Some Off Season Updates

By The Way - Weekly Columns


By Nick Chenery F1 in 2017 was exciting for the most part, with a tense battle between the Mercedes and Ferrari's (most notably Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel) up until Japan at least, fans will be hoping that with no significant rule changes planned until 2021, the 10 teams in the paddock should be that little bit closer. SInce this isn't a season preview (yet), I digress. Granted there isn't much racing that happens in January at the best of times, but there's still enough news and other little bits to make this first weekly column interesting.

As Fernando Alonso prepares to compete in the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours Race (the American version of Le Mans) at the end of January, the two time F1 World Champion released picturesof the helmet he'll be using while diving for United Autosport alongside Lando Norris (McLaren Development Driver) and Phil Hanson. Here's his helmet thanks to the Spaniard's personal Instagram account.

Alonso himself has admited that he is prepared to go 'out of his comfort zone' in what will be his first 24 Hour Race and presumably his only stab at it before he attempts Le Mans with Toyota in June although this is stll to be confirmed by Alonso or the team itself. Add that to the fact that the Spaniard has said that he wants 'two or three weekends outside of Formula 1' it may well be a possibility. Watch. This. Space.

It may be just 78 days until the first race of the 2018 season in Melbourne (March 25) but there is still one seat left to be filled at Williams. You've all heard that Robert Kubica was pushing to make a return to the grid after completing a numbr of in-season tests wth Renault but with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenburg already signed for the upcoming season, the seat at Williams which was vacated by the retiring Felipe Massa seemed the only option.

The Polish driver who previously raced in F1 untl he had a pretty serious rallying accident in 2010 has competiton, though. Daniil Kvyat, axed by Toro Rosso more than once in 2017, is in the frame along with Sergey Sirotkin who competed in F2 or ART Grand Prix last year. The 22 year old Russian was not only faster than Kubica after Williams had analysed everystrand of data but he also has a sponsorship budget of £13m which would be moe than useful to a mid-field running outfit such as Williams. Lance Stroll and Sirotkin would be by far the least experienced pairing on the 2018 grid which could have its problems.

Before the new year, Flavio Briatore started the rumour that WIllams were finalising the details for Sirotkin to take the seat but, given his track record over the years and the fact he was banned from any FIA events for a year or so because of race fixing (SIngapore 2008) before a French Tribunal overturned it, I'd probably wait until the official announcement.

Thanks for joining us for the first of what I hope will be a weekly column speaking about the most expensive but not always most glamourous sport in the world. I've been, and still am Nick (@nickdougchenery on Twitter) and I hope you can join us again soon. FIngers crossed that we'll have confirmation of the WIlliams seat for you, too. Bye for now!