|2018 FIA Formula One
The 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship is an ongoing motor racing championship for Formula One cars and the 72nd running of the Formula One World Championship. It is recognised by the governing body of international motorsport, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), as the highest class of competition for open-wheel racing cars. Drivers and teams are competing in twenty-one Grands Prix for the World Drivers' and World Constructors' championship titles.
Lewis Hamilton is defending his World Drivers' Champion title, after winning his fourth championship at the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix. His team, Mercedes, is the defending World Constructors' Champion, having secured their fourth consecutive title at the 2017 United States Grand Prix. After ten rounds, Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in the World Drivers' Championship by eight points. Kimi Räikkönen is third, a further forty-seven points behind. In the World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari leads Mercedes by twenty points, with Red Bull Racing third.
A new cockpit protection device—commonly known as the "halo"—became mandatory starting in 2018. The introduction of the halo in Formula One was the first stage of a planned roll-out that would see the device adopted in all FIA-sanctioned open-wheel racing series by 2020.
The following teams and drivers have been entered in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship. Teams compete with tyres supplied by Pirelli.
|Entrant||Constructor||Chassis||Power unit||Race drivers||Free Practice drivers|
|No.||Driver name||Rounds||No.||Driver name|
|Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||SF71H||Ferrari 062 EVO||5||Sebastian Vettel||1–11||N/A|
|Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India-Mercedes||VJM11||Mercedes M09 EQ Power+||11||Sergio Pérez||1–11||34||Nicholas Latifi|
|Haas F1 Team||Haas-Ferrari||VF-18||Ferrari 062 EVO||8||Romain Grosjean||1–11||N/A|
|McLaren F1 Team||McLaren-Renault||MCL33||Renault R.E.18||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||1–11||N/A|
|Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||Mercedes||F1 W09 EQ Power+||Mercedes M09 EQ Power+||44||Lewis Hamilton||1–11||N/A|
|Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||RB14||TAG Heuer[note 1]||3||Daniel Ricciardo||1–11||N/A|
|Renault Sport Formula One Team||Renault||R.S.18||Renault R.E.18||27||Nico Hülkenberg||1–11||N/A|
|55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1–11|
|Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||Sauber-Ferrari||C37||Ferrari 062 EVO||9||Marcus Ericsson||1–11||36||Antonio Giovinazzi|
|Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda||STR13||Honda RA618H||10||Pierre Gasly||1–11||N/A|
|Williams Martini Racing||Williams-Mercedes||FW41||Mercedes M09 EQ Power+||18||Lance Stroll||1–11||40||Robert Kubica|
McLaren terminated their engine partnership with Honda and instead signed a three-year deal for power units supplied by Renault. The team cited Honda's repeated failure to supply a reliable and competitive power unit as the reason for ending the partnership.
Toro Rosso parted ways with Renault—allowing McLaren to finalise their agreement with Renault—and came to an agreement to use Honda power units. As part of the deal, Red Bull Racing loaned Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. to Renault's works team.
Toro Rosso signed 2016 GP2 Series champion Pierre Gasly and two-time World Endurance champion Brendon Hartley as their full-time drivers for 2018. Both Gasly and Hartley made their Formula One débuts with the team in the latter stages of the 2017 championship. Daniil Kvyat left the team and the Red Bull driver programme, securing a development role with Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc, the reigning Formula 2 champion, made his competitive début with Sauber. Leclerc, who had previously driven in Friday practice sessions in 2016 and 2017, was hired by the team to replace Pascal Wehrlein. Wehrlein was ultimately unable to secure a race seat and was instead enlisted as one of Mercedes's test and reserve drivers while racing full-time in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters series.
Williams driver Felipe Massa retired from Formula One at the end of the 2017 championship. Massa was replaced by former Renault test driver and SMP Racing driver Sergey Sirotkin, who made his competitive début with the team.
The following twenty-one Grands Prix are due to be run as part of the 2018 World Championship:
|1||Australian Grand Prix||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne||25 March|
|2||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir||8 April|
|3||Chinese Grand Prix||Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai||15 April|
|4||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Baku City Circuit, Baku||29 April|
|5||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Montmeló||13 May|
|6||Monaco Grand Prix||Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo||27 May|
|7||Canadian Grand Prix||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal||10 June|
|8||French Grand Prix||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet||24 June|
|9||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg||1 July|
|10||British Grand Prix||Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone||8 July|
|11||German Grand Prix||Hockenheimring, Hockenheim||22 July|
|12||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Mogyoród||29 July|
|13||Belgian Grand Prix||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot||26 August|
|14||Italian Grand Prix||Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza||2 September|
|15||Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore||16 September|
|16||Russian Grand Prix||Sochi Autodrom, Sochi||30 September|
|17||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka||7 October|
|18||United States Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas[note 2]||21 October|
|19||Mexican Grand Prix||Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City||28 October|
|20||Brazilian Grand Prix||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo||11 November|
|21||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi||25 November|
The French Grand Prix returned to the calendar for the first time since 2008. The race has returned to the Circuit Paul Ricard, which last hosted the French Grand Prix in 1990 before the event moved to the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.[note 3] The race was scheduled to be run in June, with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix brought forward to April to accommodate the change and to avoid clashing with celebrations for centenary of the Azerbaijan republic. The German Grand Prix also returned to the championship after a one-year absence, with the Hockenheimring scheduled to host the race.
