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Old 7 Jan 2018, 23:15 (Ref:3791292)   #1
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2018 Season Launch and Testing Thread

With the silly season all but over, and the start of the 2018 season back next month – for testing at least, we look forward to what we might be able to expect for this year. Dates and technical changes listed below.

2017 regulation changes saw the fastest F1 cars in history, with most lap records beaten comprehensively. With the rule changes, most were expecting the cars to not only be fast, but look the best they have been for a while, with a nod to the old cars of the 80's and 90's. Although the cars were indeed fast, aesthetically they weren't the best - with 'Shark fins' and 'T wings' adorning every car after a few rounds in. Far from what the cars looked like at their launch.

The cars of 2018 were set to be some of the ugliest cars ever, but thankfully the Shark fins and T wings were banned for 2018. But with the introduction of the Halo, the majority say they will still be the ugliest F1 cars in modern history.


2018 F1 TESTING DATES

PRE-SEASON TESTING
February 26-March 1: Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
March 6-9: Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona

IN-SEASON TESTING
May 15-May 16: Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
July 31-August 1: Hungaroring, Budapest



2018 F1 RACE CALENDAR

March 25 - Australian GP, Melbourne
April 8 - Bahrain GP, Sakhir
April 15 - Chinese GP, Shanghai
April 29 - Azerbaijan GP, Baku
May 13 - Spanish GP, Barcelona
May 27 - Monaco GP, Monaco
June 10 - Canadian GP, Montreal
June 24 - French GP, Le Castellet
July 1 - Austrian GP, Spielberg
July 8 - British GP, Silverstone
July 22 - German GP, Hockenheim
July 29 - Hungarian GP, Budapest
August 26 - Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps
September 2 - Italian GP, Monza
September 16 - Singapore GP, Marina Bay
September 30 - Russian GP, Sochi
October 7 - Japanese GP, Suzuka
October 21 - United States GP, Austin
October 28 - Mexican GP, Mexico City
November 11 - Brazilian GP, Sao Paulo
November 25 - Abu Dhabi GP, Yas Marina



2018 F1 DRIVER LINE-UPS

Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton/Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel/Kimi Raikkonen
Red Bull - Daniel Ricciardo/Max Verstappen
Force India - Sergio Perez/Esteban Ocon
Williams - Lance $troll/Sergey $irotkin (TBC)
Renault - Nico Hulkenberg/Carlos Sainz
Toro Rosso - Pierre Gasly/Brendon Hartley
Haas - Romain Grosjean/Kevin Magnussen
McLaren - Fernando Alonso/Stoffel Vandoorne
Sauber - Marcus Ericsson /Charles Leclerc



What are the new F1 technical rules for 2018?
(From F1.com)

Goodbye to T-wings and shark fins



When the teams considered the 2017 regulation changes, as always they were looking for what wasn’t written in the rules – ie the loopholes – as well as what was. The emergence of the extended, shark-finned engine covers, combined with the rather ungainly looking T-wings, was the result of one such loophole – but one that has been closed for 2018.



The blocks in red above show where developments were forbidden - but as you can see the small, central space in between had no restrictions and the teams took full advantage, leading to some extreme solutions. Williams employed a double T-wing, while the likes of Force India (top drawing), Renault and McLaren took things further, experimenting with multiple planes. The purpose of the T-wing was to better direct airflow to the main rear wing, and in some cases to create a little additional downforce.

With the shark fins and T-wings outlawed for 2018, we can expect the rear of this season’s new cars to look more like that tested by Sauber in Austin back in October of last year, illustrated below. The engine cover still features a fin of sorts, but nothing like the huge swathes of carbon fibre we saw in 2017.




Hello to halos

The one change every F1 fan will immediately notice in 2018 is the introduction of the halo – the cockpit protection device designed to further improve driver safety in the event of an accident, and in particular to deflect debris away from the head.



The design of the halo, which we have seen teams trialling in practice and test sessions over the past two seasons, is not dissimilar to the original study carried out by Mercedes at the FIA’s request in 2015, with a central pillar supporting a 'loop' around the driver's head.

Though the halo is mandatory, with its core design dictated by the rules, there will be some scope for teams to modify its surface, so don’t be surprised to see a variety of small aero devices adorning this new addition.

