Season 8 of the RaceDepartment Weekday Championship is now mere days away and at last the teams have confirmed the drivers that will be fighting it out across the 21 race calendar. Of course, it is impossible not to mention the elephant in the room, or rather not in the room, as Season 7 Driver’s Champion, Simeon Lynch, is not on the grid this time around having taken the decision to take a season off citing dissatisfaction with F1 2016 as a whole. With title rival Alex Gerasimenko sticking around for Season 8 as well as a host of other fast drivers it will be interesting to see who will take the honours following Lynch’s departure. So, onto the driver lineups for each team, in order of Constructor’s Positions in Season 7; Here is a detailed breakdown of who is where this season: Red Bull The reigning champions will field a whole new driver lineup for Season 8 despite the title they won in Season 7. Mikey Woolford will move up from Toro Rosso, having impressed Mr. Mateschitz in Season 7 with a number of podium finishes and a race win at Monza, this allowing him to progress from the junior team to the full squad. Alongside him will be Thomas While. Tom drove for Mercedes last season and made a strong start to the year but bad luck struck a number of times as the season progressed. It will be interesting to see how the two work with, or against, each other this season as they seem to have a good relationship and could provide a strong case for Red Bull to retain their crown. Williams Williams are another team to have gone for an all new pairing this year, with their champion driver stepping down and Jamie-Lee Mayers opting for a seat in the courthouse, the historic outfit have had their hand forced. Lining up for the Grove-based squad this season are Guy McClennan and rookie Jorge Diaz. Guy joined Sauber at the tail end of Season 8 and showed promising pace, inciting Williams to snap him up when they were left driverless. Alongside is Jorge Diaz. The Puerto Rican rookie shows a lot of potential and so Williams took him up on his offers to drive there, beating Force India when they were also looking to sign him on. With such high demand drivers Williams will be hoping for good results and time will tell if they made a good call. Toro Rosso Season 7 was a massive success for the Red Bull junior team as they ended up 3rd in the Constructor’s even when Mikey Woolford was forced into being the sole driver for a lot of the races when Ben Powney failed to meet the team’s commitment requirements. Mr Mateschitz was incredibly pleased that both of his teams were in the top 3 and Toro Rosso will be hoping to repeat their success with their new drivers. With Woolford’s promotion to the top team and Powney officially leaving, the Faenza squad is the 3rd team to take on a whole new lineup. The team will field a typical double rookie driver lineup in the form of Brad Colli and Ben Hughes, two up and coming drivers with accolades from other previous series. These hopefuls will be aiming to provide Toro Rosso with more silverware this season. Force India Silverstone-based team Force India had something of an upside down and inside out season in Season 7 with drivers coming and going all the time. This season they field the pairing of Harkko Helvelahti and Imran Khan. Helvelahti moves to the team from Renault in a deal done to swap Harry Green into the Renault. Having shown promising pace in Season 7 it will be interesting to see how Harkko gets on in his new Mercedes powered ride. RaceDepartment rookie Imran Khan steps up partner him in the VJM09. While a rookie in RaceDepartment, Imran has race wins and podiums in other championships and has proven himself to be a fast driver. How the dynamic will play out between these drivers is a very interesting unknown. McLaren Honda The Woking based legends are the first team to retain a driver for the new season. Dutchman Jerry Moorrees sticks with the team he joined towards the end of Season 7 in an effort to capture glory for the McLaren Honda partnership, saying he felt more comfortable in the McLaren and was aiming for good finishes right from the get go. Jason Warburton moves from Renault to take the wheel of the 2nd car at the team for this season. Warburton can produce good results consistently and is optimistic about his chances for good points in Season 8 and so McLaren are certainly in the discussion for good Driver’s and Constructor’s positions this season. Mercedes Mercedes has arguably one of the strongest driver lineups of the whole field in the form of title runner up Alex Gerasimenko and former AOR champion Karl Desimpele. Alex joined the Red Bull team after 6 races in Season 7 and quickly became a threat to Simeon Lynch despite the deficit, pushing