F1 2019: Pre-Season Test 2 Review

Pre-Season for the 2019 F1 Season is complete. All everyone has to do is wait until the 17th of March for racing to get under-way in Melbourne, Australia. But who enjoyed the last 4 days of testing and who didn’t?

06/03/18

Day 5

McLaren’s Lando Norris ends the first day of the second week of Testing on top as Williams got off to a more productive day than last time. The Brit racked up 80 laps before an hydraulic issue stopped more running from taking place. Following closely behind in the timing sheets was Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly who completed 136 laps and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in 3rd. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was also restricted after a cooling issue while Mercedes Valterri Bottas suffered an oil pressure issue. Mercedes had brought a new aero package along with other new things with Lewis Hamilton concentrating on long run pace. Meanwhile, George Russell was 9th for Williams and completed 119 laps – more than the team managed over their two days of running in Test 1.

Day 6

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr keeps the team on top after his team-mate’s performance yesterday as Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel suffer a major set back. The 4 time world champion crashed on his 41st lap of the day at Turn 3, heavily impacting the Tecpro barriers although the German was okay but ruled out any more mileage for the Scuderia for the day. After setting the fastest lap of Testing, Sainz Jr completed 130 laps along with Williams Robert Kubica although water pressure issues halted McLaren. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was 3rd, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen 4th and Haas’s Romain Grosjean 5th. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen also had issues after stopping at the end of the pit-lane. The Mercedes of Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished in 8th and 9th.

Day 7

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc ended the penultimate day of testing on top but again it wasn’t a smooth day for the Scuderia. With the chequered flag in sight with less than half an hour to go, the Monegasque parked the SF90 just after Turn 8 with smoke appearing from the rear of the car. Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly endured a difficult day after crashing heavily at Turn 9 which damaged the front and rear wings of his RB15. The third red flag was brought out for Racing Point’s Lance Stroll who stopped on track. Haas’s Romain Grosjean was limited to a handful of laps after the team detected an issue on the VF-19’s exhaust. Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon was 2nd, McLaren’s Lando Norris in 3rd and the Renault’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg in 5th and 6th. Williams’s George Russell completed a staggering 140 laps for the British team.

Day 8

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended the final day of Pre-Season Testing on top just ahead of Mercedes Lewis Hamilton with the rivals separated by 0.003s. Hamilton took over from Valterri Bottas in the afternoon to close the gap to the Scuderia as the Italian team suffered an electrical issue on Vettel’s car early in the afternoon. Haas encountered more problems as Kevin Magnussen stopped at Turn 4 ending a issue-filled two weeks for the American team. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was 4th, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was 5th and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr in 6th. Down in 11th with 29 laps, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after gearbox issues sidelined the Dutchman but both Red Bull and Toro Rosso were encouraged by the reliability of the Honda power-units.

Conclusions from Test 2

It’s looking more likely that Ferrari are now the favourites heading to the first race of the 2019 Season in Australia. But, it’s not going to be plain sailing for the Scuderia as Mercedes are right behind. The gap on the final day is a good comparison between the to teams but nothing concrete can be said about either of the team’s actual pace.

It was not an ideal second week for Red Bull who ended in 8th in terms of mileage. The thing that can be said is the reliability of the Honda engine and power units. For both teams, Red Bull and Toro Rosso were extremely happy and encouraged by the pace and durability of these components.

With Haas suffering many issues over the course of the two weeks, it allowed rivals Renault to overtake the American team to end the second week “best of the rest”. The midfield is definitely going to be very close with Toro Rosso, Haas, Renault, Alfa Romeo and McLaren looking to claim the 4th spot. Racing Point look to be on terms with the rest of the teams but the same can’t be said for Williams, who although had a better second Test, are going to struggle come the 17th of March.

