The 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship is an ongoing motor racing championship for Formula One cars which 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' Championship, after winning his fourth championship title at the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix. His team, Mercedes, are the defending Constructors' Championship, having secured their fourth consecutive title at the 2017 United States Grand Prix. After one round, Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in the World Drivers' Championship by seven points. Kimi Räikkonen is third, a further three points behind. In the World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari lead Mercedes by eighteen points, with Red Bull Racing third.
A revision of the sport's technical regulations means that a new cockpit protection device—commonly known as the "halo"—was introduced for the 2018 championship. The introduction of the halo in Formula One is 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:
|Entrant||Constructor||Chassis||Power unit||Tyres||Race drivers|
|Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||SF71H||Ferrari 062 EVO||P||5||Sebastian Vettel||1–2|
|Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India-Mercedes||VJM11||Mercedes M09 EQ Power+||P||11||Sergio Pérez||1–2|
|Haas F1 Team||Haas-Ferrari||VF-18||Ferrari 062 EVO||P||8||Romain Grosjean||1–2|
|McLaren F1 Team||McLaren-Renault||MCL33||Renault R.E.18||P||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||1–2|
|Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||Mercedes||F1 W09 EQ Power+||Mercedes M09 EQ Power+||P||44||Lewis Hamilton||1–2|
|Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||RB14||TAG Heuer[N 1]||P||3||Daniel Ricciardo||1–2|
|Renault Sport Formula One Team||Renault||R.S.18||Renault R.E.18||P||27||Nico Hülkenberg||1–2|
|55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1–2|
|Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||Sauber-Ferrari||C37||Ferrari 062 EVO||P||9||Marcus Ericsson||1–2|
|Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda||STR13||Honda RA618H||P||10||Pierre Gasly||1–2|
|Williams Martini Racing||Williams-Mercedes||FW41||Mercedes M09 EQ Power+||P||18||Lance Stroll||1–2|
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 agreed to loan 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. He was replaced by former Renault test driver and SMP Racing driver Sergey Sirotkin, 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, Barcelona||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, Budapest||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[N 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 is due to return 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. The race is 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 a bid to try and 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.[N 3]
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. 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 device being incorporated into the chassis design from its inception rather than attached once the design was completed. The minimum weight of the chassis was raised 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 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 selected circuits were also lowered to improve the visibility of the starting lights.
Drivers are required to wear gloves containing biometric sensors which record their vital signs in order to better assist marshals and recovery crews in assessing their condition in the event of an accident.
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 will be 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 is due to make 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 medium tyres. The tyre compounds have all moved up one harder. 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.
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' 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.
|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||Report|
|3||Chinese Grand Prix||Report|
|4||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Report|
|5||Spanish Grand Prix||Report|
|6||Monaco Grand Prix||Report|
|7||Canadian Grand Prix||Report|
|8||French Grand Prix||Report|
|9||Austrian Grand Prix||Report|
|10||British Grand Prix||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 structure:
In order for full points to be awarded, the race winner must complete at least 75% of the scheduled race distance. Half points will be awarded if the race winner completes less than 75% of the race distance provided that at least two laps are completed.[N 4] 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.[N 5]
Bold – Pole position
Bold – Pole position