Welcome to Full Throttle Motorsport, the only place where you will find brutally honest F1 reports (that are mostly my opinion, and you may not agree with it, but I don’t care!)

Last year saw some thrilling action, lots of Force India fights, Lewis Hamilton moaning, Sebastian Vettel’s infamous Azerbaijan love tap, McLaren’s bitter relationship with Honda finally being consigned to history, Jolyon Palmer losing his drive, Fernando Alonso losing his rag, Bottas taking his first race win, Lance Stroll becoming the first Canadian driver not a Villeneuve to score points. Unfortunately, there were also races which I slept through!

Okay only one race I slept through, and in my defence, I thought it started at 7 and not 6!

Anyway, enough about last year, and congratulations Hamilton and Mercedes on winning the titles.

Felipe Massa has retired and has been replaced by Sergey Sirotkin, who impressed the Williams team greatly in preseason testing with the size of his wallet, I mean talent.

Reigning Formula Two champion Charles LeClerc joins Ericsson at Sauber.

Jolyon Palmer has now left the Renault team, to be replaced by Carlos Sainz. Toro Rosso have signed up for Honda engines, McLaren have switched to Renault (which have been disastrous in the Red Bull!) You can get good odds on Toro Rosso changing their entire driver line up by Monaco.

Other major changes this season include the introduction of the thong, sorry the Halo. Which even when customized by individual teams still looks silly.

Fortunately Force India are keeping the same drivers, as Force India watch was a lot of fun last season!

Driver Line ups:

Mercedes:

  • Lewis Hamilton (Britain)
  • Valtteri Bottas (Finland)

Ferrari:

  • Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)

Red Bull:

  • Daniel Ricciardo (Australia)
  • Max Verstappen (Holland)

Force India:

  • Sergio Perez (Mexico)
  • Esteban Ocon (France)

Williams:

  • Lance Stroll (Canada)
  • Sergey Sirotkin (Russia)

Renault:

  • Nico Hulkenberg (Germany)
  • Carlos Sainz (Spain)

Toro Rosso:

  • Pierre Gasly (France)
  • Brendon Hartley (New Zealand)

Haas:

  • Romain Grosjean (France)
  • Kevin Magnussen (Denmark)

McLaren:

  • Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium)
  • Fernando Alonso (Spain)

Sauber:

  • Marcus Ericsson (Sweden)
  • Charles Leclerc (Monaco)

Calendar:

  • 25-Mar AUSTRALIA
  • 08-Apr BAHRAIN
  • 15-Apr CHINA
  • 29-Apr AZERBAIJAN
  • 13-May SPAIN
  • 29-May MONACO
  • 10-Jun CANADA
  • 24-Jun FRANCE
  • 01-Jul AUSTRIA
  • 08-Jul BRITAIN
  • 22-Jul GERMANY
  • 29-Jul HUNGARY
  • 26-Aug BELGIUM
  • 02-Sep MONZA
  • 16-Sep SINGAPORE
  • 30-Sep RUSSIA
  • 07-Oct JAPAN
  • 21-Oct USA
  • 28-Oct MEXICO
  • 11-Nov BRAZIL
  • 25-Nov ABU DHABI

Pre-season testing was greatly disrupted in Barcelona by sub zero temperatures and snow. Kimi even claimed that he thought he was in Finland!

Alonso and his new engine picked up from where they left off last season, by breaking down, some things never change!

It is always difficult to pick up any definitive conclusions in testing, as nobody knows for sure what the teams are running, Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes all look strong, but the McLaren team still looks hopelessly unreliable.

There are also changes to the Calendar. Malaysia has gone, France has returned, Russia is now in September and Azerbaijan has moved to the end of April.

All races will now start at 10 minutes past the hour, and most European rounds will start at 2:10 (BST) apart from France, which has been moved back a further hour to avoid a clash with the England v Panama game in the World Cup (because who wouldn’t want to miss England losing to Panama!). It has not been confirmed that there will be a Justin Timberlake concert to delay USA qualifying again this year, but there is time yet! Bahrain’s start time has also moved and will now be fully run at night.

Australian Grand Prix start times: (UK)

Friday 23rd March

Free Practice 1: 01:00-02:30

Free Practice 2: 05:00-06:30

Saturday 24th March

Free Practice 3: 03:00-04:00

Qualifying: 06:00-07:00

Sunday 25th March 06:10 (DO NOT FORGET THE CLOCKS GO FORWARD AN HOUR ON THE SATURDAY NIGHT!)

I think that is everything you need to know, see you all on Sunday (6:10am, don’t be late!) for the first race of the 2018 season!

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