Laps per Engine Supplier

  1. Ferrari, 2790 Laps (Ferrari, Alfa Romeo & Haas)
  2. Mercedes, 2382 Laps (Mercedes, Racing Point & Williams)
  3. Renault, 1835 Laps (Renault & McLaren)
  4. Honda, 1768 Laps (Toro Rosso & Red Bull)

Laps per Team

  1. Mercedes, 1190 Laps (Hamilton & Bottas)
  2. Ferrari, 997 Laps (Vettel & Leclerc)
  3. Renault, 961 Laps (Ricciardo & Hulkenberg)
  4. Toro Rosso, 935 Laps (Albon & Kvyat)
  5. Alfa Romeo, 922 Laps (Raikkonen & Giovinazzi)
  6. McLaren, 873 Laps (Sainz Jr & Norris)
  7. Haas, 871 Laps (Magnussen & Grosjean)
  8. Red Bull, 833 Laps (Verstappen & Gasly)
  9. Racing Point, 625 Laps (Perez & Stroll)
  10. Williams, 567 Laps (Russell & Kubica)

 

 

F1 2019: Pre-Season Test 1 Review

The team have revealed their 2019 cars and their line-ups and now it’s time that the class of 2019 hit the track at Barcelona for the 1st of two tests. Who will hit the ground running and will anyone encounter problems?

03/03/19

Day 1

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ends the first day of Pre-Season Testing on top after a successful return to the cockpit of the SF90. The German was one of two drivers setting a lap time under 79, the other being McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, and completing the most laps. McLaren’s Sainz was a shock 2nd but the MCL34 lost drive and had to be pushed back to the pits. Haas’s Romain Grosjean was 4th while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen enjoyed a trouble-free day whilst running the Honda power units and completing 128 laps. In the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas, Mercedes racked up 150 laps but didn’t focus on lap times and ended up in 8th and 9th. Williams were the only team not to take part and hope to take to the track on Wednesday.

Day 2

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc keeps Ferrari on top following his team-mate’s pace yesterday. Leclerc, completed the most laps, 157, and focused on long-run pace to end a brilliant day for the Monegasque. McLaren’s Lando Norris also emulated his team-mate’s pace from yesterday by finishing 2nd and completing just over 100 laps. It was also another positive day for Haas with Kevin Magnussen finishing in 3rd. After an early spin, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon finished 4th and completed 132 – more encouragement for Honda. Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly ended the day in the barriers at turn 13, causing damage to the rear wing while Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo lost a part of his rear wing but unlike Gasly, he was lucky to avoid the barriers. Mercedes once again split their driving duties between Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton and both completed 89 and 74 laps each.

Day 3

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat ended Ferrari’s dominance at the top of the time-sheets. The returning Russian knocked Alfa Romeo’s long-standing time set by 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen off the top-step, who settled for 2nd. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo finished 3rd posting Renault’s quickest time of the test so far. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen rounded out the top 5. The biggest story of the day was that Williams were able to get their FW42 on track at the hands of F2 Champion George Russell who managed 23 laps. Haas caused 3 red flags throughout the day in which interrupted Pietro Fittipaldi’s and Romain Grosjean’s day. Mercedes split duties between Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton with Bottas saying that Ferrari look very, very strong but that he’s not worried by their pace.

Day 4

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg ends the final day of Test 1 quickest and set the quickest time seen so far: 1m 17.393s. It wasn’t all positive for the German who only managed 24 laps due to an undiagnosed issue on his R.S.19 in the afternoon. Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon and the other Renault of Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 3. Mercedes started to crank up the engine with Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in 4th and 5th and managing nearly 60 laps each. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi completed the most laps on 154 but brought out the red flags twice in the closing minutes of the session when his C38 stopped on track. Williams, split duties between Robert Kubica and George Russell and managed 65 laps between them. Kubica, suffered 2 spins and slightly blocked Hamilton and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

Conclusions from Test 1

It’s easy to jump to conclusions after just one test but it looks like Ferrari have the upper-hand. Initial reports suggest that the gap from Ferrari to Mercedes is 0.5s (half a second). Now, that is a big gap but it is early doors and Mercedes did not focus on raw speed, more on reliability in which reigning Champion Lewis Hamilton completed 307 laps.

