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Images from the first official pre-season test of the 2019 F1 season
NEWS

F1 2019: The Race is On

Feb 252019

With less than a month to go until the lights go out in Australia, and pre-season testing in full swing, Formula 1 is nearing critical mass for its attack on the 2019 competition season. What’s more with a raft of technical and driver changes sweeping all across the grid, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be checking out the pinnacle of single seat circuit racing this year. Keep reading to check out some of the highlights in store…

A 1000th Grand Prix - Time To Go Racing!
This season the FIA Formula One World Championship will run with a calendar busting number of races spanning almost every corner of the globe. In all 21 stop-offs make up the high-tech and high-speed travelling show from March to December. Historic driver and fan favourites, such as Barcelona, Spa, Silverstone, Monza are mixed in alongside the established new-school competitions such as the night race in Singapore, the street race in Azerbaijan and the festivals of Mexico and the season closer in Abu Dhabi. New deals have also been struck with the Japanese and German venues, meaning Hockenheim and Suzuka will remain a part of F1 for at least the next three years at least. F1 will also mark a 1000th Grand Prix milestone at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 14th. Here are the dates for your diary…


March 17: Australian Grand Prix
March 31: Bahrain Grand Prix
April 14: Chinese Grand Prix
April 28: Azerbaijan Grand Prix
May 12: Spanish Grand Prix
May 26: Monaco Grand Prix
June 9: Canadian Grand Prix
June 23: French Grand Prix
June 30: Austrian Grand Prix
July 14: British Grand Prix
July 28: German Grand Prix
August 4: Hungarian Grand Prix
September 1: Belgian Grand Prix
September 8: Italian Grand Prix
September 22: Singapore Grand Prix
September 29: Russian Grand Prix
October 13: Japanese Grand Prix
October 27: Mexican Grand Prix
November 3: United States Grand Prix
November 17: Brazilian Grand Prix
December 1: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Look Out For…
It’s not just a case of re-shuffling the deck of drivers this year either. A fifth of the grid will be new for 2019. Williams’ George Russell, McLaren’s Lando Norris, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon, and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi make up the freshman names for this season. In addition to that, Daniil Kvyat (Torro Rosso) and Robert Kubica are F1 returnees looking to reinstate their names in the sport. Arguably it’s Kubica’s return to F1 racing which is one of the most hotly anticipated. The Polish driver hasn’t raced in F1 since 2010, after suffering a near fatal accident while driving in the 2011 Ronde di Andore rally. Watch out too for Charles Leclerc stepping up to Ferrari in only his second ever full season of F1, as well as Daniel Ricciardo, who will now partner Nico Hulkenberg at Renault.

 

It’s business as usual for the all conquering Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas however. The Silver Arrows are one of only two teams (the other being Haas) to retain their 2018 lineup for this season. Last year the Brackley-based team took a record fifth consecutive constructors title, while Lewis Hamilton claimed his fifth drivers’ title.

New Wings Are Big Things

Aerodynamics is the watchword for the 2019 rule changes; further moving towards the big technical shakeup of F1 in 2021. In general all the cars on the grid will be sporting bigger, wider, deeper yet more simple wing designs on the front and rear. At the front there will be less of the complex winglets and bargeboard designs, instead replaced by cleaner builds. At the rear too, the wings are deeper and taller, with a 20mm bigger opening for the Drag Reduction System (DRS). It’s all in an effort to close up the grid and increase overtaking. The cleaner wings will hopefully eliminate the dreaded aero ‘outwash’ by up to 20% - a term encompassing the turbulent air kicked off the back of an F1 car, which has made overtaking seriously difficult previously. Will it work? Watch this space.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Vs The Prancing Horse

One thing is for sure; Mercedes and Ferrari will be going wheel-to-wheel again at the sharp end of the grid in 2019. Last season the Italian squad - led by Sebastian Vettel - took wins at the season opening Grand Prix in Australia, as well as Bahrain, Canada, Silverstone, and Spa, and came tantalisingly close to the championship spoils. However the Silver Arrows fought back with some incredible performances, with Lewis taking eight wins from the final 12 races of the year - making the title fight a serious heart-in-mouth affair. This year, Ferrari has replaced the outgoing Finnish racer Kimi Raikkonen with Charles Leclerc, banking on the young gun’s raw speed to perfectly complement Vettel’s experience. Don’t discount Valtteri Bottas either - while the Finn will be under pressure to reap up his performances again this year, 2018 saw him take eight podiums, two pole positions and seven fastest laps.

What the Silver Arrows say…

Lewis Hamilton: "I'm really looking forward to the next step of our journey together with Mercedes and embarking on what's not been done before. This is my seventh year with the team and the energy and the determination within the team are really inspiring. The buzz really starts at the beginning of the year when you see the car coming together. And then you get to the shakedown and you get into the car - it just never gets old. It feels like a real privilege - so many people have worked together to form that car and you know how much hard work has gone into it. Driving the new car is like meeting someone new for the first time - you want to get to know them the best way as quick as possible as you embark on a journey together."

 

Valtteri Bottas: "I am excited for the new season and that everyone starts with zero points. We are all on the same line and 2019 can bring anything; I'm going to go all in this year. There was quite a bit of criticism at some stages of 2018, but that's actually been a positive thing for me because it's given me an extra boost! I'm now looking forward to race the new car for the first time. The car has changed quite a bit because of the aero regulations changes, so it will be interesting to get an idea of how the car feels and how it handles. You never know what to expect and so it's exciting to jump in the car and discover it, to try to get a feel of the balance of the car and its behaviour. We do already push the car in the shakedown to get a feel for it."

 

Toto Wolff (Mercedes Team Principal & CEO): “The 2019 season will be a new challenge for all of us. The regulations have changed quite substantially. We have to start from scratch, we need to prove ourselves again - against our own expectations and against our competitors. We start the season with zero points, so we're taking nothing for granted and there's absolutely no feeling of entitlement to be at the front. In fact, with the regulation change for the new season, every team can have a shot at the title and we're seeing all of them as a potential threat. We're eager to hit the ground running in testing, to benchmark ourselves against our own simulations and see if our predictions materialise on track. We will focus on ourselves, building up performance and hopefully be ready when the first really competitive session starts on Saturday in Melbourne."

 

 

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