The Formula 1 season always goes by so fast, which is surprising to me because on the weekends when there is no race, it feels like the next one is so far away. I guess that’s why F1 partnered with Rolex to keep track of time and not me. It’s fine, I’m not bitter.
The season started in March, with the release of, Formula 1: Drive To Survive – a 10-episode Netflix documentary chronicling the 2018 season. It was fantastic and you should watch it, even if you’ve never seen an F1 race in your life.
You’ll enjoy it. Trust me. I have no motive to lie, nor lead you astray.
Yesterday, the final race of the year was held in Abu Dhabi. It doesn’t matter who won.
The season followed the same pattern that racing fans have (unfortunately) grown accustomed to over the last few years.
It goes something like this:
1. Someone blows away the competition during Winter Testing (Ferrari).
2. Teams show up in Australia for the first race of the season, full of optimism.
3. Look at how many cars are passing each other during the race!
4. Wow! There might actually be a battle at the top this season!
5. How about this midfield battle? Extraordinary!
6. Mercedes is still the best, but the other teams are closing the gap.
7. Why did I stay up until 3:30AM to watch this race?
8. A hodgepodge of celebrities show up in Monaco.
9. Why is Vettel doing that?
10. Why is Red Bull only good at certain tracks?
11. Lance Stroll finishes 9th and is really happy about it.
12. Ferrari better get it together before they fall too far behind.
13. SINGAPORE NIGHT RACE!
14. Alright, no one is catching Mercedes this year.
15. Kimi Raikkonen mumbles through an interview.
16. OH MY GOD A RAIN RACE!
17. Daniel Ricciardo’s car stops on the side of the road. He’s frustrated.
18. Yeah, Mercedes is going to win the constructors’ championship again.
19. Lewis Hamilton is going to win the driver’s championship.
20. There are seven races left and they don’t mean anything.
21. Oh, what’s that, they’re making rule changes in 2021?
22. “RACES WILL BE MORE COMPETITIVE IN THE FUTURE”
23. Now how will I spend my Sunday mornings?
So, if you or someone you know, want to become a fan of Formula 1, that’s basically what you can expect over the course of a season. Hopefully, that changes next year, but it probably won’t.
We won’t get real change until 2021, when the regulations change and the cars look different
and Lewis Hamilton moves over to Ferrari.
At this time, I’m going to list each team and driver and say a bit about them. The number in brackets is where they finished in the team/driver standings.
If you sit through this and read all of them, you’ll come across some great commentary and jokes.
MERCEDES (1): They won 15 of 21 races this year. What else is new?
LEWIS HAMILTON (1)
He is a six-time world champion now – one behind Michael Schumacher – and has one year left on his deal with Mercedes. I feel like Schumacher had to fight harder for his championships, but then again, I was a child so my opinion could be skewed. Apparently, Hamilton had two meetings with the Ferrari owner this year and there is a chance he goes there in 2021.
VALTTERI BOTTAS (2)
Driving the same car as Hamilton, he feels like the only hope racing fans have for any competition at the top of the driver standings. But cheering for him means cheering for Mercedes and that’s not fun.
FERRARI (2): There’s an episode of The Simpsons where Nelson keeps saying, “Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.” That’s the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Ferrari. I’m so sorry. But stop hitting yourself, Ferrari.
CHARLES LECLERC (4)
He’s just a kid from Monaco, living his dream of driving an F1 car at the age of 22. Good ol’ Humble Chuck. Alright, no one calls him that…yet. His future is bright, but if Hamilton becomes his teammate in 2021, the bulb in that spotlight will need replacing every day. I think that makes sense.
SEBASTIAN VETTEL (5)
With four world championships, he is one of the all-time greats. None of those have come with Ferrari, however, which must be frustrating because IT’S FERRARI. I feel like he needs a hug because he’s trying so hard to chase down a reliable, consistent Mercedes, with an, at times, not so reliable Ferrari. And while he’s doing that, Humble Chuck (is this catching on?) comes in and outperforms him in his first year with the team.
RED BULL RACING (3): Never the bride, nor the groom, yet always at the altar.
MAX VERSTAPPEN (3)
Formula 1 is returning to the Netherlands next season for the first time since 1985, which will be nice for all the Dutch supporters who, seemingly, travel to every race to cheer on Verstappen, while wearing bright orange t-shirts, so the cameraman can easily pick them out. Max is great, hopefully his car can be too.
ALEX ALBON (8)
He started the season with Toro Rosso, before swapping seats with Pierre Gasly. For his rookie year, he did quite well.
