The start of the 69th Formula One World Championship season is just days away. Nick Haldenby gathers together some of the best pre-season stats and facts to whet your appetite for the year ahead.

The 2018 F1 season will be the first with no Brazilian driver since 1969.

The last race without a Brazilian driver was the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix, which Felipe Massa sat out due to illness.

This season will be the first without any of Michael Schumacher’s former teammates competing in it since 1977.

Ricardo Patrese is the reason for this strange, time-bending statement. The Italian started his career with Shadow in 1977 and raced all the way through to 1993, where he finished his final season as Schumacher’s Benetton teammate.

Image: f1-photo.com

Since the beginning of the 2013 season, there have only been seven races where the podium has not featured either Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton.

Last time Formula One visited the Paul Ricard circuit for the French Grand Prix, ten of the 2018 drivers had not yet been born.

The last race to be held on the track saw Ivan Capelli’s Leyton House nearly complete an underdog victory, losing out to Ferrari’s Alain Prost in the last few laps.

Image: f1-photo.com

The longest dominance for drivers from two teams to have won the Drivers’ Title is ten years. Between 1984 and 1993, only Williams and McLaren drivers took the title.

Mercedes and Red Bull could equal that this year if one of their four drivers win the title.

Mercedes could match Ferrari’s dominant streak from 2000 to 2004 this season.

Should Mercedes and one of their drivers clinch the title this year, it’ll be only the second time in F1 history where a team and one of their drivers have won their respective titles for five seasons straight.

Image: f1-photo.com

Lewis Hamilton is on a streak of 25 consecutive races in the points. He’s two away from Kimi Raikkonen’s record of 27, which he could beat at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Iceman scored consecutive points finishes from the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix through to the 2013 German Grand Prix, including two wins.

On his next podium appearance, Sebastian Vettel will take his 100th top three finish. When he does, he’ll join a very select company in the 100 Podiums club – Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Alain Prost.

Kimi Raikkonen needs nine more podiums to join the club, while Fernando Alonso needs three.

Fernando Alonso will reach 300 F1 starts at the British Grand Prix. He’ll also become the second most experienced man in F1 history this season.

Currently, on 293 appearances, Alonso will surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of 308 appearances at the Russian Grand Prix and will move ahead of Jenson Button at the following event. Should he stay for 2019, Fernando will overtake Rubens Barrichello’s record of 326 starts.

Only three drivers have taken championship victory so far this decade – the least in any decade of the sport’s history.

In contrast, the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s each had seven different champions. Unless someone other than Vettel or Hamilton wins the title this year, this decade is guaranteed to be the one with the least different champions so far.

Kimi Raikkonen holds the record for the longest podium streak without a win.

GP MONACO F1/2017 © FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER FERRARI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

He’s had 21 podium appearances since his last win at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix. The streak is already a record. How far will he extend it this season?

Assuming he starts every race, Kimi Raikkonen will move to second on the all-time list for the most entries with one constructor.

The 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be his 153rd entry for Ferrari. He’ll be behind only Michael Schumacher, who started 180 races with the Scuderia.

If Sebastian Vettel takes four victories, he’ll draw equal to Alain Prost on the all-time win list with 51 top step appearances.

Image: f1-photo.com

If Lewis Hamilton wins a race this season, it’ll be the twelfth consecutive year in which he’s won a race.

He’s never had a winless season in F1. Only Michael Schumacher has more years with consecutive wins (fifteen, between 1992 and 2006).

If Max Verstappen takes a pole position this season, he’ll become the sport’s youngest ever polesitter, beating Vettel’s record of 21 years and 72 days at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

This season is the last that Verstappen will be eligible to take that record. Other drivers on the grid who are still eligible to become the youngest polesitter in F1 are Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc.

If Sergio Perez fails to take a pole position this year, he’ll move to level with Olivier Panis on the number of pole-less races list.

Panis entered 158 Grands Prix without starting from the front – the fourth most pole-less races of all time.

In 2017, Lewis Hamilton took three Grand Slams (pole, win, fastest lap and every lap led). If he takes another three this season, he’ll draw equal with Jim Clark’s record total of eight Grand Slams.

Sebastian Vettel needs four more Grand Slams to equal the record.

For the first time since 1981, only one British driver will start the British Grand Prix.

The fact that John Watson won the event in 1981 may be a good omen for Lewis Hamilton. Brian Henton, Nigel Mansell and Derek Warwick partook in the 1981 British Grand Prix weekend, but all failed to qualify. The last time only one British driver entered the British Grand Prix weekend was in 1979, again being John Watson.

If Hamilton does win at Silverstone, he’ll take an all-time record of six British Grand Prix victories.

Image: Octane Photographic

If Kimi Raikkonen or Valtteri Bottas win a race this season, it’ll be the 50th win for a Finnish driver.

2018 is the first time Williams’ driver line-up starts the season with no wins since 2012.

Williams’ car number – the FW41 – also happens to be the combined age of their two 2018 drivers, Lane Stroll (19) and Sergey Sirotkin (22).

The Paul Ricard track is the only circuit on the 2018 calendar where Lewis Hamilton has not taken a pole position.

There are also only four venues on the calendar where Sebastian Vettel has not yet started from the front – Azerbaijan, Spain, France and Austria.

For the last three decades, the year ending in an eight has seen a McLaren driver win their first title with the team.

In 1988, Ayrton Senna became World Champion for the first time. Mika Hakkinen followed suit in 1998 before Lewis Hamilton took his first title in 2008. Can history repeat itself in 2018?

Image: Octane Photographic

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