The figures in the drawing above indicate the impact forces, in kilonewtons, that the halo must withstand in each direction to pass the required FIA static load tests. This is an area which has occupied a lot of the teams' time, not least because they would ideally like to keep the mountings as low-weight as possible.

The overall minimum weight of cars has gone up by 6kg to 734kg to compensate for the introduction of the halo, but it's estimated that the actual impact of the device plus the mountings could be as much as 14kg, which will leave teams with less room to play with when it comes to performance ballast - and also put heavier drivers at a potential disadvantage...


Trick suspension outlawed

Another small, but potentially important directive issued by the FIA ahead of the 2018 season relates to trick suspension systems which could be used to improve a car’s aerodynamic performance.



Last year teams including Red Bull (above) and Ferrari (below) tried set-ups with a small link in the front suspension connected to the upright, believed to cleverly allow the ride height of the car - a key factor in aero performance - to be varied over the course of a lap depending on steering angle. The FIA has since decreed such systems will not be allowed.


Last edited by F1Guy; 7 Jan 2018 at 23:25.
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Old 7 Jan 2018, 23:17 (Ref:3791293)   #2
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There are many questions regarding the 2018 season. Ten of the biggest and important questions that have been on the minds of many F1 fans are listed below.


The 10 big questions for 2018
(From F1.com)


1. Can Ferrari or Red Bull topple Mercedes?

They may have scooped both titles for a fourth consecutive year, but there’s no doubt the Silver Arrows were pushed harder than ever in 2017 – indeed, there were many in the paddock who felt it was Ferrari and not Mercedes who had the best car on the grid last term, with the Italian team’s implosion over the second half of the season one of the key factors in Sebastian Vettel losing out on the drivers’ crown to a resurgent Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says he has no doubt that the Prancing Horse will again be fighting at the sharp end in 2018, but will Mercedes – buoyed by victory against an external foe rather than by internal bragging rights – come back even stronger?

According to Toto Wolff, the Brackley-based team know that the threat won’t just be coming from Ferrari’s direction in 2018, with Red Bull – winners of two of the final six races of last season – expected to start season two of F1’s latest rule cycle in much better shape than 12 months ago, having changed up their production schedule in order to hit the ground running in testing. And Wolff thinks there could be a fourth name to throw into the hat too…



2. How far will McLaren climb with Renault power?

With their turbulent relationship with Honda now at an end – a relationship that yielded just 133 points in three years – McLaren are looking forward to bright beginnings with new power unit partner Renault. The question is, having complained for some time that the true excellence of their package was being masked by a lack of grunt and woeful reliability, will they surge up the order in 2018 or be forced to eat their words?

Having finished ninth last year, you’d expect the eight-time constructors’ champions to improve considerably if, as racing director Eric Boullier claims, their chassis is already podium quality – but it’s one thing to get on terms with Renault’s works team or the Mercedes-powered duo of Force India and Williams (no mean feat in itself) and quite another to be in the mix for race wins. One thing’s for certain: if there’s anything like podium potential in the car, there’s no driver you’d rather count on to deliver on that promise than Fernando Alonso. Having been frustrated at every turn since he re-joined McLaren in 2015, the Spaniard could be like a cork out of a champagne bottle this term.



3. Will Honda power prove a blessing or curse for Toro Rosso?

Honda may have parted ways with McLaren, but their F1 project remains in full swing thanks to their new link-up with Toro Rosso. After many years with customer engines, Franz Tost says the Italian team are extremely happy to finally have an exclusive working relationship with a power unit partner, citing more chassis freedom and exclusivity of parts as major bonuses. However, as McLaren found out, those aren’t necessarily pluses if there’s a fundamental lack of horsepower to play with, let alone next to no reliability...

A more worrying factor for Toro Rosso is the fact that they weren’t exactly looking quick at the end of last season when they had Renault engines bolted into the back of their cars (though some of that can be attributed to having two rookie drivers), plus at least two of the three teams that finished behind them in the standings in 2017 – McLaren and Sauber – should make good progress this year as a result of their own power unit machinations.



4. How will the halo affect racing?

Like it or loathe it, the halo is coming to F1 in 2018, and that means – for the teams and drivers at least – the biggest talking point is no longer aesthetics but just how much impact it will have on racing.