Red Bull still look to be the third best team in what was a successful first test for the team. Red Bull, who are in the first year of their partnership with Honda, completed 468 laps between Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.

The mid-field look to be getting ever closer and it’s difficult to tell who’s leading it. Renault, McLaren, Haas, Toro Rosso and Alfa Romeo look to be very close with Racing Point lagging a bit with Williams lagging even further behind.

Laps per Engine Supplier

  1. Ferrari, 1345 Laps (Ferrari, Haas & Alfa Romeo)
  2. Renault, 947 Laps (Renault & McLaren)
  3. Mercedes, 941 Laps (Mercedes, Williams & Racing Point)
  4. Honda, 871 Laps (Toro Rosso & Red Bull)

Laps per Team

  1. Mercedes, 606 Laps, (Hamilton & Bottas)
  2. Ferrari, 594, Laps, (Vettel & Leclerc)
  3. Alfa Romeo, 499 Laps, (Raikkonen & Giovinazzi)
  4. Toro Rosso, 497 Laps, (Kvyat & Albon)
  5. Red Bull, 468 Laps, (Verstappen & Gasly)
  6. McLaren, 440 Laps, (Sainz Jr & Norris)
  7. Renault, 431 Laps, (Ricciardo & Hulkenberg)
  8. Haas, 379 Laps, (Magnussen, Grosjean & Fittipaldi)
  9. Racing Point, 248 Laps, (Perez & Stroll)
  10. Williams, 87 Laps, (Russell & Kubica)

 

 

F1 2019: Can Renault bridge the gap to the “top three”?

Since returning to Formula One as a fully-fledged manufacturer team in 2016, Renault have successfully made their way from the near bottom of the F1 table to the top of the mid-field. But can the French manufacturer make the next step and challenge the established top 3 teams?

08/02/19

From the bottom to the top, of the midfield that is

Under the Lotus branding in 2015, 2016 proved to be a difficult year because of the financial struggles in ’15’. The car was slow and unreliable and this was partly due to the restructuring of the team management. The lack of upgrades and the poor performing power unit prevented the team from making any real progress. Piloted by Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, the two drivers would score 8 points between them to leave Renault in 9th place out of the 11 teams.

Palmer remained with the team while Nico Hulkenberg joined in place of Magnussen. This was a far more competitive season and after the Japanese GP, Hulkenberg had scored 34 points compared to Palmer’s 8. The team signed Carlos Sainz Jr to replace the struggling Brit and was able to score 6 points. Finishing the season with 57 points, Renault finished in 6th place, a dramatic improvement from last year.

With Hulkenberg and Sainz remaining, the two drivers were able to fight for points on a consistent basis. With the development of the R.S.18, the Enstone factory was expanded to accommodate the team’s operations. This was also helped by Renault pulling out of Formula E after the 2017/18 season to focus on its work as an F1 team. After a season-long battle with the American Haas team, Renault finished “best of the rest” in 4th on 122 points.

Signing Ricciardo

This is a bold move but is also a statement from the French manufacturer by signing a race winner. Having taking 3 race wins, 29 podiums, 3 pole positions in 150 races, Daniel Ricciardo’s shock move from Red Bull to Renault is definitely a move that could be crucial for both parties.

Ricciardo’s move to Renault is a bit like Lewis Hamilton’s decision to leave McLaren for Mercedes for 2013, and we all know how that played out!

From recent images on social media, it’s looks like Ricciardo has settled into Renault well with the Australian and Hulkenberg sharing videos and images of each other. Personally, I can’t wait to see Ricciardo for the team!

Closing the gap to the front?

Renault believe they can “close the gap” to F1’s leading three teams in 2019, claiming developments for next season look “very promising”. They have set their sights on being championship contenders for the 2020 season but first they need to close the gap to the established top 3 teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

When speaking to Sky F1, Renault advisor and four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost said “for sure we wanted to be better this year for different reasons – but we will be better next year. I think we can close the gap, I just don’t know how much yet. We are working very hard on the engine side, which looks very promising.”

