We may only be at the halfway point for the 2017 Formula 1 season but there is already much talk about next year. The calendar of races has recently been announced by the FIA and there is plenty of speculation about which drivers will be driving for which team when the first race comes around. So, what are the latest stories?
The race schedule
The FIA announced the calendar for the 2018 season after a meeting in June and confirmed that it would include 21 races, the joint highest number ever alongside the 2016 calendar. There were two significant new additions to the current race calendar – the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland and the Formula 1 Grand Prix de France, last part of the calendar in 2008.
Next year’s calendar will start on 25th March with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and finish on 25th November in the Yas Marina with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It will be composed of 11 races in Europe, five in Asia, one in Australia and four in the Americas. There will also be the mid-season break between the Hungarian Grand Prix on 29th July and the Belgian Grand Prix on 26th August.
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the calendar will be the Monaco Grand Prix, always a popular place to visit and to watch the racing. BAC Sports travel has confirmed that they will be offering their popular BAC Sport Monaco F1 GP packages to anyone wanting to travel to the race from the UK with a choice of seating available.
With all the controversy around its future still ongoing, Silverstone will be a popular race again in 2018, potentially one of the last. If the owners and the FIA don’t manage to sort a deal for the future of the race, then tickets may be even more in demand than normal so booking early would be advisable.
Once you know where the races will take place, the other interesting point is who will be racing in them and there is still a lot of speculation, with many people saying that the politics of next year is more about the following year when a number of top drivers are out of contract.
But there is still a lot to sort out. While Mercedes have Lewis Hamilton in contract for another year, the status of Valtteri Bottas is unknown and there are rumours about both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel moving to the team. Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen are both out of contract at Ferrari with most experts believing the German will stay put.
Both drivers at Red Bull are under contract for next year but there remains speculation that Max Verstappen may want to move to a ‘bigger’ team. Despite retiring, Felipe Massa looks set to remain with Williams for next year while Nico Hulkenberg is also still in contract with Renault. And could there be a return for another ‘retired’ driver in Jenson Button? Only time will tell who signs where and what the make-up of the grid will be come Australian 2018.