There are two main factors at play here – driver visibility and car weight. In terms of the former, the FIA are confident that despite being surrounded by a fairly large piece of kit, drivers will still have better visibility than in other racing categories, such as sportscars (though after testing the halo in Hungary, Mercedes junior George Russell said seeing the overhead start light gantry could be tough).

In terms of weight, however, there are a host of potential ramifications. To take the cockpit protection device into account, the FIA has added another 6kg to the minimum weight limit, taking an already hefty car up to an even heavier 734kg. The problem is, the halo, its mountings and brackets could come in at something more akin to 15kg – and that means the teams will have to find ways to save weight in other areas or face the prospect of having less ballast to use for performance reasons.

And that’s especially bad news for the likes of Nico Hulkenberg, who, as one of F1’s taller drivers, is naturally heavier than many of his more diminutive peers…



5. Who will come out on top in the Red Bull battle?

According to Red Bull’s Helmut Marko, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo ‘pushed each other to the next level’ in 2017 – but while Ricciardo enjoyed championship supremacy over Verstappen (5th vs 6th), it was the Dutchman – so often the victim of unreliability – who bagged more wins (2 to 1) and was decisively the quicker of the two in qualifying. In fact, even Ricciardo himself would probably admit to being outperformed over the course of the season.

But given the closeness of their rivalry, it will be fascinating to see which of the two has the edge in 2018. Form suggests it will be the swashbuckling 20-year-old, who outscored every driver on the grid except Lewis Hamilton over the final six races of last season. But equally, if Ricciardo can find a way of ‘switching on’ the current generation of tyres in qualifying (one of his weak points) and can resist overdriving in response to Verstappen’s searing pace, he could turn the tide.

Certainly there are few – if any – better drivers than the ultra-consistent, hard-charging Australian when it comes to the supreme judgement needed in wheel-to-wheel scenarios – and if Verstappen has any weak spot it’s probably in that area, where his often high-risk approach has got him into trouble on occasion, not least in Hungary last season when he ended up ramming into the side of his team mate on the opening lap...



6. Who will race alongside Stroll at Williams?

It's just weeks until the season kicks off in Australia and there’s just one slot on the grid left to be filled. The question is, who’s going to take it?

Ever since Felipe Massa confirmed his retirement, speculation has been rife as to who will partner Lance Stroll at Williams in 2018, and if you believe the rumour mill the seat will go to one of two men: one-time Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica (pictured above) or former Renault tester Sergey Sirotkin, both of who drove for the team at the 2017 post-race test in Abu Dhabi.

The romantics’ choice is undoubtedly Kubica, who hasn’t raced in F1 since sustaining life-threatening injuries suffered in a rally crash in February 2011. However, with only a handful of tests under his belt, the world at large (if not Renault and Williams) are still a little in the dark as to the impact of his physical limitations. If he’s able to race at anywhere near the level he showed in the past – and it’s a big IF –he would be the natural choice for Sir Frank’s venerable team, blending speed and experience. But can Williams take that chance?

Or do they take a punt on rookie Sirotkin, who impressed in testing and would reportedly bring decent backing, but is someone who, with a 19-year-old in the other car, would leave the team with a gaping void in experience terms. Facing such a tough choice, it’s perhaps little wonder Williams decided to defer the decision until the New Year…



7. Will Kimi do enough to retain his Ferrari seat?

It’s like an annual saga: the season reaches its midway point and the rumours begin to circle about whether Ferrari will keep Kimi Raikkonen for another year. For the last few years, whether through his own performances, pressure from Sebastian Vettel or a lack of other options, the Iceman has put pen to paper for the following season, but in 2018 the pressure is really on.

“If we find the right key, Raikkonen drives like a God,” quipped Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne at the team’s annual Christmas celebration. “Probably this is the last season to find the right key and we must do it. If we cannot find the right key, the choice will fall on a young driver...”

When Marchionne mentions young drivers, he does so in the knowledge that Ferrari have highly-touted F2 champion Charles Leclerc on their books, and if the young Monegasque performs well for Sauber this season (more of which below) he could be first in line to take Raikkonen’s place.

There’s only one way for Raikkonen to stave off those rumours – show more of the kind of form that took him to pole in Monaco last year and less of the kind that often saw him either trail in a long way behind Vettel or get beaten by drivers in cars that had little right to be in front of a Ferrari.



