The Formula One season begins in a couple of months and still the premier motorsport in the world is hounded by issues, intrigues, and sensation. We looked back at the post season chatter of the 2017 Grand Prix and here are some of the things that happened then that might affect the first race in Melbourne on March 25, 2018.
Alfa Romeo is back!
The biggest news to make waves during the F1 year end break, was the announcement of the return of Alfa Romeo in GP racing. Sauber F1, launched their 2018 livery featuring the iconic logo of Alfa Romeo on the engine cover. The Swiss based team will now be known as Alfa Romeo Sauber F1.
Alfa Romeo was a proven winner back in the early years of Grand Prix racing under the skillful hands of Nino Farina, Formula 1’s first ever champion and Juan Manuel Fangio who won it all the very next year. Alfa Romeo then declined in performance from 1979 to 1985, only now to appear back on the grid after a 33-year absence.
During the launch of the car, Sauber fans were treated to the confirmation of its drivers for the 2018 season. Marcus Ericsson and Charles LeClerc will be behind the wheel of the Sauber challenger. LeClerc’s move pushed out Pascal Wherlein who now finds himself without a drive. Chalres LeClerc is a proven winner in the Formula 2 championships, and racing alongside veteran Marcus Ericsson could prove beneficial for him and the Hinwil team.
McLaren, Toro Rosso swap power units!
Just before the 2017 season ended, it was announced that McLaren and Honda were terminating their disastrous partnership. McLaren, with its long distinguished motorsports history, was tainted by the inefficiency of the Honda power unit which robbed the team and its drivers, To, much needed speed and championship points. Beginning next season, McLaren will take on Renault power units; while its mid-field rival, Toro Rosso, will be trying to work with Honda to try and salvage the reputation of the proud Japanese brand, following a very public falling out between the French and Italian brands.
Kubica could return in 2018!
Polish driver, Robert Kubica, has been in the news lately, the former F1 driver who nearly lost his arm in a rallying accident a couple of years ago, is now on the comeback and could realistically find a seat in the 2018 season with Williams F1 racing.
With the scars of his accident still visible, Kubica, took the wheel of the 2017 spec Williams around the Yas Marina circuit to complete more than 100 laps in Abu Dhabi. Apprehensions of how Kubica will cope with the challenges of driving a modern day F1 car were laid to rest when Robert took to the stage at the Autosport Awards. “Honestly, I have much more limitations in my daily life,” Kubica further added “It’s not the same driving an F1 car as it has been in the past. Still my limitations are much less than it looks like.” “Ninety percent of my driving is exactly the same as it was in the old days.”
Ferrari to quit F1! Mercedes might join them!
Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne, has once again reiterrated its claim that it will quit F1 should the new engine proposals gets ratified and implemented for the 2021 season. Ferrari has been in F1 since the inception of the sport and will be a huge blow should they push through in quitting the sport. “The dialogue has started and will continue to evolve,” Marchionne said. “We have time until 2020 to find a solution which benefits Ferrari. The threat of Ferrari leaving Formula One is serious. The agreement with Sauber expires in 2020-2021, right when Ferrari could leave.
And now Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted he is not happy following one year of Liberty leadership. When asked if he would join Ferrari in possibly leaving F1,Wolff did not mince words. “We have to find a solution which is good for the sport but we also have to be clear on the things we can’t back down on.” Marchionne added.”Such a scenario is quite conceivable,” he said. “Just as it is for Ferrari. If we do not see what Formula 1 stands for, then we have to ask ourselves the difficult question: not if but where do we want to operate in motorsport at the highest level?”