The Malaysian Grand Prix—which was part of the championship from 1999 to 2017—was discontinued. The Russian Grand Prix was moved from April to September, filling the vacancy left by the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Following widespread criticism of the grid penalty system in 2017 that regularly saw multiple drivers start races outside their qualifying positions, the FIA introduced a revised set of regulations for 2018. In the event that a driver changes a power unit component, they are still subject to a five- or ten-place grid penalty depending on the component being changed; however, should they then replace a second component, they will be moved to the back of the starting grid. If multiple drivers are moved to the back of the grid, their starting positions are determined by the order that components were changed based on the most recent change made by each driver.
The rules governing starting procedures were changed for 2018, granting race stewards the power to issue penalties for improper race starts even if a driver's start does not trigger the automated detection system. The changes were introduced following two incidents during 2017: at the Chinese Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel positioned his car too far across his grid slot to be registered by the detection system; while at the Austrian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas's start was called into question for his reaction time despite the detection system recognising it as legal.
In the event that a race is suspended due to a red flag, it will be restarted with a standing start. Drivers will return to the starting grid in the positions they held at the time of the suspension and the race director will repeat the race start procedure. If circuit conditions are suitable for racing but the race director deems a standing start inappropriate, the race will resume with a rolling start where the safety car returns to pit lane and drivers proceed around the circuit in single file until they are shown the green flag.
The FIA introduced tighter restrictions on racing licences issued to drivers taking part in free practice sessions. Candidate drivers are required to complete a minimum number of Formula 2 races or earn twenty-five superlicense points over a three-year period. The changes were introduced to address concerns about drivers who would not be able to meet the standards required to compete in Formula One having access to Formula One cars.
The schedule of a Grand Prix weekend was changed, with the start time of most European races pushed back by one hour in an attempt to accommodate a larger television audience. All races are scheduled to start at ten minutes past the hour so as to allow broadcasters the opportunity for pre-race coverage when their broadcast of the race starts on the hour.
Power unit suppliers are required to provide all teams using their engines with an identical specification of power units. The change was introduced to ensure parity after Mercedes works team was observed to have access to additional engine performance settings that were not available to their customer teams.
The quantity of power unit components a driver may use during the season was reduced from four complete power units during the entire season in 2017 to a new system where each of the power unit components is considered separately. Therefore, in 2018, each driver is permitted to use up to three each of internal combustion engines (ICE), heat motor generator units (MGU-H), and turbochargers (TC); and two each of the kinetic motor generator units (MGU-K), energy stores (ES), and control electronics (CE).
Restrictions against the practice of oil burning, where engine oils are burned as fuel to boost performance, were also introduced. The practice, which was first used in 2017 saw teams burning as much as 1.2 litres per one hundred kilometres. For the 2018 championship, this figure was revised down to a maximum of 0.6 litres per one hundred kilometres. The rules were further amended to restrict teams to using a single specification of oil, which must be declared before the race. These oils are subject to stricter definitions of what is considered "oil" in order to prevent teams from using exotic blends designed to boost performance. Teams are also required to inform the stewards of the mass of oil in each oil tank before the race.[note 4]
Further changes to the technical regulations require the temperature of air in the plenum chamber—adjacent to the turbocharger—to be no more than 10°C above the ambient air temperature. The rule was introduced in a bid to stop teams from artificially heating or cooling air for possible performance gains. Active control valves, which electronically regulate the flow of fluids between power unit components, will also be banned.
The FIA banned the use of "shark fins", a carbon fibre extension to the engine cowling aimed at directing airflow over the rear wing. The use of "T-wings", a horizontal secondary wing mounted forward of and above the rear wing, was also banned.
