Mark Banstead

The 2018 F1 Grand Prix Season

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.

The drivers

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.

The Elusive Triple Crown

Motorsports is filled with records and achievements, with people constantly breaking those set by others before them. But one record that has been set and remains very challenging to break is the unofficial Triple Crown. But what is it and who holds the record as the only person to have achieved it?

The three races

While the Triple Crown isn’t an official crown, title or achievement, it is generally recognised to be something that is very hard to achieve. It involves winning three of the most prestigious races in world motorsport during the course of a driver’s career. The three races are:

  • The Monaco Grand Prix
  • Indianapolis 500
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans

Monaco Grand Prix

The Monaco street circuit is widely seen as one of the biggest tests of driver ability in the Formula 1 championship. The race has been held since 1929 and takes place through the narrow streets of Monaco, around the harbour area. While it may not have the high speeds of some of the race track circuits, it is a dangerous place to race and there have even been two occasions where drivers ended up in the harbour after a crash.

Indianapolis 500

The Indy 500 is held every year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The race is part of the IndyCar Series, the top level of American Championships Car racing. The race was first held in 1911 and became part of the IndyCar series in 1996. It covers 200 counter-clockwise laps of the circuit and drivers race for 500 miles.

24 Hours of Le Mans

24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest endurance car race in the world and started back in 1923. It is held near the French town of Le Mans across the Circuit de la Sarthe, a mixture of public roads and a specialist circuit that offers different challenges for drivers. It is currently part of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Winning the Triple Crown

Currently, only one person has ever completed the Triple Crown – Britain’s Graham Hill. He won the Monaco Grand Prix five times between 1963 and 1969 and the Le Mans race in 1972 as well as the Indy 500 in 1966. He also managed two F1 championships amid all of that!

Currently, there is one driver who is still driving and has completed two of the three parts of the Triple Crown. Juan Pablo Montoya is currently racing in IndyCar series and won the Indy 500 in both 2000 and 2015 as well as the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix.  Others who came close included Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Joshed Rend and Jim Clark.

Alonso’s chance?

During the lead up to this year’s F1 Monaco Grand Prix, there was some interest in the Triple Crown as McLaren’s Fernando Alonso decided not to race it in favour of racing in the Indy 500 – the two are held on the same weekend. He has won the Monaco Grand Prix on two previous occasions in 2006 and 2007 so perhaps next year he will once again try to add another notch on achieving the elusive Triple Crown!

Football’s Greatest Derbies

Ask any football fan and they will tell you that their team’s derby is the biggest and the best, has the most history or anything else.  But if you stand back and look from a neutral viewpoint, there are some amazing derbies around the world but a few that stand out a little from the crowd.  Here are five of our (neutral) favourites.

Real Madrid v Barcelona

This one would be high on most people’s lists and even has its own name El Clasico.  Not only does it represent the contest of two of the top teams in Spain and the biggest sides in Europe but it even had a deeper meaning, the rivalry between the biggest cities in Spain and even the opposing political parties in the country – so plenty at stake here!  With their success, both clubs are big spenders and this often means that there are many of the world’s best players on show to add to the excitement.

Stats: 225 matches, 90 wins for Real Madrid, 87 for Barcelona, 48 draws.

Manchester United v Liverpool

Like the previous match, this one has its own name, known as the North-West Derby because both teams are from the northwest of England.  The two teams are historically the most successful in the country and there has always been an intense rivalry with over 100 trophies each in their cabinets, although Man Utd have had more of the recent success.  The match is often seen as the classic example of English football.

Stats: 189 matches, 75 wins for Manchester United, 63 wins for Liverpool, 51 draws.

Juventus v Inter Milan

Known as the derby d’Italia, this puts two of the big names in Italian football against each other and is as likely to end in a brawl as a draw.  It is one of the big games in the calendar, alongside the Milan derby with Inter playing local rivals AC Milan but this game is often a political contest with many of the countries elite supporting one side or the other.

Stats: 214 matches, 94 wins for Juventus, 67 wins for Inter Milan, 53 draws.

Arsenal v Tottenham

There is no shortage of derbies in London with hardly a weekend calendar going by without featuring one.  The North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham is a notable one with a distinguished history and increasing importance as Tottenham has proved more successful in recent years than in the past.

Stats: 177 matches, 76 wins for Arsenal, 54 wins for Tottenham, 47 draws.

Celtic v Rangers

The Old Firm Derby takes place between the two teams in the Scottish city of Glasgow and is a fiery one.  One of the oldest and most fiercely contested derbies anywhere, it has a history of great games but also of some of the unsavoury sides of football matches of the past.  It will take on more meaning in coming times as Rangers have come through their rough patch and are once more in the top league.

Stats: 399 matches, 144 wins for Celtic, 159 wins for Rangers, 96 draws.

Welcome to Sport Life Press

It’s time to say a big welcome to anyone who’s joining me in my area of the world wide web! I’m chuffed that you have found me and hope you’ll stay to find out a bit more about me and what the site is going to have to offer up in the near future. First Things first, I’m a massive Formula 1 addict.

This means that you can rest assured that Sports Life Press will be full of F1 and motor racing news, articles, overviews and more. However, my love of sports doesn’t stop short at anything with a motor vehicle involved so there will be a little bit for all sporting enthusiasts here on the site. We’ll be covering info and updates on loads of top sporting events, giving great advice on how you can get involved and providing hints and tips for how to keep up to date with all the sporting news possible.

As is common of most sports fans, I love to keep up to date with everything in the world of sport and this includes the weird and the wonderful side of my hobby too. That’s why every now and again we’ll also get a little bit of insight into some of the stranger, funnier and ‘outside the box’ sports like the ones in this clip…

I can’t wait to get started and I hope you guys can’t wait to join me back here for loads of inspiration, news updates and more in the world of sport.