Lynch for the title right up until Mexico when Simeon clinched it. Gerasimenko is the favourite for the title in a lot of people’s eyes and it will be interesting to see how he gets on at Mercedes. Karl Desimpele will line up alongside. The Belgian driver is known for his immense pace and is also a test driver for Codemasters themselves. He is also in the conversation for the title fight as is to be expected. Can the expertise of the tester allow him to outwit his teammate? How will the two superstars of the championship work together at the same team? This is arguably the hottest pairing we’ve seen in a while. Ferrari Speaking of hot pairings, Ferrari hit the grid this season with a stellar lineup of drivers. Following a disappointing Season 7, the Maranello squad will be aiming for more success this time around and their drivers will be hoping for the same. Having left Red Bull, Mitchell Haverlag will take to the wheel of the Prancing Horse for this season. A great driver, Haverlag will be aiming for more race wins and podiums this season and is another name mentioned in the championship fight discussion. Alongside is American driver Andrew Wood who moves up from Ferrari “junior” team, Haas F1. With multiple strong showings in Season 7 Wood will be hoping to build on his success and help Ferrari to a strong Constructor’s position as well as compete for the Driver’s title, for which he is also a consideration for a lot of people. Manor Racing The loveable minnows return to the grid this season with a strong driver lineup and high aspirations. Taking control of the MRT01 will be Michael Fleming and Callum Marshall. Fleming joined an ailing McLaren towards the end of Season 7 and immediately impressed with consistent strong finishes, but opted not to stay with the Honda powered team and instead went for a drive with Manor, preferring the car they offered to the MP4-31. He has said he aims for top 8 consistently and top 5 regularly. Callum Marshall lines up next to him. Callum is a race winner and podium sitter in other leagues and has a long history of league racing. Will his experience help him to overcome his team mate? Renault Suffering a troubled Season 7, Renault will be aiming to make amends in Season 8 with their driver lineup. At the helm of the R.S.16 this season will be Harry Green and Martijn Boontje. Green is a reigning GP2 champion in another series and was offered a drive by Renault for Season 8. Having stepped up to replace an exiting driver at Force India for the final rounds of S7, in which he took 2 podiums and a pole position, Harry will be aiming for more strong results this season. Who was the driver who was leaving Force India at the end of Season 7? It was in fact the other Renault driver for this season, Martijn Boontje. Boontje showed strong pace in Season 7 so these two competitive drivers could help propel Renault a little further up the championship table. Haas/Sauber The eagle eyed reader will have noticed that 4th placed Haas and 8th placed Sauber were omitted from this list. This is because neither team has yet confirmed their lineups for this season, just days from the opening round in Melbourne. With financial difficulties plaguing both teams, they may only field one car each at first for Season 8 or may drop out all together if they can’t find drivers or funds. So there you have it, all the confirmed drivers for RaceDepartment Season 8. In what is sure to be a hotly contested championship, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will rise and who will fall this season. Do join us for lights out in Melbourne at 8PM GMT on 21st March 2017. Announcement 18/03/2017 Haas F1 announce signing of Mats Braster as their sole entry for Season 8. This news means that after 24 consecutive years in Formula 1 we may see Sauber bow out of the sport for now if they cannot find a driver in time. Announcement 19/03/2017 Haas F1 announce a shock 2nd signing of Mitchell Kelonye to partner Braster and thus complete a full two car entry for Season 8. Having been pulled from the depths, how will the Kannapolis based team fare this season? Announcements 20/03/2017 In an amazing turn of events, reigning champions Red Bull are left without one of their drivers as Thomas While is forced to bail on the deal with the team at the last moment. Can they fill the spot before the first race or will the multi time world title holders be on the back foot from the get go? At the death Red Bull buy Guy McClennan out of his Williams contract on a deal to ensure that they field 2 drivers this season. Williams therefore have signed Gatis Sterste to fill their now vacant spot. The Latvian driver is known for his speed so it is likely we will see him up front immediately.