With preseason testing finishing up at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya only a few weeks ago, the 2019 Formula 1 season is officially upon us. New drivers have signed on to teams and the cars have been revealed as the season inches closer and closer to beginning. In only a few short days, the 2019 season will begin in Australia, so here’s a look at the cars, drivers, tracks and key points of interest entering the new season.
Drivers: Robert Kubica and George Russell
Car: Williams FW42
Williams heads into the 2019 season as the least successful team from 2018, but will continue to make every effort to return the team to former glory. Robert Kubica returns to Formula 1 after a multi-year absence due to a rallying crash eight years ago. Kubica will be joined by F1 rookie George Russell, who has spent the last two seasons winning not only the Formula 3 title, but captured the Formula 2 crown last season. The team was a no-show during the first two days of preseason testing, citing car build issues which put has already put them behind for the start of the season.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Drivers: Daniil Kvyatt and Alexander Albon
Car: Toro Rosso STR14
After moving to Honda power before the start of the 2018 season, Scuderia Toro Rosso continues to build on the success they claimed during last season. Daniil Kvyatt is back with the team after a year as a Ferrari test driver, and looks to make this third chance count after some lack-luster seasons. Alexander Albon will be Kvyatt’s teammate in 2019, after spending last season competing for the Formula 2 championship.
Alfa Romeo Racing
Drivers: Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi
Car: Alfa Romeo C38
Alfa Romeo enters the 2019 Formula 1 season as the team who undoubtedly surprised even the most casual fan. Charles Leclerc has left the team for Ferrari, but not after scoring 39 of Alfa Romeo’s 48 points last season, a total which almost tripled their 2017 campaign. Joining the team in 2019 is Formula 1 veteran Kimi Räikkönen, who began his career with the team in 2001. His “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing,” approach should bring instant results to the team. Alongside Kimi is rookie Antonio Giovanazzi, who holds the distinction of being Ferrari’s reserve driver on loan to Alfa Romeo for this season. Can Giovanazzi and Kimi bring Alfa to glory? We shall see.
Drivers: Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll
Car: Racing Point RP19
The artists formerly known as Force India, Racing Point heads into 2019 as the first team we’ve covered with a returning driver. A new owner, new team name and a new driver could see Racing Point continue to move up the mid field rants. Sergio Perez returns to the team in 2019 amid the internal team battle with last year’s teammate Esteban Ocon. Former Williams driver Lance Stroll is a youthful and promising addition to the team this season, as he looks to cement his F1 legacy.
Drivers: Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris
Car: McLaren MCL34
With the departure of Formula World champion Fernando Alonso, McLaren returns to the series in 2019 with a brand new driver lineup. After a season under their belts with Renault power, the team will look to build upon their 2018 campaign and improve their rise back to the top of the Formula 1 mountain. Carlos Sainz joins the team in 2019 after spending last season with Renault and brings instant quickness, experience and knowledge to the team. Lando Norris comes to McLaren as one of the young guns of the series. Norris already has won championships in F3 and a second place finish in last years F2 series.
Drivers: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen
Car: Haas VF-19
Entering their third year in the series, Haas enters the 2019 with an identical driver lineup compared to last season and the task of continuing to improve. Their growth netted them a fifth place finish in the 2018 team standings, a number that both team and driver will look to increase in 2019. The pairing of Roman Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen translated to an increased amount of successful grand prix races in 2018, but can it translate to wins and podiums in 2019? Beware the black and gold in 2019!
Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo
Car: Renault R.S.19
With the arrival of former Red Bull Racing winner Daniel Ricciardo, all eyes are on this team to deliver wins and podiums in 2019. Renault can be considered to be the “best of the rest” after finishing fourth in the team standings in 2018. However, the addition of Ricciardo can not be ignored. Look for both Nico Hulkenberg and Ricciardo to improve in 2019, and challenge for podiums and wins in 2019.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Drivers: Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly
Car: Red Bull RB15
With the departure of Daniel Ricciardo to Renault, Red Bull Racing sees a new driver in 2019 in that of Pierre Gasly. While teammate Max Verstappen has a few years under his belt as a F1 driver for a top team, Gasly has spent the past few seasons learning the ropes with Toro Rosso. The highlight of his 2018 campaign was a fourth place finish in Bahrain, a finish that will undoubtedly improve in 2019 with a better car and team. Max himself should again be towards the top of the grid from round to round, continuing to improve race by race.
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc
Car: Ferrari SF90
The Formula 1 world will be fixed on the Ferrari team in 2019 for a variety of reasons. First, can Sebastian Vettel topple Lewis Hamilton and claim his fifth world championship? Second, can Charles Leclerc win races with the Ferrari team after replacing Kimi Räikkönen? Those questions will undoubtedly be answered this season. After a successful pre-season test, Ferrari looks to be the top team heading into the 2019 season.
Drivers: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Car: Mercedes W10
Establishing themselves as top dog in Formula 1 for the past few years, Mercedes enters the 2019 as the reigning drivers and team champions. Lewis Hamilton will race for his sixth world championship this season, while also looking to fend off his top challenger Sebastian Vettel. Both drivers put on a show race-by-race last season, with the championship coming down to the final few races. Valtteri Bottas continues to improve every single season and will again contest for wins with his teammate in 2019.
2019 Formula Season Schedule
Stay tuned to the Game Changer Sports Network for all your latest F1 news this year!
Photo credits: Ferrari, Getty Images, McLaren, Motor Authority, Motorsports Images, Sky Sports, Red Bull Racing, Williams Racing, Formula Rapida and XPB.
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