The tracks are ready, cars are tested and the drivers ready to get out of the paddock to drive on the fast lane as the new season of the Formula One is getting underway this week. As the quest for the checkered flag will kick off in Melbourne this weekend, CGTN Sports Scene takes a look at the 10 participating teams and their top drivers for the most exciting and entertaining racing competition in the world.
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas
Arguably one of the hot favorites in the new season, the team won their fifth consecutive constructors championship in 2018.
With five-time driver’s title winner and two-time defending champion Hamilton in their ranks, Mercedes is one of only two teams to retain the same line-up. His steady teammate Finland’s Bottas will be hoping to match the paving of his illustrious teammate.
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel & Charles Leclerc
Monaco’s Charles Leclerc has been roped in from Sauber to give company to Germany’s four-time champion Vettel after having a breakthrough rookie season last year. Leclerc’s arrival saw long-time Ferrari linchpin Kimi Raikkonen going the other way to rejoin a Sauber team, renamed as Alfa Romeo.
Red Bull: Max Verstappen & Pierre Gasly
Australian Daniel Ricciardo may have dumped Red Bull after having a stint for five years to join Renault but the team has got France’s Gasly from Toro Rosso, who made his first Formula One start with the team in 2017. Gasly has now joined his old karting rival Verstappen as Red Bull is eying for more glories with “Mad Max”.
Renault: Daniel Ricciardo & Nico Hulkenberg
Ricciardo’s relocation to Renault was the biggest surprise switch over ahead of the new season and the seven-time race winner is hoping for a better season with his new car. Meanwhile, he will be in the steady company of dependable and experienced German driver Hulkenberg, who will have his third year with the team.
Haas: Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen
The American team has come a long way since their 2016 debut and is the only team except Mercedes who will stick with the same line-up as last year. They made quite a promise in 2018 after finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship and with Grosjean and Magnussen are in their third season together. Haas is looking forward to carrying their momentum into the new season.
McLaren: Lando Norris & Carlos Sainz Jr
With veteran Fernando Alonso leaving them, the underperforming British team has hired Sainz Jr, the son of a double world rally champion, replacing him from Renault. They also let Stoffel Vandoorne go and brought in upcoming young British talent Lando to the paddock for his maiden season at the age of 19.
Racing Point: Sergio Perez & Lance Stroll
Twenty-year-old Stroll shifted from Williams to the former Force India team now under new ownership. He had less than an impressive 2018 but he will now form a partnership with incumbent Perez, who has a podium finish (third) in Azerbaijan last year behind Hamilton and Raikkonen.
Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen & Antonio Giovinazzi
Raikkonen’s arrival has brought huge experience to the team, earlier known as Sauber. The flamboyant Finn is joined by Ferrari academy graduate Giovinazzi.
Toro Rosso: Alexander Albon & Daniil Kvyat
Twenty-two-year-old Thai-British driver Albon has been promoted from Formula 2 after having four wins in 2019. He has replaced Brendon Hartley while Russian comeback kid Kvyat will start his third spell at Toro Rosso after being Ferrari’s development driver last year.
Williams: George Russell & Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica’s comeback has been the talk of the season as Pole Kubica made a return to Formula One after eight long years and suffering multiple injuries in a near-fatal rallying crash. He is joined by Britain’s Formula 2 champion Russell.