Following a series of serious incidents in open-wheel racing—including the fatal accidents of Henry Surtees and Justin Wilson—in which drivers were struck in the head by tyres or debris, the FIA announced plans to introduce additional mandatory cockpit protection with 2018 given as the first year for its introduction. Several solutions were tested, with the final design subject to feedback from teams and drivers. Each design was created to deflect debris away from a driver's head without compromising their visibility or the ability of safety marshals to access the cockpit and extract a driver and their seat in the event of a serious accident or medical emergency, with a series of serious accidents—such as the fatal accidents of Jules Bianchi and Dan Wheldon—recreated to simulate the ability of devices to withstand a serious impact. The FIA ultimately settled on the "halo", a wishbone-shaped frame mounted above and around the driver's head and anchored to the monocoque forward of the cockpit. Seventeen accidents were examined as case studies, with the FIA concluding that the halo would have prevented injuries in fifteen of them. In the other two instances—most notably Jules Bianchi's fatal accident—the FIA concluded that although the halo would not have prevented driver injuries, it would not have contributed to or complicated the outcome of the accidents. Once introduced, the halo concept is scheduled to be applied to other FIA-sanctioned open-wheel racing categories including Formula 2, Formula 3 and Formula E, with 2020 earmarked as the deadline for all FIA-sanctioned open-wheel racing series to adopt the halo.
Following criticisms over the aesthetic value of the device, the FIA revealed plans to allow teams some design freedom in the final version of the halo, with the teams permitted to attach a thin single-plane wing atop the halo to control airflow over the top of the car and into the airbox to assist with engine cooling. Where the test models of the halo had been attached to an existing monocoque structure, teams were required to incorporate the final build of the halo into the chassis design from its inception rather than attached once the design was completed. The minimum weight of the chassis was raised to 734 kg (1,618.2 lb), in order to accommodate the additional weight of the halo. The mandatory crash tests that each chassis must pass were adjusted to include a new static load test. In order to simulate a serious accident, a tyre was mounted to a hydraulic ram and fired at the crash structure; to pass the test, the chassis and the mounting points for the halo had to remain intact. In order to prevent teams from exploiting the halo for aerodynamic gain and potentially compromising its purpose, the FIA banned teams from developing their own devices and instead required them to purchase pre-fabricated models from approved suppliers. The technical regulations were updated mid-season to allow teams to mount rear view mirrors to the halo instead of affixing them to the bodywork. The changes were introduced in response to criticism that the halo obstructed the driver's view of the mirrors; however, halo-mounted designs were also criticised for allowing teams to exploit a loophole and introduce aerodynamic device, in the form of winglets above the mirrors, into an area where aerodynamic development was prohibited under the pretense of improving driver visibility, and the regulations were rewritten once more to ban the practice of mounting anything besides mirrors on the halo.
The FIA made several changes to its trackside procedures to further accommodate the halo. The time limit on the extraction test—the test of a driver extracting himself from the survival cell of a crashed car—was extended to allow drivers more time to escape. The starting gantries at circuits were also lowered to improve the visibility of the starting lights.
Tyre supplier Pirelli provides teams with two new tyre compounds in 2018. Each of the 2017 compounds was made softer, with a new "hypersoft" tyre becoming the softest of the nine and a new "superhard" tyre to be the hardest. The hypersoft compound is marked by a pink sidewall, while the superhard will be orange. The hard compound, which previously used orange markings, will now be changed to ice blue. The hypersoft compound made its début at the Monaco Grand Prix. The rules dictating which tyres are available were relaxed to allow Pirelli to supply a wider range of compounds. Previously, Pirelli had to provide sequential compounds; for example, ultrasoft, supersoft and soft. In 2018, Pirelli is able to supply compounds with up to two steps of difference between them; for example, the ultrasoft, supersoft and hard tyres. Pirelli is required to manufacture an additional tyre compound that is not intended for competition. This tyre is to be supplied to teams for use in demonstration events to prevent teams from using demonstration events as informal—and illegal—testing.
For the Spanish, French and British Grands Prix, Pirelli reduced the tread depth by 0.4mm across all compounds. This is to combat blistering due to new asphalt at these circuits for the 2018 season, which resulted in higher grip and reduced tyre wear.  This was in response to the high level of blistering experienced by Mercedes at the re-surfaced Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in pre-season testing.
The championship started in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix. The race ended with a victory for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, who used a timely virtual safety car period—triggered by the stricken Haas of Romain Grosjean—to pass Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton and he successfully defended the position until the finish. Kimi Räikkönen finished third in the other Ferrari ahead of Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo. McLaren ended the first race of their partnership with Renault with a fifth and ninth place for Alonso and Vandoorne respectively. Max Verstappen finished sixth after an early spin ahead of Nico Hülkenberg. Valtteri Bottas was eighth, having started fifteenth when he took a penalty for a gearbox change after a heavy crash in qualifying. Carlos Sainz Jr. completed the points-scoring positions in tenth. Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin both made their competitive débuts for Sauber and Williams respectively. Leclerc finished thirteenth while Sirotkin retired with a brake failure.
