Alex Palmer Writes
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Most of the social media heading towards the race this weekend has been photos of various Singapore landmarks obscured (or partially obscured) by fog. And that's real fog, not the smoke from Renault engines as they give up the fight. It's also interesting that most weather forecasts for the weekend show rain (or at least 'heavy showers') for Sunday. Could this actually be an entertaining race this year??

Also worth noting a driver change for Manor F1 this weekend (and for most of the rest of the season), with Roberto Merhi making way for Alexander Rossi - much to the delight of the US media and fans who will now have a home driver racing at Austin next month. Hopefully this gives the Austin round a boost in terms of ticket sales given the Mexican F1 GP will surely have an impact on the number of Mexican fans who would have otherwise come to Austin. It's also worth considering whether Ferrari may have bankrolled this move, as a way of giving Rossi the race experience that Haas F1 (a Ferrari powered team) have been publicly saying they want in a race driver. Be that as it may, my favourite take on the situation came from one twitter wag who noted "There's just been an announcement that a different driver will be finishing last for the rest of the season". Harsh, but true.....

There's a few F1infocentre alumni on the ground in Singapore, I'm sure it will be a good weekend regardless of the weather or the smog - but I guess I'm most interested to see whether any of them make it onto the TV coverage (bonus points if anyone can get on TV wearing the dust mask!)

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With the paddock assembling in Monza, the big news seems to be that Lewis Hamilton has turned up in the paddock with blonde hair - oh, and a new tattoo of an eagle. Seems he just went to the hairdresser and decided to change things up, which I can relate to I suppose. It is just amusing that on a day when Korea was formally removed from the 2015 calendar (not a surprise for anyone I think), Williams confirmed they have retained Bottas and Massa, and McLaren announced another 15 grid spot penalties for their drivers (10 for Alonso, 5 for Button) and Rosberg confirmed his baby daughter's name still hasn't been settled, it's Hamilton's hair that's making the big headlines.

OK - I hear you, more engine penalties for McLaren isn't really big news.

Rumors persist that Renault are circling the Lotus team and we may see 'Lotus-Renault' back on the grid in 2016. Grosjean seems to have settled into the team and is performing reasonably well, one wonders whether a Renault-backed team will still be dependent on Maldonado's sponsorship dollars or whether they might be able to bring in a decent driver? And with Haas F1 still to name their 2016 drivers a Lotus-Renault team might open the door for some of the talented GP2 drivers to get a seat in the main game.

It also seems that Mercedes have now used all their engine tokens for this year also, which may open the door for more interesting races in the coming months if other teams continue to bring engine upgrades through. With wet practice and qualifying predicted, we might see a more random grid than usual but I do expect the Mercedes to once again dominate.

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It's been a long 3 weeks but summer's over and F1 returns to our loungerooms (or mobile devices!!) this weekend. Interestingly enough, there won't be a summer break next year if the provisional calendar released last month remains unchanged.

Some breaking driver news overnight, with Ferrari confirming they've retained Kimi Raikkonen alongside Vettel for next year. This should now allow other driver movements to occur including the pending announcement from Haas F1 on who their inaugural drivers will be - particularly as Haas is affiliated with Ferrari.

What will the weekend bring? Have any of the teams pulled through upgrades to challenge the Mercedes dominance? And will we see another damp race to cause headaches for the armchair tipsters out there? Not sure about you, but I am looking forward to seeing the cars on track again.

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F1 returns to Austria this weekend, the country that half of the world still seems to get mixed up with the Great Southern Land (otherwise known as the home of the opening round of F1 each year - Australia). Following that theme, seeing we had a Hamilton win in Australia and a podium interview (a very entertaining one, even though in general I'm not a fan of celeb interviewers on the podium!) from arguably the world's most famous Austrian - Arnold Schwarzenegger, I reckon it would be so cool to see Hamilton win and Arnie with the mic for the podium interviews. Sort of like entering the twilight zone, or would that be the de ja vue zone?

Continuing with the slightly bizarre theme, there's been a lot of talk this week of the new 'short nose' that McLaren are looking to run this weekend. Some of the good but possibly under-employed people of the twitter-sphere immediately interpreted that quite literally, leading to this absolute corker of a photo-shopped image that's been doing the rounds. I can't work out if it's creepy, cute, or an animal in disguise - what do you think??

