The F1 circus is back after the European summer break and there are some big changes on the horizon.
Daniel Ricciardo’s shock announcement that he was leaving Red Bull for Renault obviously got the most play, but Force India also had some dramas and nearly ended up leaving the competition.
The team was saved by billionaire Lawrence Stroll (father of Williams driver Lance) and ironically ended up snagging third and fourth place on the grid for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) August 25, 2018
What to watch for
Ricciardo’s Red Bull Fallout
At a very odd press conference this week, Daniel Ricciardo tried to deflect any negativity surrounding his departure from Red Bull by saying he needed a change of scenery. Although the answer was met with smirks by a couple of fellow drivers next to him, and even if it isn’t true, it might take some of the tension out of what could be an awkward couple of months.
Force India Going Forward
Force India was on the brink of collapse, but a consortium led by the elder Stroll has managed to save the team’s spot on the grid. The new team is called Racing Point Force India – FIA rules require Force India to remain in the name – and it will start from scratch on points, another rule dictating it cannot claim the 59 Constructor points the original Force India has won.
Ferrari and Mercedes Resume Their Rivalry
Mercedes currently have a ten-point lead on Ferrari in the Constructor’s Championship, while Lewis Hamilton is 24 points up on Sebastian Vettel in the Driver’s Championship. Unless Red Bull can find some magic with golden boy Verstappen – or more improbably Ricciardo – it looks like the two giants and their four drivers will nail down the top places again.
The Fernando Alonso Farewell Tour
The two-time world champion has announced his retirement at the end of the season and McLaren has already started planning for 2019 with 18-year old Briton Lando Norris piloting Alonso’s car for the first session of qualifying.
To win the Belgian Grand Prix
$2 Lewis Hamilton
$2.25 Sebastian Vettel
$9 Kimi Raikkonen
$26 Max Verstappen
$34 Valtteri Bottas
$34 Daniel Ricciardo
All Belgian GP markets here. (Odds subject to change)