Renault are only powering two teams in 2019, themselves and McLaren. Red Bull for 2019 have parted company and will be using Honda engines. McLaren switched from Honda to Renault last season but failed to competitively compete with Renault which surprised the manufacturer with Team Chief Cyril Abiteboul saying “I am a bit surprised having to fight against Haas for most of the season when I was expecting it to be against McLaren.”

2019 expectations and goals

Having worked so hard over the past 3 seasons to get to the top of the midfield, Renault need to make sure, at least, that they stay there. I believe they’ll be the “dark horses” of 2019 and hopefully continuing to score points on a consistent basis.

There might even be a chance of a couple of podium finishes, which Hulkenberg is looking for.

The German has become the driver who has made the most career starts without a podium, 158 entries/ 156 starts. Hulkenberg has finished 4th on 3 occasions through-out his F1 career so far.

Whatever the case, Renault need to be aware of who they are most likely to be racing in 2019. Will they be looking behind – fending off the likes of Haas? McLaren? Or even Sauber? Or will they be looking ahead at the likes of Red Bull?

Renault will launch their 2019 challenger on the 12th of February.

F1 2019: What can McLaren achieve in 2019?

One of F1’s most successful and fan-favourite teams, McLaren, have struggled these past few years. While the team thought the under-lying problem was the engine supplier, 2018 exposed the actually car chassis to be the real problem. With a new mindset and a completely changed driver line-up, what can McLaren achieve in 2019?

04/02/19

Talent from within and out

With 2 Time World Champion Fernando Alonso announcing that he would be leaving F1 at the end of the season, McLaren were now looking for a talented driver who had experience in their back-pocket. To replace a Spaniard, of course you need a Spaniard in that McLaren chose Carlos Sainz Jr. The former Toro Rosso and Renault driver, who made his debut in 2015, has scored 171 points with a best finish of 4th in 4 seasons of competition.

Not confident in Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren decided to promote from within in a driver who has shown huge potential. Lando Norris has won a host of awards and a number of championships including the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Championship in 2016 and the FIA F3 European Championship in 2017. The Brit competed in the F2 Championship last year in which included one win and 9 podium appearances on his way to 2nd in the standings. He was awarded with 7 FP1 practice appearances with McLaren towards the end of last season.

Seidl appointed Team Boss

McLaren will be joined by former Porsche LMP1 Team Principal and BMW employee,  Andreas Seidl, who will be managing director of the team. Seidl will report to Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, with responsibility for all aspects of the team’s F1 racing programme. This move comes after a continuous restructuring of the team in their recovery plan long-term strategy to return to the top step of the podium.

Gil de Ferran will continue in his new in Sporting Director in which he was appointed in July before having a more serious impact towards the season’s end. Toro Rosso’s Technical Director, James Key, has been approached and has signed with McLaren but due to contract negotiations, there has been no official date of the Englishman joining the team

Not aiming for a championship challenge yet?

McLaren’s recent struggles in the past few seasons has been really tough to watch. Fans, including myself, pundits and experts have been praying for the British team to make progress up the pecking order. But, in July last year, Brown reported the dreaded news that we didn’t want to hear – that McLaren was ‘years away’ from a title challenge.

When asked by the official Formula1.com, Brown talked about how long a title challenge will take.  “This is going to take some time to fix. I think we are years away. I don’t know if that’s two or 10, or somewhere in-between. Probably more like somewhere in-between, but I don’t want to get into predictions.”

Although, after the season’s finale, Brown had some encouraging words to say about the future. “I think we’re now on the road to recovery as I tell the men and women at McLaren, it’s going to feel good before it looks good.” When asked about 2018 performance, the American said “I certainly think this year is a low spot, and this era is a low spot.”

2019 aims and hopes

With engine supplier Renault making gains in the engine department, McLaren have got to make sure that everything on their side is in the right order. McLaren admitted that they had gone in the wrong direction last season in terms of chassis and aerodynamics.

Speaking in January at the Autosport International Show, Brown said that both Sainz and Norris were “anticipating a good car.” “We are anticipating a good car. The off-season development has gone according to plan.”

