By Tom McBeth
Teams roll in to Barcelona for Round 4 as drivers build up to more European races in the future.
The provisional F1 calendar for 2018 has been released showing a return to both Germany, at Hockenheim, and France’s Paul Ricard circuit for the first race in the country since 2008.
The Malaysian Grand Prix will no longer take place having been on the calendar every year since 1999.
Ayrton Simmons, driving in a lower-tier, Formula 4, said of the return to Europe,
“I think that Both France & Germany have had a great F1 history both on and off the circuits.
“Mercedes, Renault, Prost and Schumacher to name a few.
“These circuits have history and character and are vitally important to f1’s future.
Circuits are better when they have history, just look at Brands Hatch (in the UK), my favourite circuit where winners include Mansell, Herbert, Senna, Hill, Surtees, Villeneuve, Lauda, Hunt and Clarke. Enough said!”
French Formula 1 driver, Romain Grojean, took to Twitter to say,
“Really super-happy for French fans, who will have their Grand Prix and can come to support us.”
Bryony King, who races in Formula Jedi in the UK, said of the sport’s return to France,
“Formula One returning to France after 10 years with no Grand Prix in the country is great for the sport.
“Firstly it gives French fans the chance to watch F1 on their homeland, and will most likely increase the popularity of the sport within France.
“It also adds as a new challenge for the drivers to race at a new circuit, and hopefully provide more thrilling racing.”
9 of the 21 races on the 2018 calendar are due to take place in Europe, still a lower proportion than the 11 of the 16 races back in 1998.
Meanwhile, opinions on the changes to the regulations that have made for a more competitive 2017 season remain tentative but positive.
“For the part time or occasional follows F1 has improved a little but needs to be more entertaining and the cars must be more equal.
“As my dad says ‘if there isn’t equality, there is no race’.”
“2017 has already proved that Mercedes aren’t as dominant as they have been the last few years.
“It’s great to see Vettel back on the top step and leading the championship, and it looks like the fans will be given a great battle between him and Hamilton throughout the year.
“The 2017 season is certainly set to be a cracker based on the opening rounds, an almighty fight for the title continues!”
However, not everyone agreed following the Russian Grand Prix where viewers took to Twitter to express their feelings,
“That was the most boring race I have ever seen despite the last 4 laps #RussianGP” – @Danhunt1986
“Struggling with these modern circuits. No soul unlike Spa, Silverstone, Monza, Nurburgring etc” – @D4vid_w
“Boring. Interesting first and last laps, the rest was dross. Negative track and hard tyres. Fourth Russian GP and worst of a bad bunch” – @Doctorbadvibes
Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 13 points going into the first European race of the season at Circuit-de-Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on the 14 May.