is what killed Henry Surtees 9 years ago and Justin Wilsons was pretty much the same, A Wheel & a nose cone right on top of the head, how will the halo stop any of this?

There is little/no protection at all from anything coming down from above

M5OH3AK.jpg

NjuN9wp.jpg

 

They did extensive situational testing, Surtees is one of the cases they looked at. Obviously Bianchi case is spot on but the problem there wasn't the safety of the car.

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/131095/six-key-myths-about-f1-halo-device-busted

Quote

1. It's not enough to make a difference with safety

Accidents involving flying wheels were the main impetus for work on cockpit protection and the key focus when testing both the halo and alternatives such as the shield.

Mekies explained that a wheel assembly hitting the cockpit at 225km/h (140mph) - "a speed we felt was a larger possibility" - was the key test that had to be passed.

But the FIA analysed three different crash scenarios: car to car collisions, car to environment contact, and external factors, such as wheels and debris.

It looked at past accidents, mainly from F1 but also other categories, to see what difference the halo would have made.

Romain Grosjean's Lotus landing on Fernando Alonso's Ferrari in the 2012 Belgian GP startline crash was among the car-to-car incidents examined.

It also considered shunts where cars went under tyre barriers - such as Luciano Burti's 2001 Belgian GP crash and Heikki Kovalainen's '08 Spanish GP accident - or rolled along barriers, as EJ Viso did in GP2 at Magny-Cours in '07.

The study even included Pascal Wehrlein's Monaco GP incident this year as new pictures from the FIA's cockpit camera revealed how close his helmet was to the barrier was his Sauber was upturned.

"We played the 'what if?' scenario," says Mekies.

"We fitted the halo onto the car, and we simulated these accidents, and tried not only to simulate that very single accident scenario, but also around that scenario.

"We tried to look at 5cms above, 10cms above, 5cms to the right, 10cms to the right, and so on.

"At the end of that for each of these cases we then looked at if it was very positive, neutral, or negative.

"The number of scenarios in which the halo would have helped is overwhelming compared with the number of scenarios where it could have be neutral or negative."

All the cases detailed in the FIA presentation to the drivers and media were either positive, positive on balance, or neutral - with Jules Bianchi's Suzuka 2014 crash among the few categorised as neutral. None came out as negative, although Mekies acknowledges that the FIA can never rule out such an outcome.

It also determined that the halo would have had a positive outcome in the cases of Henry Surtees and Justin Wilson's fatal incidents.

The FIA also acknowledges that it can't provide complete protection against smaller items of debris, such as the suspension spring that struck Felipe Massa in Hungarian GP qualifying in 2009.

But tests have shown that its presence significantly improves a driver's chances even in these situations.

"We looked at mathematical studies whereby we played the game of throwing millions of small objects to the halo from all different angles, and all different positions," Mekies explains.

"Statistically when you put the structure in front of the driver you are going to increase his protection against small debris coming to hit him, compared to not having the halo."

2. Visibility will be worse because it's an obstruction

Though some drivers expressed concerns about visibility after the brief halo tests last year, the FIA is confident the view ahead is sufficient.

It has compared an F1 car equipped with a halo with an LMP1 windscreen, which is considered very restricted - even though the governing body has mandated a minimum field of vision.

"A very large majority of drivers were satisfied with visibility," says Mekies of the 2016 halo running.

"We did have an issue with feedback from one or two drivers that had a bit of a claustrophobic feeling the first time they ran, with that shape ahead of them.

"But we were comfortable that we can deal with all that.

"With an LMP1 we had the opposite problem. The FIA imposed a minimum field of vision to the manufacturers, otherwise they would design cars that basically would barely allow the drivers to see through.

"We are very comfortable with the fact that we are offering much better visibility than in other categories."

The FIA is also working to shrink the width of the halo's central pillar for 2018, going from the current 20mm "as low as 16mm, and see how much we can push it" in tests.

3. It will be harder for drivers to get out of the car

Some drivers found getting out of the cockpit wasn't easy with the halo last year, but mainly because they couldn't use it to push themselves out as the dummy halos employed at the time were not intended to deal with their bodyweight.

The real halo can be used for that purpose. As Mercedes junior George Russell explained after trialling the device in Hungary this week: "It just takes a bit of experience, finding the right techniques, where to put your arms and stuff.

"I struggled initially but towards the end, after a few trial runs, I was fine getting in and out. You can hold on to the Halo as you pull yourself up.

"The only thing is getting your leg into the car, it's quite high. But I think most people would just have a step to stand on to get in and out of the car."

Tests have shown that a standard extraction by marshals, with the driver lifted out still attached to their seat, is actually straightforward as the halo opening mirrors the opening of the cockpit template beneath it.

4. Drivers could get trapped if the car overturns

Alonso's accident in the 2016 Australian GP is cited as one where a driver could have been trapped by the halo.

Mekies points out that marshals are trained to right any upside down car but says the FIA still tested the halo in upside-down scenarios.

It conducted a simple test with a dummy chassis, with its own safety expert Andy Mellor strapped in.

When the chassis was tipped upside down, the halo kept the front of the chassis higher off the ground than it would normally be and Mellor had no trouble getting himself out. Drivers have been shown a video of that test.

"It is actually preserving a better space for drivers," says Mekies, "because the car is resting on the front part of the halo, offering more space than they currently have compared to the ground.

"It's basically raising up the car compared to where it would be without it."

5. It's problematic if it deforms upon impact

In its tests the FIA determined that there was no scenario where it felt that the halo might have to be removed after an accident, though it has allowed for that possibility.

"Are we sure that there is not one scenario where the halo is going to be completely deformed over the driver's head, and we would want to remove it?" says Mekies.

"At first, if this is happening, we would probably all be happy that the halo was fitted to the car in the first place, because if something deforms that device, you can only imagine what would have been without it.

"We investigated a lot of tools and equipment in order to cut the halo, and we sourced something that is small enough to fit in our medical car, and would cut the halo in no time.

"So even in a very extreme scenario that we couldn't exactly picture we feel that we can cut the halo in basically no time."

Tests show it would take two seconds to cut the front pillar, and five seconds apiece to cut the two rear supports.

 

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Yup, the continuous pointing to the Bianchi crash like it was some act of god is maddening. Had he obeyed the posted yellow flags he would not have lost control of his car. I look on that similar to idiots crashing on the freeway here when it rains. Obviously the consequences were horrid, but the drivers need to accept some responsibility for that. 

Most of the teams have done a decent job blending it into the car with clever use of colors. I'd make it luminous pink for the PR. 

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ignoring driver error as maybe losing control was his problem but I wouldn’t like to say he is to blame for dying as a result of it - I’d say the procedure around the yellows and clearing the track, along with the design of the recovery vehicle’s body being at just the right height to avoid contact with the nose of the car but connect with the nose of the driver were the main points to take away form the tragedy.

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Onboard with Bottas showing the halo, Bottas was wearing video camera glasses for the footage so this is exactly eye level.

Playing the next f1 game in cockpit view is going to be crap

 

Edited by LakotaDakota
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So weird, doesn't feel like an open cockpit anymore. The drivers are all being very diplomatic about it so far, but I wonder what they really think.

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To be be fair i guess it will look much worse on a single camera than it will in person as you have 2 eyes not just one fixed viewpoint.

I'm sure it will take some getting used to but if you hold your hand side on about a foot in front of your face you don't really notice it anywhere near as much as you notice the central halo section in the video.

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