McLaren have not won a GP since the end of the 2012 season and not finished on the podium since the 2014 Australian GP. These two are pretty ambitious hopes for this season, so consistent point scoring positions in the top 10 is definitely a more realistic goal.

In the hands of Alonso and Vandoorne last season, McLaren finished in 6th with a mass of 62 points. 60 points behind the works Renault team in 4th , 357 points behind Red Bull in 3rd and 593 behind Constructors Champion Mercedes.

If McLaren can achieve a similar amount of points, or even more than 2018, it’ll be a step in the right direction. The goal for them this season will be to lead the “mid-field”. To do this, consistency is well and truly needed. Progressing into Q2 and more importantly, Q3 will boost their chances of points come Sunday.

Sainz and Norris are in for a long and hard season but if everything goes well in Pre-Season Testing and in the first few rounds of 2019, then McLaren could be in for a well-deserving year.

McLaren will launch their 2019 challenger on the 14th of February.

 

 

 

 

F1’s 2019 unlucky drivers: What are they doing now?

Formula One in 2019 will look a lot different compared to 2018 with only Mercedes and Haas F1 retaining both of their drivers. This post looks at the drivers who weren’t able to secure a drive in the sport for the upcoming F1 season.

28/01/19

Stoffel Vandoorne

Vandoorne is competing in Formula E with HWA Racelab who are backed by Mercedes. The Belgian who won the GP2 Championship in 2015, made his F1 debut in 2016 with McLaren and then was given a full-time race seat in 2017. With the switch to Renault engines, many thought McLaren would return to fight at the top. Vandoorne has finished 4 times inside the top 9 with the highest finish of 8th.

Vandoorne failed to out-qualify team-mate Fernando Alonso times last year. The Belgian was axed in favour of Lando Norris and with Carlos Sainz Jr being signed as well, Vandoorne had to start looking elsewhere. Potential seats at Toro Rosso and Sauber quickly closed with Mercedes F1 boss, Toto Wolff, calling the Belgian seeing if he would be interested in a seat race with the Mercedes-affiliated HWA team. In Vandoorne’s favour at his time at McLaren, it was really wrong place at the wrong time for the Belgian.

Marcus Ericsson

Ericsson is heading off to Indycar to compete with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for 2019. Ericsson, who made his F1 debut with Caterham in 2014, had been with the Sauber outfit since 2015. Ericsson would score 9 points en route to 18th in the championship. With the team struggling for money, Ericsson failed to score a single point in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

With a new team boss and new title sponsors in Alfa Romeo, 2018 had certainly been a better year for the Swede. Although, Ericsson had been out-performed by Charles Leclerc with the now Ferrari driver beating him by 30 points. With Leclerc off to Ferrari, it was confirmed that 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen would partner Antonio Giovinazzi for this season leaving Ericsson without a drive. However, Ericsson is to stay as the team’s reserve drive and compete in Indycar as well.

Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon is the poor victim of the 2018 Driver Market. The Frenchman is to continue as a reserve driver for Mercedes for 2019. Ocon, make his F1 debut in at the 2016 Belgian GP with Manor Racing before signing and competing for Force India in 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Ocon had impressed during his time at Force India and it looked like he would be racing with Renault for 2019. Not until Daniel Ricciardo signed with the manufacturer. Ocon’s hopes of staying with Force India faded after the team went into administration and was bought by a group of investors which included Lance Stroll’s father. With the team sticking with Sergio Perez, Ocon was looking at possible seats at Toro Rosso and Williams. Red Bull’s Christian Horner saying that Ocon’s ties with Mercedes prevented them from signing him. Ocon however, managed to out-qualify Perez 16 times to the Mexican’s 5 over the 2018 season.

Brendon Hartley

The New Zealander currently doesn’t have any plans for 2019 but is to remain part of Porsche’s factory driver programme. Hartley, made his F1 debut at the 2017 United States GP before staying on and racing with the Red Bull junior team, Toro Rosso, for the 2018 F1 Season.

