Our tech anal­y­sis of Mercedes, Fer­rari and Red Bull chances in 2018

Lewis vs Seb for a fifth ti­tle is this year’s head­line con­test. But the Mercedes vs Fer­rari vs Red Bull su­perteam slugfest will be just as fe­ro­cious. Ben An­der­son takes a peek be­neath the lead­ing con­tenders’ in­tri­cately sculpted forms

F1 Racing (UK) - - CONTENTS -

FOR­MULA 1 is a glad­i­a­to­rial con­test be­tween driv­ers; a po­lit­i­cal dog­fight be­tween team bosses. But the true na­ture of the beast is tire­less pur­suit of en­gi­neer­ing ex­cel­lence. Mostly, there­fore, F1 is a bat­tle of brains: the in­ge­nious ideas of the bright­est minds forged in car­bon fi­bre, pit­ted against those of their ri­vals. A skir­mish of pens, draw­ing boards and CAD ma­chines. Think to vic­tory: de­sign or die. The cars are as in­tri­cate as Swiss clock­work; the en­gines a com­plex mix of fuel-starved, tur­bocharged, gas-re­cy­cling, elec­tro-pow­ered, hy­brid wiz­ardry – ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing close to 1,000bhp. The un­doubted masters of this sor­cery in the V6 era are Mercedes, but the new aero­dy­namic rules and wider tyres in­tro­duced for 2017 have, to some de­gree, scram­bled the pic­ture. Fer­rari came close to deny­ing Mercedes last sea­son, such was their leap for­ward with the SF70H – ar­guably their best car in a decade. Snap­ping at their heels came Red Bull, charg­ing into con­tention as the sea­son wore on, too late to af­fect the out­come, but po­tent enough to up­set the other big beasts. Red Bull – F1’s V8-era masters – have been de­throned in the V6 age, but can never be dis­counted, thanks to their big­gest weapon: Adrian Newey, the great­est F1 de­signer of the past 25 years. Can his mav­er­ick ge­nius out­wit the me­thod­i­cal dili­gence of Mercedes and the pas­sion­ate fever of Fer­rari? This is the bat­tle that will de­fine the 2018 ti­tle race, fought out on the draw­ing boards and CAD screens of For­mula 1’s top three teams.

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