Other points to watch out for this weekend are potential grid penalties for Red Bull and McLaren (engine changes), and a resurgent Hulkenburg following his great win in the World Endurance Championship 24hr Le Mans race last weekend. Here's hoping that it's a more interesting race than the last round, and we're talking about something other than McLaren engine issues or Hamilton's comfortable win come the end of the race.

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As an Aussie, and particularly as someone from the northern part of the continent, I am amused by the discussion about how Silverstone this week is going to be a scorcher. Well, to be fair, I guess anything over 30 degrees Celcius is so hot England may just shut down. How unlike Silverstone, hot and dry......

But seriously, this has the potential to make the race on Sunday quite interesting if it is run in hot dry conditions. With Alonso's McLaren getting a new 'old' engine ( so no penalty) perhaps we should run a sweep on which lap he will retire the car? This will also be an interesting test for the Renault powered cars who desperately need a good weekend, particularly seeing Ricciardo has started calling for Red Bull to write off this season and focus on 2016.

A driver to watch this weekend is Will Stevens, in his first F1 home race - it would be great to see him finish, and who knows - if lots of cars fail in the heat could Manor score points? The heat will also test Mercedes brake-by-wire systems which have been known to fail in extreme heat ( think Canada 2014).

And a shoutout to our hardy F1Infocentre alumni who will be at the track. Can I suggest a famous Aussie SunSmart message - slip, slop, slap (slip on a long sleeve shirt, slap on sunscreen, and slap on a hat).

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Hi there folks - apologies for the radio silence, but normal service will resume from this round!!

Two real talking points from last round in Monaco, both have the potential to influence goings on in Montreal this weekend. The first is the ongoing debate / discussion (farce??) around using grid girls vs grid boys, with the situation best summed up I think by Sebastian Vettel who was asked by BBC5Live journalist Jenny Gow what he thought about the use of grid boys in Monaco.

Jenny Gow: And so tell me quickly, your thoughts about grid boys?

Sebastian Vettel: Ah, devastated. I don't get it. Um, sorry, but, if I was into men then it's probably a different story but I'm not, and ah, to park the car and look at the bum of some George or Dave, no, wasn't happy with that.

Jenny Gow: so then you're hoping they go back to girls then in future and this is the end of the equality move?

Sebastian Vettel: Well, it's's part of the race, I mean, y'know, for some there is traditions and there is good traditions that we shouldn't break with those.

So what do you think? My guess is that we'll see the grid girls back in Monaco, the organizers wouldn't want to upset a 5-time world champion like Vettel.....

The other big story from the weekend, and the one probably more likely to cast a shadow forward to this weekend's race was the amazing error from Mercedes to pit Hamilton from the lead during the Virtual Safety Car / Safety Car cross-over to cover off a potential tyre risk which, to us non-experts (well, to me at least!!) seemed a ridiculous move, and almost certainly cost Hamilton his Monaco win which continues to allude him. Took some fast talking to get him to the podium and I imagine some grovelling from various team figures (public apologies from Wolff and Lauda immediately after the race seemed to help), although Hamilton's post-race press call was surprisingly sanguine. Hamilton always seems to go well at Canada, and now that the new 3 year deal with Mercedes has been sorted, baring a car-tastrophe like the ones that gifted the race to Red Bull, he should be back on form this weekend I'd suggest.

I reckon Ferrari and Williams will be fast this weekend, but the Renault and Honda engines just don't have the power to play with the big boys at a circuit like this one. However, one can only hope that Alonso will actually finish a race this weekend - and maybe (just maybe) we might see a double-points finish for McLaren Honda??

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2019 Calendar

RaceGrand PrixRace Day
1AustraliaSunday 17 March
2BahrainSunday 31 March
3ChinaSunday 14 April
4AzerbaijanSunday 28 April
5SpainSunday 12 May
6MonacoSunday 26 May
7CanadaSunday 9 June
8FranceSunday 23 June
9AustriaSunday 30 June
10Great BritainSunday 14 July
11GermanySunday 28 July
12HungarySunday 4 August
13BelgiumSunday 1 September
14ItalySunday 8 September
15SingaporeSunday 22 September
16RussiaSunday 29 September
17JapanSunday 13 October
18MexicoSunday 27 October
19United StatesSunday 3 November
20BrazilSunday 17 November
21Abu DhabiSunday 1 December

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