Here are your F1 2019 challengers

F1 2019 preview: the cars, drivers and calendar

Vote for the team you think will take the constructors' title

Formula One fans rejoice: the new season is upon us!

The opening race takes place in Australia this weekend, and although the usual suspects — Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari — were at the top of the timesheets in Friday Practice, the rest of the pack aren’t that far behind. And with quite a few changes to the driver line-ups and regulations, it looks to be a cracking year of racing.

The big rule changes for 2019 involve aerodynamics. To make it easier for drivers to overtake and follow other cars, the front wings are now far simpler than in 2018, and the DRS (drag reduction system) effect — where downforce can be reduced on certain straights at the touch of a button, to increase top speed — is more significant thanks to a wider, deeper rear wing.

Whether the combined changes will result in more interesting racing is anyone’s guess at the moment, though it’ll be fun to see what happens when the lights go out at Albert Park on Sunday.

Check out 2019’s F1 challengers below and tell us which team you think will triumph this year in our poll.


Alfa Romeo Racing

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name C38
  • Engine Ferrari
  • Driver line-up Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen
  • 2018 result (as Sauber) 8th (48 points)

The Sauber team may be gone from the grid this year but the Swiss outfit lives on under the Alfa Romeo name. The driver line-up has been refreshed for 2019 too, albeit with some familiar faces: the 2007 champ Kimi Raikkonen returns to the squad at which he made his F1 debut, in 2001, and last year’s Sauber reserve Antonio Giovinazzi has been promoted to a full-time race seat.

Haas F1 Team

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name VF-19
  • Engine Ferrari
  • Driver line-up Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen
  • 2018  result 5th (93 points)

Haas’ controversial strategy of building its car from the parts bins of more established teams has undeniably paid off: in just three years, the American team’s gone from being a fresh-faced newcomer to a legitimate threat to F1’s establishment. Add in the 2019 rule shake-up and a new title sponsor, and Haas hopes to be on par with Red Bull at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix next month – as long as the pit crews don’t muck up the tyre changes like they did Down Under last year…

McLaren F1 Team

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name MCL34
  • Engine Renault
  • Driver line-up Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz
  • 2018 result 6th (62 points)

McLaren’s F1 cars over the last few years have been disappointing to say the least, but its new MCL34 seems to be the outfit’s Papaya Orange light at the end of the tunnel. For sure, it likely won’t be troubling the top teams for podium places, but pre-season testing suggested the car is at least quick in a straight line, and the supremely talented British youngster Lando Norris is hailed as a future champion. One to watch.

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name W10
  • Engine Mercedes
  • Driver line-up Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton
  • 2018 entry 1st (655 points)

Given they’ve won the last five series in a row, the Mercedes W10 is the bookies’ favourite F1 car of 2019. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will surely be as hungry as ever for the drivers’ crown, and the team will no doubt focus the lion’s share of their attention and resources on the Brit’s title aspirations, whatever the say about neutrality. But with a stronger Honda engine this year, and Ferrari showing real pace in the opening testing salvos, could this be the year the Silver Arrows are shot down?

Racing Point F1 Team

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name RP19
  • Engine Mercedes
  • Driver line-up Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll
  • 2018 result (as Racing Point Force India): 7th (52 points)

The Force India name is gone, along with the team’s controversial co-owner Vijay Mallya, but the squad’s prominent pink livery has been retained in its rebranding as Racing Point. Mexican driver Sergio Perez will stay with the team, too, adding some welcome consistency as the new owners find their feet in top-tier racing, and it’s possible we may get a better idea of what Lance Stroll can do now that he isn’t driving for the lacklustre Williams team.

Red Bull Racing

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name RBR15
  • Engine Honda
  • Driver line-up Pierre Gasly, Max Verstappen
  • 2018 result 3rd (419 points)

Even when off the boil, Red Bull is still a formidable force: last year, it won four races, got pole position twice and outscored every team behind it in the standings combined. Now with a Honda powerplant, which is said to be markedly better than in previous years, and a talented young driver line-up to call upon, 2019 could be the year in which Red Bull turns the heat back up. But then again, the loss of the excellent Daniel Ricciardo may prove costly, and there are a few unknowns.

Renault F1 Team

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name R.S.19
  • Engine Renault
  • Driver line-up Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo
  • 2018 result 4th (122 points)

Since returning to the sport in 2016, Renault has made steady (if slow) progress through F1’s midfield, and last year it proved to be the best of the rest (outside the top three), but 2019 is the year the French team says it plans on entering the big league. Its aspirations of podium finishes may be a tad ambitious but having the fast and spectacular overtaker that is Ricciardo on board means that if the car is even remotely quick, there should be at least a sprinkling of good results.


Scuderia Ferrari

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name SF90
  • Engine Ferrari
  • Driver line-up Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel
  • 2018 result 2nd (571 points)

Despite being F1’s most successful team by a country mile, Ferrari has gone 10 years without winning a constructor’s championship. That might be about to change, though, as many believe they have a real contender in the SF90 and its driver line-up is one of the strongest, with last year’s star rookie Charles Leclerc and the four-time champ Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel. Assuming they can get the strategies right, and put in faultless performances in the pits, 2019 could see the return to form we’ve all been waiting for.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name STR14
  • Engine Honda
  • Driver line-up Alexander Albon, Daniil Kvyat
  • 2018 result 9th (33 points)

One team we’ll be keeping a close eye on this year is Toro Rosso. As usual, the plucky little team had a helping hand when designing the car from big brother Red Bull, and the Honda powerplant is reportedly not only more powerful but also more reliable, so don’t be surprised to see the two Toro Rosso drivers scoring points. Better than that would be a surprise, though, especially as it’s 22-year-old British driver Albon’s rookie year.

Williams Racing

Here are your F1 2019 challengers

  • Car name FW42
  • Engine Mercedes
  • Driver line-up Robert Kubica, George Russell
  • 2018 result 10th (7 points)

Has there been a more disappointing story in Formula One in recent years than the once-great Williams’ poor form? Considering the team’s 10th place in the championship last year, it would be amazing if the Oxfordshire-based team wasn’t hoping for better in 2019, but we’re not holding our breath. The FW42 was late for pre-season testing, for a start, and earlier this month Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe announced he was taking a “leave of absence” from the team on the eve of the 2019 F1 season, suggesting the problems run deep. It will at least be interesting to see how F2 champion George Russell and the returning Robert Kubica fare out on track.



2019 F1 calendar

Pre-season testing

Test Date Venue
Test 1 Feb 18 to 21 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain
Test 2 Feb 26 to Mar 1 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain


Date Grand Prix Venue
Mar 17 Australia Melbourne
Mar 31 Bahrain Sakhir
Apr 14 China Shanghai
Apr 28 Azerbaijan Baku
May 12 Spain Barcelona
May 26 Monaco Monaco
Jun 9 Canada Montreal
Jun 23 France Le Castellet
Jun 30 Austria Spielberg
Jul 14 Great Britain Silverstone
Jul 28 Germany Hockenheim
Aug 4 Hungary Budapest
Sep 1 Belgium Spa
Sep 8 Italy Monza
Sep 22 Singapore Singapore
Sep 29 Russia Sochi
Oct 13 Japan Suzuka
Oct 27 Mexico Mexico City
Nov 3 USA Austin
Nov 17 Brazil Sao Paulo
Dec 1 Abu Dhabi Yas Island


This article is updated from an original version published on February 19.