Hartley endured a very difficult year in which he was able to score 4 points compared to team-mate Pierre Gasly’s haul of 29 points. Hartley, suffered numerous accidents and crashes across the season including his high-speed crashes at Spain and Britain and his lap 1 incident with Lance Stroll in Canada. The 29 year-old felt confident of keeping his seat for 2019 but instead was replaced by Alexander Albon. Hartley has been linked with a Formula E seat with Porsche in the 2019/2020 season.

Sergey Sirotkin

After being dropped from Williams for 2019, Sergey Sirotkin is targeting DTM and WEC opportunities instead. The Russian was confirmed as a Williams driver alongside Lance Stroll for the 2018 F1 Season after beating Robert Kubica to the seat.

It’s no secret to say that Williams endured their worst season in F1 for a while and had the “worst” car of the grid. The team saying that they had gone the wrong direction of aerodynamics – this prevented the drivers from progressing up the grid. Sirotkin had a fairly reliable season, only retiring from 3 races, but when he did finish, it was out of the points and near the back of the field. His only highlight was at the Italian GP where he scored his first and only point of the season in 10th only after the disqualification of Haas’s Romain Grosjean. Although in his battle with Stroll, Sirotkin managed to out-qualify the Canadian 12 times showing his one-lap pace.

 

 

Ferrari replaces Arrivabene with Binotto ahead of 2019 Season

After reports close to Ferrari saying that a management shake-up was on its way, the Scuderia have confirmed that Mattia Binotto will take over from Maurizio Arrivabene with immediate effect.

07/01/19

After 4 challenging years of leading one of Formula One’s most legendary team, Maurizio Arrivabene is to be replaced by Mattia Binotto ahead of the upcoming F1 Season.

Arrivabene joined Ferrari in December 2014 after a disastrous year for the Scuderia in which F1 champions, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, could only wrangle the F14 T to 4th in the championship following the new Turbo-Hybrid 1.6-litre V6 turbos.

Since 2015, Ferrari have overall been the 2nd best team behind Mercedes and have challenged for both title bids in 2017 and 2018 but due to a series of driver and management errors, the team are still waiting for their first Constructors Championship since 2008.

A Ferrari statement said: “After four years of untiring commitment and dedication, Maurizio Arrivabene is leaving the team. The decision was taken together with the company’s top management after lengthy discussions related to Maurizio’s long term personal interests as well as those of the team itself.

“Ferrari would like to thank Maurizio for his valuable contribution to the team’s increasing competitiveness over the past few years, and wish him the best for his future endeavours.

“With immediate effect, Mattia Binotto will take over as Scuderia Ferrari’s Team Principal. All technical areas will continue to report directly to Mattia.”

Binotto in charge

Binotto, 49, has risen through the ranks at Ferrari having joined in 1995. In 2014, he was appointed as new engine director and then in 2016 he was appointed Chief Technical Officer of Ferrari.

It has been understood that there had been tensions between Arrivabene and Binotto through the 2nd half of last season when Ferrari’s title challenge fell apart.

Binotto is highly regarded in the F1 paddock as an engineering leader with many in the paddock crediting the Italian team’s power unit gains to him when he was power unit Chief Operating Officer in 2015.

How will this effect Ferrari?

Ferrari are not normal to a shake-up in driver line-up or management. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had been the Scuderia’s driver line-up since 2015 but with an effective swap with Charles Leclerc, this change seemed to be dramatic enough.

Including Binotto, there has been 4 Team Principal changes at Ferrari since 2008. Stefano Domenicali’s long reign from 2008 to 2014, Marco Mattiacci’s short ‘n’ sweet role from April to November in 2014 and Arrivabene’s highly frustrating role since December ’14’.

Arrivabene’s departure just two months before the start of the new season will inevitably raise questions as to how the change will affect the running of the team.

Now, with new management and a young, quick superstar partnering a 4 time Champion, can Ferrari take the glory back to Maranello this season?

