At the beginning of 2018 this site took on a new identity – RaceFans – and the goal of becoming the home for original, reliable, independent motorsport journalism.
This is not an exhaustive list of the hundreds of news stories we covered this year which emerged via press releases, social media posts or group interviews. This is a selection of the stories RaceFans revealed first.
This kind of original news reporting is what we set out to do more of this year. It often yields the most surprising stories – something which was certainly true of the stand-out story of the 2018 season, which RaceFans revealed in August.
Daniel Ricciardo’s shock move to Renault for the 2019 F1 season rocked the sport and led to a profound shake-up in the driver market. It provoked a degree of scepticism on social media when we broke it, but by the end of the day all the major players involved had confirmed what we’d written.
Stories of this magnitude come along only rarely. But looking back on 2018 we feel we can draw a lot of satisfaction from how often we were able to break the news. Here’s a selection of our favourite stories.
Minimum driver weight rule planned for 2019 – Taller (and therefore heavier) drivers will be at less of a disadvantage from next season thanks to this rules change.
Fuji’s WEC race could be moved so Alonso can enter – Would a world championship really move a race to suit one driver? The unthinkable happened after Fernando Alonso signed a deal to race for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship.
New FIA rules tweak to make F1 engine customer teams more competitive – Were manufacturer teams stopping their customers from using the most powerful engine modes in recent seasons? RaceFans revealed a pre-season rules clarification intended to put a stop to it.
Full F1 TV Pro launch delayed, limited beta test planned for first race of 2018 – F1 fans had waited a long time for a dedicated streaming service. They had to wait a little longer when the launch of F1 TV, originally planned for the first race of the year, was postponed to the Spanish Grand Prix.
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Revealed: The winners and losers under Liberty’s 2021 F1 prize money plan – In Bahrain, F1 owners Liberty Media revealed details of its planned shake-up of the sport to the teams. Key among them were changes to the sport’s much-criticised prize money distribution, which gives huge bonuses to the sport’s wealthiest teams.
F1 2021: Liberty’s masterplan for Formula One’s future uncovered – Liberty’s plans for 2021 went far further, as our in-depth analysis explained, and they became a focus of discussion and debate throughout the year.
F1 teams could lose ‘mission control’ rooms in new plan to improve races – Several F1 team bosses were unimpressed by plans to restrict their use of ‘virtual garages’.
How Ecclestone’s parting shot to Liberty added to their F1 calendar woes – Before Liberty took over, Bernie Ecclestone gave discounts to what had been some of F1’s highest-paying races.
McLaren receives £200 million cash injection from company linked to F2 driver Latifi – Having lost huge financial backing from Honda when it split with the Japanese manufacturer, McLaren found itself in need of investment. As RaceFans revealed, they obtained it from the father of F2 driver Nicholas Latifi.
Formula 1 to introduce 18-inch wheels in 2021 – A change which had been mooted for some time was finally approved as part of Liberty’s 2021 overhaul of the sport. New tyre companies were invited to submit tenders to become F1’s tyre supplier.
Michelin considering Formula 1 return in 2020 – Michelin took a look at the proposal but turned it down as they would still have been required to produce 13-inch tyres for 2020. It also didn’t like the demand for high-degradation rubber.
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Formula 1 scraps Bahrain test plan – After snow played havoc with pre-season testing, F1 briefly considered holding a 2019 test in Bahrain, but the idea was nixed.
Perez behind legal proceedings to put Force India in administration over $4m debt – Force India had a harder season than most and it brought no pleasure to relate the news of the team’s fall into administration at the end of July. Remarkably it was one of the team’s own drivers who, in the words of current team principal Otmar Szafnauer “pulled the trigger”. Happily, the team returned to competition without missing a race, though the full ramifications of their rebirth as ‘Racing Point’ – for now – have not yet become clear, as events at the season finale showed.
Formula 1 teams’ prize money payments for 2018 revealed – Force India’s entitlement to this year’s prize money payments later came into dispute. However at the time, based on Liberty’s earnings forecasts, this is what all the teams could expect to receive.
Ricciardo to quit Red Bull and join Renault for 2019 – RaceFans broke the shock news of the season. Ricciardo’s defection had several consequences: it cost Carlos Sainz Jnr his seat at Renault, handed Pierre Gasly a potentially career-making move to Red Bull but squeezed Esteban Ocon out of a drive for 2019.
Mazepin company challenges Stroll’s Force India rescue deal – While Lawrence Stroll’s consortium was selected as the buyer of Force India’s assets one of the rival bidders, owned by GP3 racer Nikita Mazepin’s father, was turned down. The matter is now in the hands of the lawyers.
Formula E driver Rosenqvist joins Ganassi IndyCar team for 2019 – The European Formula Three champion who wasn’t even given a test by an F1 team landed a plum IndyCar drive for 2019. It was eventually confirmed weeks after we broke the story.
Why Ferrari puts a bag over its onboard camera – One of the more unusual technical developments of 2018.
Hankook confirmed as Pirelli’s rival for 2020 F1 tyre contract – Although Hankook put in a rival bid to Pirelli, the latter was ultimately chosen for another four years.
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“Shame on you, Formula 1”: Alonso’s unheard mid-race tirade – Five races from the end of his F1 career, Alonso was increasingly frustrated with the state of the sport. His team radio messages at Suzuka made that clear. This was another “GP2 engine” moment, but the FOM TV director chose not to share with the world feed. If a tree falls in the woods and no-one hears it, does it make a sound?
F1 to hold next three Brazilian Grands Prix ‘for free’ – Another cut-price Ecclestone deal…
Leclerc told 50 times to save his tyres in Sauber’s extreme Mexico strategy – The amount of tyre preservation drivers were having to do in some races became a major talking point at the end of the year partly due to races like Mexico, where it reached extremes. Drivers put their concerns to Pirelli after this race.
Alonso to drive for GM brands in 2019 Daytona 24 Hours and Indy 500 – As was widely suspected, Alonso did not reunite with Honda for his return to the Indianapolis 500. RaceFans revealed he will use Chevrolet power for his second attempt at the race next year.
Thanks to our readers and Supporters
On behalf of myself, Dieter, Hazel, Will, Josh and everyone else who’s contributed to the site this year, thanks to all of you who have read, replied to and shared our work during 2018. We hope you’ll all keep reading us in 2019.
Special thanks also goes to our Supporters. Producing original journalism isn’t cheap and your contributions are sincerely appreciated
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2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year