Vettel then won from pole at the next round in Bahrain, holding off a late charge from Bottas to win by seven tenths of a second. Hamilton finished third despite a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change and contact with Verstappen on the second lap.
However, in China, Vettel's winning run was broken, with Daniel Ricciardo's 2 stop strategy helping the Australian to his sixth career victory, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen. Ricciardo pitted for a new set of softs with 20 laps to go under safety car while the leaders stayed out on their used set of mediums, he then fought his way past both Ferraris and Mercedes to the lead.
Hamilton took his first win of the year in Azerbaijan and with it, the lead in the Drivers' Championship. Räikkönen finished 2nd while Sergio Pérez claimed 3rd. With 10 laps to go, Bottas was leading (but still needing to make a pitstop) followed by Vettel and Hamilton when the Red Bulls crashed bringing out the safety car. Bottas pitted under safety car and came out still leading but a puncture on the penultimate lap caused him to retire. Vettel, who was second behind him at the restart, locked up on cold tyres at turn 1 and went wide, dropping behind the remaining top three.
Hamilton took pole and won comfortably in Spain, extending his lead to seventeen points. Bottas finished second while Verstappen finished third, his first podium of the season. Ricciardo took pole in Monaco and won the event despite developing an engine problem mid-race that left him severely down on power. Vettel finished second and Hamilton finished 3rd. Vettel closed his points deficit to Hamilton, while Ricciardo gained two spots in the Drivers' Championship to be third overall.
In Canada, Vettel won from pole taking the world championship lead by one point from Hamilton. Bottas finished 2nd for the fourth time this season as Verstappen finished third, his qualifying position. The race result was counted back to the standings at the end of lap 68 (of 70) after the chequered flag was waved a lap early in error – although this did not impact the top-10 standings.
Hamilton took pole position and victory (his third of the season) in the returning French Grand Prix, taking the world championship lead back with 14 points, with Vettel finishing only 5th after a first corner crash with Bottas. Verstappen finished second, taking advantage of the Vettel–Bottas crash. Räikkönen finished third, passing Ricciardo in the closing laps of the race.
In Austria, Bottas started the race on pole, followed by Hamilton and Räikkönen. However, in the race, both Mercedes suffered from technical problems and neither one was able to finish the race. Ricciardo also retired from the race. Verstappen won, followed by Räikkönen in 2nd and Vettel in 3rd. Haas took full advantage of the Mercedes and Ricciardo retirements and finished 4th (Grosjean) and 5th (Magnussen). Vettel re-took the lead of the championship by 1 point, following Hamilton's retirement.
At his home race in Great Britain, Hamilton took pole on his final flying lap, with the two Ferraris of Vettel and Räikkönen both within a tenth of his time. However, he dropped down to 18th on the first lap after contact with Räikkönen sent him into a spin. Two safety cars late in the race bunched the field up, one for a single car crash involving Ericsson and the other after contact between Grosjean and Sainz. Vettel passed Bottas for the lead with 5 laps to go to take his fourth win of the season and extend his championship lead. Hamilton recovered from his first lap crash to take second ahead of Räikkönen.
|Round||Grand Prix||Pole position||Fastest lap||Winning driver||Winning constructor||Report|
|1||Australian Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Daniel Ricciardo||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Report|
|2||Bahrain Grand Prix||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Report|
|3||Chinese Grand Prix||Sebastian Vettel||Daniel Ricciardo||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||Report|
|4||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|5||Spanish Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Daniel Ricciardo||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|6||Monaco Grand Prix||Daniel Ricciardo||Max Verstappen||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||Report|
|7||Canadian Grand Prix||Sebastian Vettel||Max Verstappen[note 5]||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Report|
|8||French Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|9||Austrian Grand Prix||Valtteri Bottas||Kimi Räikkönen||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||Report|
|10||British Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Sebastian Vettel||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Report|
|11||German Grand Prix||Report|
|12||Hungarian Grand Prix||Report|
|13||Belgian Grand Prix||Report|
|14||Italian Grand Prix||Report|
|15||Singapore Grand Prix||Report|
|16||Russian Grand Prix||Report|
|17||Japanese Grand Prix||Report|
|18||United States Grand Prix||Report|
|19||Mexican Grand Prix||Report|
|20||Brazilian Grand Prix||Report|
|21||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Report|
Points are awarded to the top ten classified finishers in every race, using the following system:
In order for full points to be awarded, the race winner must complete at least 75% of the scheduled race distance. Half points are awarded if the race winner completes less than 75% of the race distance provided that at least two laps are completed.[note 6] In the event of a tie at the conclusion of the championship, a count-back system is used as a tie-breaker, with a driver's best result used to decide the standings.[note 7]
Bold – Pole position
Bold – Pole position