 

2018 in Review

Here is the yearly review of what happened to myself and what happened to the blog over the course of 2018. I’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who visited the blog in and who made 2018 statistically the best year ever!

01/01/19

Blog Stats in 2018

  • Views: 803
  • Visitors: 469
  • Posts: 84
  • Views from Countries include: United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Netherlands, China, Malaysia, Germany, Mexico, Austria, Japan, Canada, Belgium, Brazil, France, Spain, Singapore, Morocco, Italy, Guatemala, India, Zimbabwe, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, San Marino, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, Bulgaria, Guernsey, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Russian, Sweden, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Romania, Colombia, Poland, Ukraine, Greece, Uruguay and Malta!

Blog overview

At the start of last year, I came up with a brief plan of what I wanted to achieve on the blog in 2018. My overall aim was to get around 800 views by around 500 visitors. As you can see above, the blog more or less achieved these aims. This makes 2018, statically, the best year ever which I am really pleased about. To be honest, I thought the blog wasn’t going to be able to reach these kind of numbers as I did not attend the Ignition Festival or Knockhill to see the BTCC (more about these later!). So to get the numbers that I did get, I’m really happy.

The following for the blog has grown as well with a good number of email subscribers and general subscribers.

I also upgraded the Blog on WordPress to a Personal Plan which allows me to manage the site better and make it more accessible. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and I’m glad that I’ve done it because as I think it’s improved the blog quite a bit.

The year as a whole

For myself, 2018 was an incredible year. Not only did the blog surpass my expectations, but myself as well. Well, I became the Head Boy at my school then two days before my 18th Birthday, I passed my Driving Test. As part of my birthday, my parents bought me a car so now I can proudly say that I am the owner of a 2007 Renault Twingo (the GT version to be precise).

To date, I produced 8 reports for Essaar GP covering mostly Formula One and a few on Formula E. From now on, I plan to cover Formula E for Essaar instead of doing both on the blog. So, starting from now, the blog will be now fully Formula One content. Here are the most recent reports I’ve done.

In 2018 I launched Rhonan’s Ragged Edge’s Facebook Page. This has gone down really well and if you haven’t visited it, follow the link here: https://www.facebook.com/rhonansf1blog/. This has been the most common way of people accessing the blog with 161 views from Facebook alone!

For those who are wondering, I am still collecting editions from the F1 Car Collector. I now have 20 cars and hope to add more. This post alone received 139 views! You can see my collection here: https://rhonansf1blog.com/2017/04/22/f1-car-collection/

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to Knockhill to watch the British Touring Cars in action due to a clash with other events happening. The Ignition Festival of Motoring wasn’t held as the event organisers were “taking a year off”. Hopefully it’ll be back this year as I have enjoyed attending it over the past few years and it has been an event I look forward too.

The event that I was able to attend, because it’s practically on my door-step, was the Argyll Rally. Built on the success of the return of rallying in Argyll in 2017, the event along with the help of their title sponsor Dunoon Presents roared throughout the hills and valleys of Dunoon and the surrounding areas. I attended all day and was able to get really good pictures and videos. You can read the post here: https://rhonansf1blog.com/2018/06/24/argyll-rally-2018/ Video’s from the day can be found on the Facebook page.

IMG_1548

Rally cars, old and new, sped through the forestry roads behind Dunoon on the 23rd of June 2018

What does 2019 hold?

For 2019, I hope to continue with the blog as per usual. I’ll be finishing school in June and applying to college afterwards. I am also planning to go Switzerland in June to watch the Formula E e-Prix and also attending the Argyll Rally when it returns. Fingers crossed that I am able to go to Knockhill this year to see the British Touring Cars and that the Ignition Festival is back on this year.

I plan to cover a lot more reports for Essaar this year, if I’ve got the time to do so, then I will. I plan to do a number of different things, motorsport, car, writing related. Overall, I really just want to do more and get out of my “comfort zone” and take the next step.

A MASSIVE thank-you to everyone who visited and read the blog over the course of 2018. It has been a pleasure to cover and report about F1 and can’t wait to do it all over again in 2019. Thank-you!