F1 2019: who and what to look out for in the new season

Charles Leclercs battle with Sebastian Vettel, rookie drivers, a fastest lap bonus and easier overtaking are a recipe for drama in the new Formula One season

Fireworks at Ferrari

Ferrari protege Charles Leclerc impressive in his rookie season for Sauber last year is cleared to race without team orders against Sebastian Vettel. In testing the 21-year-old Mongasque showed no sign of being intimidated, virtually matching the Germans times, and Vettel is unlikely to react well to being beaten by a junior teammate. Potentially the mustwatch drama of the season.

Competitive midfield

Ferrari had the edge over Mercedes in testing, while Red Bull look stronger with a quick and reliable Honda engine and though F1s big three remain alone up front the gap to the midfield has narrowed. That fight will be tighter than ever. Renault and Haas are strong again but Toro Rosso have made a definitive forward move and Alfa Romeo (ne Sauber) and McLaren are in the mix as well with Racing Point (rebranded from Force India) expected to step up in Melbourne.

New Britons on the grid

A huge year for two British rookies. Lando Norris has proved himself in junior Formula E but must now cope with the pressure that comes with a seat at McLaren. George Russell, who won the F2 title last year, has a daunting task at Williams, who have the slowest car on the grid. Both are potential heirs to Lewis Hamilton, so how they manage the cauldron of their first season will be fascinating. Special mention, too, to the London-born Alexander Albon, who races under the Thai flag and will absolutely make his mark at Toro Rosso.

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Quick guide

F1 2019: Teams and drivers

There have been plenty of drivers switching seats in the buildup to the new season.Daniel Ricciardohas leftRed Bullfor Renault, withCarlos Sainzmoving toMcLarenafter Fernando Alonso’s departure. FrenchmanPierre Gaslyhas been promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Ricciardo, with British-Thai driverAlex Albontaking his place.

Charles Leclercmoves from Sauber to partner Sebastian Vettel atFerrari, trading places withKimi Rikknen(pictured), who will race for a rebrandedAlfa Romeoteam. Force India are now known asRacing Point, with Lance Stroll joining them fromWilliams.

The British constructor welcomes two new drivers home hopeful and Formula 2 world championGeorge RussellandRobert Kubica, who makes his F1 return eight years after suffering life-threatening injuries in a rallying accident.

How the teams line up

Alfa Romeo Kimi Rikknen (Fin), Antonio Giovinazzi (It)
Ferrari Sebastian Vettel (Ger), Charles Leclerc (Mon)
Haas Romain Grosjean (Fr), Kevin Magnussen (Den)
McLaren Lando Norris (GB), Carlos Sainz (Sp)
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton (GB), Valtteri Bottas (Fin)
Racing Point Sergio Prez (Mex), Lance Stroll (Can)
Red Bull Pierre Gasly (Fr), Max Verstappen (Neth)
Renault Daniel Ricciardo (Aus), Nico Hlkenburg (Ger)
Toro Rosso Alexander Albon (Thai), Daniil Kvyat (Rus)
Williams George Russell (GB), Robert Kubica (Pol)

Photograph: Cyril Zingaro/KEYSTONE

Fastest lap bonus

Subject to ratification, for the first time since 1959 an extra point will be awarded for the fastest lap. The driver must finish in the top 10 and, with margins likely to be tight banging out, a hot run late on may become an attractive prospect. For the first 10 years of the world championship the fastest lap earned a point and it did make a difference. In 1958, Mike Hawthorn beat Stirling Moss to the title by a single point as he had posted two fastest laps more than Moss.

More overtaking

Wider, higher and simplified front and rear wings are designed to allow cars to race closer to one another, making overtaking easier but the jury is out on whether it works. Some teams say it has made no difference, others believe it has. It must also be considered that the issue of thermal degradation of tyres when following in a cars wake remains. Addressing overtaking is a key aim for F1. Its success or failure will be a major technical theme this season.

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Rubber rethink

Fans who have lost count of the number of types of tyre compounds being used and the myriad of colours employed to define them will take heart in the simplification of the rubber Pirelli takes racing. There will be three compounds at each race, called hard, medium and soft and coloured white, yellow and red. Yet Pirelli will still have five compounds to choose the trio from, designated as C1 (hardest) to C5 (softest), so it is not that straightforward.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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