8. Will Renault dethrone Force India – or aim even higher?

Few teams finished last season with as big of a smile as Renault, who pipped Toro Rosso to sixth in the constructors’ standings at the very last race in Abu Dhabi. That result capped a very promising campaign for the French manufacturer in which they made significant progress on both engine and chassis fronts, as well as cementing one of the most dynamic driver pairings on the grid, with Carlos Sainz joining late in the year from Toro Rosso to partner the ever-impressive Nico Hulkenberg.

The question is, what will happen next? With the same engine, Red Bull proved comprehensively faster than the works team, and if McLaren adopt Renault engines and also pull ahead there could be some embarrassment.

Then again, there’s nothing to say a buoyant and well-funded Renault – who’ve made some key hires over the past couple of years – won’t make another decent step of their own, although perhaps overhauling Williams and Force India – teams they outraced towards the end of 2017 – in the constructors' stakes is a more realistic target than challenging the top three.



9. Can Alfa and Leclerc flip Sauber’s fortunes?

The last two seasons have been nothing short of miserable for Sauber, with the Swiss team accruing just seven points as they struggled at the very rear of the field.

But finally there appear to be bright skies on the horizon. Not only does the team have settled ownership and leadership, they also have a new technical and commercial partnership with Alfa Romeo which should provide a solid launching pad from which to revive their fortunes.

As part of the deal Sauber will have access to latest-spec Ferrari power units, which is a serious upgrade on the outdated engines which so hampered them in 2017, not to mention the Honda units they were at one stage signed up to use.

The Swiss squad have also signed one of motor racing’s brightest talents to race alongside long-time driver Marcus Ericsson – Ferrari young gun Charles Leclerc (pictured above). The 20-year-old from Monaco comes with an enormous reputation after dominating in F2 as a rookie last season – will he provide similar fireworks in F1 in 2018? If he’s given the car, don’t bet against it.



10. How much of an impact will the three-engine rule have?

Last year each driver had four power units with which to tackle the 20-race season. This year they have one fewer – and there’s one extra race…

What does that mean for the championship? Well, with each power unit now required to last for as many as seven races – longer-life engines having been pushed by the rule makers for cost reduction reasons – manufacturers will face an even tougher juggling act when it comes to balancing performance and reliability.

Get the balance wrong and costly grid penalties or race retirements will soon add up – and in the context of a tight championship battle could prove crucial.

Furthermore, with just three engines, manufacturers have just two chances to introduce an upgraded unit throughout the season (without penalty). That heaps further pressure on the likes of Honda to get it right from the off…
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Old 8 Jan 2018, 09:09 (Ref:3791340)   #3
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I hope McLaren-Reanault are up there and hopefully we will have more challenge to the Mercs too. Glad the T wings have gone, but shame about the three engine per season rule. Prepare for more messed up qualifying
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Old 8 Jan 2018, 10:41 (Ref:3791356)   #4
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I think everyone is hoping for a Red Bull resurgence. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in a three-way fight for the championship.

A three-way is always more fun!
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Old 8 Jan 2018, 11:53 (Ref:3791366)   #5
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I hope McLaren-Reanault are up there and hopefully we will have more challenge to the Mercs too. Glad the T wings have gone, but shame about the three engine per season rule. Prepare for more messed up qualifying
Aesthetically, a shame we have the halo as well.
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Old 8 Jan 2018, 12:07 (Ref:3791367)   #6
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Even though we know it is coming, I wonder how many fans will be caught off guard and unaware of the Halo device... along with their negative reactions.

At the same time I expect teams to downplay their visibility by using darker and matte colors. I also broadly assume that color and type of paint will be selected to minimize driver distraction.

I could be wrong, but I thought I read something weeks ago that the new exclusion zones may not totally eliminate the potential for T wings.

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Old 8 Jan 2018, 12:44 (Ref:3791368)   #7
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Even though we know it is coming, I wonder how many fans will be caught off guard and unaware of the Halo device... along with their negative reactions.

At the same time I expect teams to downplay their visibility by using darker and matte colors. I also broadly assume that color and type of paint will be selected to minimize driver distraction.

I could be wrong, but I thought I read something weeks ago that the new exclusion zones may not totally eliminate the potential for T wings.

Richard
You're right. They are still possible, albeit totally different in location.
The 750mm gap between bodywork exclusions still exists, but they have made a side-on regulation to define another bodywork-excluded zone.

