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Top 7 story lines to emerge from round 1 of Formula 1 in 2018

Top 7 story lines to emerge from round 1 of Formula 1 in 2018

If recent history is anything to go by, the movers and shakers of Formula 1 will be either on the second leg of their flights back to Europe or be in an airport lounge in the middle-east. They, unlike all in Australia still reeling from the actions of the national cricket team, will have time … Continue reading

Sebastian Vettel celebrates victory in the 2018 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton congratulating the German from the second step of the podium. The race was determined by a mid-race virtual safety car period which enabled the German to leap-frog Hamilton when taking his pit stop. The championship heads to Bahrain for round 2 in two weeks time.

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Australian Supercars

Ahead of the opening round of the 2018 Australian Supercars Championship at the Clipsal 500, an ABC article entitled ‘Is the humble car race a dying art’, has focused on how the one of the biggest Australian Motorsports event is increasingly reliant upon events off track to draw big crowds. With crowds last year being the lowest seen in 15 years, Supercars General Manager of Corporate Affairs Cole Hitchcock pointed to a 3.1 per cent increase in attendance in 2017 and a 16 per cent increase in television ratings on last year, to suggest the series is only growing.

Indycar World Series

Scott Dixon has trialled the Indycar windscreen protection device at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix. Upon trialling the device Dixon provided very positive reviews and was surprised at the lack of distortion/reflection on the screen from varying different light conditions and sources. The only areas of concern for the four-time champion were ventilation and the need to adapt his eye line through the very thick screen.

While not to everyone’s liking, the process behind the testing of the screen and it’s appearance has been applauded against that adopted within Formula 1 and the implementation of the halo device for the 2018 season.

Where the halo device has drawn criticism for its appearance and violation of the forever-held tradition of closed-cockpit racing, the screen on the Indycar retains the open-cockpit format of the car by increasing the size of the windscreen to levels rarely seen in the sport previously. What has not been revealed by Indycar is the strength of the screen device and the maximum weight of objects it would be capable of deflecting, as well as the way the screen would destruct in the event of a heavy impact.

Despite the positive reaction from Dixon, Indycar have acknowledged the need for further testing to take place, particularly around street circuits, where corner apex’s require drivers to look through different parts of the screen. Indycar expects the testing process to continue at the upcoming street venues at either St Petersberg or Long Beach and while possible, does not expect the device to be raced in the 2018 season.

In the views of the writer, the most crucial difference in the Indycar process to that in Formula 1 is the acknowledgement by Indycar that they would be prepared to not implement a device at the conclusion of their investigations. This is in contrast to the FIA, who sought to implement a device in Formula 1 regardless of its failings, on the provision that it was shown to make the cars safer. It is this attitude that has left the sport with a device that while capable of preventing a wheel and tyre, for which a device already exists, while remaining inept at preventing injury from smaller items more commonly seen departing cars, particularly under new aerodynamic regulations.

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Vale Dan Gurney 1931 – 2018

2018 Round 1: FIA Team Principles Press Conference