Liberty’s vision is for a sport more in line with the modern world, reaching out to new audiences and encouraging closer racing – we’ve summarised some of the key changes below.
The incredible aerodynamics play havoc with any car
following too closely; thus making it incredibly difficult to overtake in F1. This year the breakthroughs in design philosophy will hopefully help more wheel-to-wheel action as the 2018 season develops.
In a bid to control the costs of competing in the world’s premier racing formula, teams will be restricted to just 3 engines over the course of a season, prompting a greater focus on reliability and further curtailing the ability of bigger teams to simply spend their way to victory.
The Halo device will be safety feature fitted to the cockpit of all F1 careers for the 2018 season. In spite of its name it looks far from angelic, with drivers complaining about the restricted vision and additional weight it imposes. Nevertheless, it will protect drivers inside the cockpit.
No More Grid Girls
That’s right; the grid girls are gone - but in their place you’ll now find grid kids – mascots chosen by local motorsports clubs to meet their heroes and stand on the grid marking the positions for the cars to line up.
Levelling the Playing Field
The ever-widening gap between the richest and the poorest F1 teams has been bad for competition and for business in the last few years. To address the issue, the prize money pay-out schemes have been restructured. It’s a thorny issue however, with the bigger teams like Ferrari reluctant to let go of their handsome pay packages.
With more social media coverage it’s hoped this will draw in younger fans with limited exposure to the sport. As well as more investment going into “Fan Villages” featuring a range of attractions such as driving simulator games and rides, fans can look forward to a better trackside experience.
It’s hard to imagine Mercedes loosening the grip they’ve had on the sport since the 2014 season, with Lewis Hamilton looking good to claim his fifth world title, drawing level with Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio in joint second place on the all-time list. Some are even tipping him to topple Michael Schumacher’s record 7 world titles before he retires from the sport.
That being said, Ferrari were significantly closer to them during 2017 than in previous seasons, and at times even seemed to have the faster car – taking a similar step forward this year could see them steal Mercedes’ crown. Red Bull should never be forgotten – whilst their Renault engines proved underpowered and unreliable last year their underlying aero package remained amongst the strongest, and they’re always a threat when Mercedes or Ferrari drop the ball. McLaren will be hoping form a return to form after ditching their dismal Honda engine package of recent years, and there’s more than enough racing pedigree on the grid for one of the smaller teams to spring a surprise.