The 2018 FIA Formula 1 Championship is officially underway with the first of the two four-day pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain. The season-opener is scheduled for the March 23-25 weekend with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park circuit.

The 2018 season will see a total of 21 races across the globe culminating exactly eight months later during the March 23-25 weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina circuit. The regulations have pretty much stayed the same, but there are two visual differences from 2017.

Firstly, the Halo cockpit safety device has been fitted onto the cars to protect the driver’s head, while the second change sees the shark fin at the back of the car being revised and reduced significantly to make it in a slope-shape.

Here’s a detailed look at the teams, its drivers and what can be expected from the 2018 season:


The four-time champion team Mercedes is likely to be one of the biggest threats for all the teams on the grid in 2018 as well. The F1 W09 EQ Power+ will be driven by four-time champion Lewis Hamilton and grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas. The former is the favourite for the drivers’ title, while the latter will be hoping to challenge and improve on his third place finish from 2017.

The 2018 car’s livery is largely similar to its predecessor, with the corporate colours of Mercedes on a dominant display. The grey is coupled with stripes of green at the sides, which basically denotes the four world championships. The Halo is coloured black, matching with portions of the car.


Ferrari, one of the biggest names not only in F1, but worldwide has struggled for years now to win the constructors’ title. Its last title came in 2008 when Felipe Massa gave McLaren’s Hamilton a stiff fight for the drivers’ championship.

Since then, the Italian manufacturer has seen talented drivers like Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel try to bring back its glorious days, but have so far failed to do so. Last year, they looked like getting back into the rhythm, but fell short in the end.

With four-time champion Vettel and 2007 champion Raikkonen once again paring up to drive the SF71H, Ferrari will be looking to dismantle Mercedes from the top spot. The livery, like its German counterparts has the company’s corporate colour of all-red, moving on from the red and white combination used last year.

Red Bull Racing

The Austrian team is the only private outfit in recent times to clinch a world title, but its domination was affected with the 2014 rule changes. Mercedes ended its four consecutive championship victory reign in 2014 and it has been chasing for another title win since then.

The team largely depends on the Renault power unit, which hasn’t been able to perform to the level of Mercedes and Ferrari. The relationship with the French manufacturer also got strained, which resulted in them branding the engines from Renault as Tag Heuer.

For 2018, Renault has promised for a better and more powerful engine, but it remains to be seen how that shapes up. The RB14 which will be driven by race winners Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen has the same livery from 2017 in a matte design with a combination of dark blue, yellow and red, with increased branding of Aston Martin after a new deal.

Force India

The Indian-licensed outfit has made headlines in the F1 world with its ‘punching above the weight’ showing. The team celebrated its second successive fourth place finish in the constructors’ championship last year, ending up as the best of the rest team on the grid.

It heads into 2018 with similar enthusiasm, but it will be difficult to break into the Top 3 bracket considering the resource advantage that the bigger teams possess. The Vijay Mallya-led outfit’s results have largely been made possible with a solid core team and performing drivers.

While Sergio Perez stays on for his fifth year with the team, Esteban Ocon is rising up to the challenge in abundance. The livery on the VJM11 stays pink after it signed a deal with BWT late last year, but a darker shade has been applied with a lot of white as well. The team is yet to finalise its new name.


The Grove-based team has had a bigger slide in performance in the last few seasons. It rose up to third at one stage, but has fallen behind in the higher midfield battle. Its progress has been hampered by various factors, which includes the driver pairing.

It lost Bottas to Mercedes at the start of 2017 and was forced to bring in Massa from retirement to drive alongside rookie Lance Stroll. For 2018, it goes in with a bold approach to bring in another rookie driver Sergey Sirotkin to pair up with Stroll. Even though they have Robert Kubica for guidance, but the Polish driver is himself getting into terms with the new generation cars upon his return to F1.

In terms of the livery, the FW41 has one of the underwhelming combinations on the grid, comprising of white with blue/red stripes – the colour of its sponsor Martini.


A return as a full-time factory outfit in 2016, the team has been in a rebuilding phase since then. It improved to sixth last year with the future aim certainly to match up and or beat the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.

After facing certain reliability issues, the French manufacturer has a focus to improve it for 2018 along with increasing the engine’s power to tackle their immediate rivals in the midfield. The improvements could be seen in 2017 and with a line-up of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz, it definitely gives them a good opening.

The R.S.18’s livery also sees a change with the team opting for a lighter shade of yellow and an increased amount of black on the car from 2017.

Toro Rosso

For the Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso, the season 2018 sees a huge change as it unofficially becomes a ‘works’ outfit joining hands with Honda, as the Japanese manufacturer will be supplying its power units solely to the Faenza-based team.

The team faced a troubled time in 2017 after several driver changes and reliability issues. However, with a partnership with Honda, it hopes for a better run since they can dictate terms with the suppliers. The team will field Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley for the season.

The livery on the STR13 remains the same as 2017 after the team introduced the blue and silver combination last year. The 2018 car, however, has a red patch on the sides with the Halo going blue as well.


One of the newest teams in the block, the Haas F1 Team had a better fate than the three previous new outfits. Even though it finished eighth in its two seasons so far, it scored more points last year with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

The team chose to keep the same line-up even though it was pressurized by Ferrari to take in one of its junior drivers. Having used up the Ferrari parts for most of its car, the team is hoping for a bold step in 2018 to penetrate into the higher midfield battle.

Along with Williams, the Haas’ VF-18 also has an average livery with the team opting for its corporate colours of Haas Automation, sticking to the combo of grey, black and red.


McLaren will be one of the teams whose performance will be hugely monitored. After disappointing seasons with Honda and nearly two decades with no world championship, the team has been under fire for long.

It unites with Renault for the first time, but the French manufacturer is also under the knife as it tries to match up to Mercedes and Ferrari. No doubt the team will have the experience of Fernando Alonso along with the raw talent of Stoffel Vandoorne, but the biggest question will be if the MCL33 can deliver.

Meanwhile, the team opted to rope in the nostalgia factor with its livery, as they returned to the papaya orange colour along with a hint of blue for the new season.


Sauber is another team to undergo a huge change in the winter, with the partnership with Fiat’s Alfa Romeo brand. In a win-win situation for the team as well as the car manufacturer, it will also get the latest Ferrari power unit for its new C37 car.

While it retains the services of Marcus Ericsson, with the Ferrari deal, it also gets Charles Leclerc who is touted as one of the brightest drivers on the grid. The team has been at the back of the field for long, but hopes the new changes can bring in the desired results and helps them to move up the standings.

With Alfa Romeo incoming, the team has also had a total livery change, moving from its blue and yellow combination to a white and maroon-red combo with blue stripes.