This still leaves the area in green and the white area between the wheel and red patch (within the 750mm gap) for possible T-bar use. (Image from Autosport)

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Old 8 Jan 2018, 15:55 (Ref:3791398)   #8
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Thing is most teams preferred the windscreen, but it seems one team was against it
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Old 8 Jan 2018, 16:17 (Ref:3791401)   #9
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Why couldn't a windscreen be installed on the halo to accomplish a couple things: 1) it would look more natural as if the halo is support for the windscreen. 2) it would solve the issue of small debris like what got massa.

Maybe the difficulty that was finding a strong enough screen that could be curved and maintain visibility could be solved by having two panels, one on each side of the halo. I think it would actually enhance the looks with the halo.
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Old 8 Jan 2018, 16:55 (Ref:3791405)   #10
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Why couldn't a windscreen be installed on the halo to accomplish a couple things: 1) it would look more natural as if the halo is support for the windscreen. 2) it would solve the issue of small debris like what got massa.

Maybe the difficulty that was finding a strong enough screen that could be curved and maintain visibility could be solved by having two panels, one on each side of the halo. I think it would actually enhance the looks with the halo.
Discussed quite a bit in the Closed Cockpit thread...

http://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=129305

My opinion is...

1. We don't have much public data as to what was or wasn't tried, so it is mostly speculation.
2. What tiny bit we have is that Vettel complained about a windscreen making him "dizzy". I think there was just that one short test (which wasn't even finished) before the idea was scrapped?

https://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2017/07/...riving-shield/

I don't want to move that topic to this thread, but to get one dig in...

Supposedly "top people" have looked into this. If only we had experience in designing windscreens for the front of things like cars, race cars, jet aircraft, etc. as well as knowing if the human body is able to see through these things without causing temporary or even permanent mental damage. Apparently it is a tough nut to crack. Maybe someday in the future, science will solve this hard problems. It is clearly too hard for F1, and if F1 can't do it, it can't be done.

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Old 9 Jan 2018, 09:25 (Ref:3791511)   #11
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Ferrari the first to announce a 2018 launch date. 22 February, online. Which means the launch car will probably not be 100% race car.


A couple of unofficial livery concepts of the SF18H and what it could look like.







Like the colour of the car in the second pic better. But that Halo... oh dear. There's no disguising that hideous thing is there!??
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Old 9 Jan 2018, 11:50 (Ref:3791530)   #12
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Discussed quite a bit in the Closed Cockpit thread...

http://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=129305

My opinion is...

1. We don't have much public data as to what was or wasn't tried, so it is mostly speculation.
2. What tiny bit we have is that Vettel complained about a windscreen making him "dizzy". I think there was just that one short test (which wasn't even finished) before the idea was scrapped?

https://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2017/07/...riving-shield/

I don't want to move that topic to this thread, but to get one dig in...

Supposedly "top people" have looked into this. If only we had experience in designing windscreens for the front of things like cars, race cars, jet aircraft, etc. as well as knowing if the human body is able to see through these things without causing temporary or even permanent mental damage. Apparently it is a tough nut to crack. Maybe someday in the future, science will solve this hard problems. It is clearly too hard for F1, and if F1 can't do it, it can't be done.

Richard
Thanks. I'll have to finish that thread someday. I tried, but couldn't get through it during the season. Didn't mean to bring up something already mentioned. I do remember hearing that it wasn't good for vision when it was just a curved windscreen all one piece and no halo. Just seemed like an obvious fix that someone could figure out.
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Old 11 Jan 2018, 04:19 (Ref:3791902)   #13
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Daniil Kvyat joins Ferrari for 2018.

https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/h...nt-driver.html
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Old 11 Jan 2018, 04:34 (Ref:3791904)   #14
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Daniil Kvyat joins Ferrari for 2018.

https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/h...nt-driver.html
Time to start selling red cars to Russian oligarchs.
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Old 11 Jan 2018, 08:38 (Ref:3791925)   #15
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That puts an end to the rumour that Kvyat was to be signed as Williams third driver for 2018.

If Raikkonen doesn't do well in the first half of the season, what's Kvyat's chances of taking his seat? IMO, I think Kvyat would do a better job of the #2 driver at Ferrari.
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Ferrari F2008 launch tomorrow. Launch season begins! Knowlesy Formula One 110 7 Feb 2008 13:13


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