The time has come! The 2019 Formula 1 season is upon us, and things are looking great for Australia.
It is almost time for the first race of the season in Australia. The first practice is scheduled for March 14th while FP2 and FP3 are scheduled on March 15th. Qualifying will be done on March 16 while fans can enjoying the race on March 17th at 1 am eastern time.
Many new things are happening in the 2019 season, so let’s take a deep dive into the new season and find out what we should be looking for.
1. New Rules and Regulations
In 2019, Formula 1 will be having new rules to promote better racing.
First off, the front wing will be more simplified. The reasoning behind this is because of the damaging wake to following cars. With a more simple front wing, F1 is hoping for a chance to let the following cars have a chance at overtaking. Along with this is the deletion of brake aero ducts.
The rear wings will be much deeper, taller and wider to prevent heavy drag. With this change teams are hoping to have a bigger effect on DRS.
A new rule has also been approved to give the fastest lap time “1” championship point.
2. The Rookies
2019 will bring three rookies and three drivers that were previously cut, back onto teams. Those three drivers that are returning are, Robert Kubica (Williams), Daniil Kvyat (Torro Russo) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo). Kubica will be making a return following his absence in the sport after a devastating crash. Meanwhile, Kvyat had a Ferrari developmental role last year and therefore has earned another job in the red bull Torro Russo. Giovinazzi has been a reserve driver for Sauber for a while, and now he gets his chance at the main job.
George Russell may be the biggest name in the rookie category. Russell finished first in last year F2 championship over Lando Norris. Unfortunately, George is on the worst team on the grid this year. Hopefully, he can have a decent season.
Lando Norris is the next biggest rookie. He finished 2nd in F2 last year and has been a developmental driver and reserve driver for McLaren. The team believes they have a good car this year. Lando will have some expectations because of this, but don’t expect him to come out of the gates and be the Charles Leclerc of last year.
Finally, Alexander Albon is the most slept on the rookie this year. He doesn’t have much experience at a high level but has plenty of promise. He will be joining Daniil Kvyat this year in the Torro Rosso. Last year the team had two rookies, and one of them went on to finish 4th in Bahrain (Pierre Gasly). Albon has speed, but can he harness it in the Torro Russo?
My prediction for rookie of the year will be Lando Norris. Lando probably has the best car out of the 3, and I’ve been a fanboy of him for a while.
3. New Faces in New Places
Only two driver lineups stayed the same; Mercedes and Rich Energy Haas. All others have had at least one new driver.
Ferrari will be bringing in 2018 rookie of the year Charles Leclerc. Leclerc had a monster rookie season considering he was in the Sauber. Can he get a win in Ferrari? Can he snatch a few podiums?
Red Bull bring in last years Torro Russo rookie Piere Gasly. Pierre is not on the same level as Verstappen, but many believe he can bring in a surprise victory and join the podium multiple times this year. It will certainly be fun watching last years rookies win some races…hopefully.
Renault welcome Daniel Ricciardo. After many long years with Red Bull, Daniel has switched to Reno. Some people expect Ricciardo to top Hulkenberg in races this year. With Ricciardo joining the black and yellow, can he get a podium finish?
Lance stroll will be driving for Racing Point this year, following the buy out of the company from his dad Lawrence Stroll. This will be the deciding factor for Stroll’s career. Is he a capable Formula One driver?
Last but not least, US GP winner Kimi Raikkonen will be driving for Alfa Romeo. Alfa took big steps last year, can they continue that and be best of the rest with Kimi in the cockpit?
4.Ferrari or Mercedes?
Every year Ferrari starts off better than Mercedes, but throughout the year Mercedes bring better upgrades and win the constructors championship. Many believe that this is the year for Ferrari to take that final step and bring home the championship. This is completely possible, yet the team may have a step down because of the loss of Kimi Raikkonen. Charles Leclerc will have to outperform Valterri Bottas. Vettel is also known for being emotional during races causing him to make uncalled for moves. For example, last year in Italy he dived for a position…didn’t work.
Not everything is pretty for Mercedes though. This year in testing, Mercedes have said multiple times that Ferrari has the faster car. They may be behind now but Lewis Hamilton is a fantastic driver, and they may find their way back to the top very quickly.
5. New Engine For Red Bull
This year Red Bull will be using the Honda engine. After winning a championship with the Renault engine many seasons ago, the breakup has come.
Torro Russo is their developmental team and took on the Honda engine last year. Honda took major steps last year and even got a 4th place finish in Bahrain. Red Bull have now switched the Honda engine which is believed to be faster than the Renault.
There is a lot of praise and hope for the team since they have the best aerodynamics and chassis. If the engine can compete with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, then Red Bull can win the championship. It is too early to win now, but there is a lot of hope for the future.
That’s all for now! The season is long, and a lot will change. Let’s hope for a fun season; it all starts in Australia!