McLAREN (4): Welcome to McLaren, where the “L” stands for Laughter. (Not an insult)
CARLOS SAINZ (6)
Sainz, Sainz, everywhere a Sainz. This was his best season in F1 and I can’t say I saw it coming because McLaren was such a mess last year. He seems to have a lot of fun with his teammate, which always makes for wholesome content on the internet.
LANDO NORRIS (11)
He sort of became the unofficial mascot of Formula 1 this year. I mean that in the best way. In 90% of his interviews and social media posts, he’s having fun, laughing, and bringing pure joy to a world where people tend to look very concerned.
RENAULT (5): You know what it is, black and yellow, black and yellow. Sorry.
DANIEL RICCIARDO (9)
I can understand why he left Red Bull, but I feel bad that he landed with a team that is never in contention for a podium. By all accounts, he’s enjoying being with Renault. I’m just selfish and want to see him with a top team, but that boat might’ve sailed.
NICO HULKENBERG (14)
Again, another talented driver with a team that just doesn’t have the car to compete with the top three. It’s unfortunate. Renault is replacing him with Esteban Ocon next year.
TORO ROSSO (6): I was just about to say how pleasing it is on the tongue to utter the words “Toro Rosso”, and then I search it on Google and find out they are changing their name to Alpha Tauri next year. So, that’s timely.
PIERRE GASLY (7)
He started the season with the parent team, Red Bull, but wasn’t performing the way they had hoped. So now he’s back with their B team, which is going to be named Alpha, and that doesn’t really make sense, does it?
DANIIL KYVAT (13)
Like his teammate, he also had his shot with Red Bull back in 2015 (at the age of 21) before being sent down to Toro Rosso the following season after four races. It feels like he’s in a really long game of musical chairs with Gasly and Albon for the second seat at Red Bull.
RACING POINT (7): I still refer to them by their former name: Force India.
SERGIO PEREZ (10)
He finished in the Top 10 in eight of nine races after the summer break. It was always hard for me to gage how good the car was because his teammate was consistently missing out on the Top 10.
LANCE STROLL (15)
He is consistently poor in Qualifying, which puts him behind the 8-ball, as well as about 16 other cars, come race day. That was a numbers joke. We’re here now.
ALFA ROMEO (8): Hold on, we’re going to have an Alfa Romeo and an Alpha Tauri on the grid next year? Can they just go back to being called, Sauber? You’re confusing the children.
KIMI RAIKKONEN (12)
He’s like the Jaromir Jagr of Formula 1, minus the mullet. Could you imagine Kimi with a mullet though? He’s old enough to be the Dad of at least four other drivers. This guy is going to outlast everyone currently on the grid, and he’s going to do it without saying anything any of us can understand. Never change.
ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI (17)
His teammate is a legend and his car is not the best – it’s 8th. Again with a numbers joke. Stop it, Paul. That’s TWO many. STOP.
HAAS (9): Well, at least they were the highlight of the Netflix documentary.
KEVIN MAGNUSSEN (16)
Look, I don’t have much to say about either driver. It wasn’t a good season for them, after coming in 5th last season. The car was not good. You can’t turn chocolate pudding into chocolate cake.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN (18)
This past weekend he said, “Let’s just say we’re looking forward to getting rid of that car and it won’t go into a museum!” I like that quote way more than I should.
WILLIAMS (10): Maybe next year.
ROBERT KUBICA (19)
The car was not good from Day 0 and was 3-4 seconds off the pace all year, but I’m glad Kubica got a chance to be on the grid again after a horrific crash in 2011 that partially severed his arm. He had signed a deal with Ferrari to race for them in 2012, but couldn’t. Next year, he is being replaced by a Canadian – Nicholas Latifi.
GEORGE RUSSELL (20)
In his first year in F1, at the age of 21, Russell out-qualified his teammate in every race. Granted, they were normally starting last and second last. He has a lot of talent, though, and at times, made the car look better than it was.
Overall, it was a ho-hum season with not too many memorable moments, outside of Vettel’s hissy fit at the Canadian Grand Prix. I’m so glad that happened in Canada.
I don’t know what we’re in for next season. Is Mercedes just going to drive away with the championship again by the middle of the season? Are teams holding back until 2021, when the big regulation changes kick in, or will next season be competitive?
I’m not getting my hopes up, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be excited to stay up until 2AM to watch the first race of the season.
‘Tis the life of a Formula 1 fan.
Thanks for reading!