Five months on since Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth Drivers’ Champion title in Mexico, the Australian Grand Prix will kick off another season that is likely to be largely similar to the last.
Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will compete in a two-way fight for first throughout the Formula One 2018 season. The likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will attempt to cause an upset. However, their chances of actually succeeding are slim.
However, not everything is set to stay the same. Grid girls will go, for one. The organiser confirmed last month that it was dropping the scantily clad models that usually parade around the pit lane. Instead, ‘grid kids’, promising young racing drivers, will take their place for the Formula One 2018 season.
Likewise, the Malaysian Grand Prix is no more. The Southeast Asian country decided against renewing its contract with Formula One after 18 years on the schedule.
Going by the logic that two is better than one, the Formula One schedule will increase from 20 races to 21. Two circuits that weren’t part of last year’s season are joining (or rejoining) the line-up this season.
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There is usually a two week gap between each race. However, this season drivers will have just six days to recover between the French and Austrian races in the summer.
Formula One 2018 will offer more action than last year, but what are the two races set to join the schedule?
French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard
The first new addition is in fact one of the oldest Grand Prix races in the world. First staged in 1906, the French Grand Prix was held 86 times before it was dropped from the Formula One schedule in 2008.
A decade on, Formula One will return to the small coastal village of Le Castellet, Var in the Southeast of France. the French Grand Prix will serve as Malaysia’s replacement.
The race will take place at the same Circuit Automobile Paul Ricard track that has previously hosted the stars of motorsports. Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna have all raced in the French Grand Prix.
The track will be largely the same as previous years. A number of long straights are divided by sharp turns, offering plenty of opportunity to make mistakes and perform overtakes.
Its 5.8 kilometre length is unchanged and it will keep all of its twists and turns. However, some corners have been slightly altered to make the track suitable for speeds of up to 214 miles per hour that drivers are expected to reach.
The French Grand Prix will take place from 22-24 June.
German Grand Prix – Hockenheimring Baden-Wurttemberg
The German Grand Prix returns following last year’s absence. Technically this isn’t a new race. However, it was omitted from last year’s schedule.
The Hockenheimring in Hockenheim and Nurburgring in Nurburg share hosting duties, with the race alternating between the venues each year. However, Nurburgring has been unable to host the tournament since 2013 due to financial issues.
This year the race will return to the Hockenheimring, a 67-lap track in the town of Hockenheim in Southwest Germany, for a 37th time.
The circuit no longer runs through the Black Forest as it once did. However, it still has its trademark long, curving straight between point four and six.
The rest of the course is made up of tight and tricky twist and turns that can catch even the most accomplished drivers out. While not so good for the drivers, opportunities for errors are always welcomed by F1 fans.
The German Grand Prix will take place from 20-22 July.