Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

What’s new in 2019: Your guide to 70th world championship season

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

A new year is here and the first test of the 2019 F1 season is just 48 days away. Here’s what’s new for the 70th running of the world championship.

The F1 drivers, teams and engines for 2019

After a season of remarkable upheaval, more than half the seats in the field are occupied by different drivers. Just two teams go into 2019 with the same two race drivers as last year: Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas) and Haas (Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen).

Among the biggest changes are Charles Leclerc’s promotion to Ferrari. With just one full season in Formula 1 to his name, he is the Scuderia’s least experienced new driver since Gianni Morbidelli substituted for Alain Prost 28 years ago. Kimi Raikkonen has moved in the opposite direction, returning to Sauber 18 years on from his F1 debut with the team, a fascinating move which promises midfield giant-killing feats.

Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from Red Bull to Renault was the shock of last year – will the French manufacturer finally produce a car which can challenge for podiums? Meanwhile Pierre Gasly – with little more F1 experience than Leclerc – steps into Ricciardo’s place.

Six new names feature on the grid: Robert Kubica, Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat return (at Williams, Sauber and Toro Rosso respectively), while Lando Norris, George Russell and Alexander Albon make their debuts (for McLaren, Williams and Toro Rosso respectively).

Among the teams, Red Bull has ditched Renault power units for Hondas, leaving McLaren as Renault’s only customer team. Since its change of ownership, Force India has been rebranded as Racing Point, but they are considering a further change of name before the season begins.

The calendar: 21 F1 races for 2019

The new season features the same 21 races as last year. There are a few minor tweaks to the schedule: it starts a week earlier and ends a week later – for the first time since 1963 a race will take place in December, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Round four of the 2019 F1 season will be particularly special: The milestone one thousandth world championship race will be marked at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Get the 2019 F1 calendar on your mobile device

Don’t miss any of this year’s action – get all of this year’s race dates on your preferred calendar format. This will be updated with the times of each session, and all the teams’ car launch and other pre-season event details:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

The new F1 rules for 2019

Nicholas Latifi, Force India, Hungaroring, 2018
Front wings will be wider this year
The latest breed of F1 cars will have a different look as new regulations allow for wider – but simpler – front wings. The hope is this will allow cars to run closer together and promote better racing, but there is some debate over how much difference it is likely to make.

The cars will look different at the back as well. Cars will have to carry rearward-facing lights to aid visibility.

In an attempt to reduce the disadvantage faced by F1’s taller drivers, from this season all competitors will have to meet a minimum weight of 80 kilograms including their seats and racing equipment. Again this is not expected to dramatically affect the competitive orders, but is good news for taller (and therefore heavier) drivers such as Nico Hulkenberg.

The rules have also been tweaked to encourage more drivers to set lap times in qualifying sessions when they have grid penalties, Furthermore, teams will also find it harder to exploit oil-burning engine systems to gain a performance boost for single flying laps, a change which could make their reputed ‘Q3 boost’ systems less powerful.

Drivers will have more fuel available in the races, however, as the maximum fuel allowed per race has increased from 105kg to 110kg.

Show who you’re supporting in 2019

Who are your favourite F1 drivers at the moment? Who will you be supporting this year?

Here’s how you can show who you’re supporting on RaceFans – including newcomers Norris, Russell and Albon:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2018 F1 seasonTags

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 16 comments on “What’s new in 2019: Your guide to 70th world championship season”

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      1st January 2019, 15:20

      Does the 7000 race calculation include the Indy 500 races from the 1950’s

      1. Jonathan Parkin, yes, I believe that what they mean is that the Chinese Grand Prix will be the 1000 Grand Prix that has taken place which officially counted towards the World Drivers Championship.

        It is a tricky topic to sort out, as the number of races which count towards the World Drivers Championship and the number of Formula 1 races that have taken place differ by some margin, and I believe that there are a few different estimates for the latter.

        For example, in 1952 and 1953, the World Drivers Championship ran to Formula 2 regulations instead – but there were non-championship races, such as the Ulster Trophy, taking place at the same time which continued to run to Formula 1 regulations, so a World Drivers Championship wasn’t always synonymous with a Formula 1 race.

        Basically, the number of races which counted towards the World Drivers Championship, by including the Indy 500, is higher than the number of Grand Prix which were officially sanctioned by the member clubs of the FIA, which in turn is higher than the number of races held to Formula 1 regulations which officially counted for the World Drivers Championship.

        1. Wow, impressive answer. Kudos to you!
          And once again, with comments as good as this one, you HAVE TO get yourself an account XDDD

    2. A strange coincidence that all 3 new drivers are British (or at least part), hopefully it increases the popularity of F1 here in the next few years if they do well.

      1. It no doubt will help popularity to some degree, but the main barrier towards viewing figures in what has always been an F1 stronghold is Sky TV’s subscription model preventing tens of millions of casual fans from tuning in. 2019 will be even worse, with only the British GP on free-to-air Channel 4.

    3. I wonder when was the last time (if ever) that a driver competed for one team in 3 different stints like Kvyat is about to do.

      1. @fer-no65 if we consider team successions, these two occasions come to my mind:
        – Nick Heidfeld and Sauber/BMW: 1. 2002-03, 2. 2005-09, 3. 2010
        – Giancarlo Fisichella and Jordan/Force India: 1. 1997, 2. 2002-03, 3. 2008-09

    4. What a coincidence that the 1000th race of F1 falls into the 70th championship season of the series, perhaps it was destined to happen in the first place, and BTW, I think you meant round ‘three’ rather than round four.

    5. It’s a disgrace the 1000th Formula 1 race will be held in China. It should’ve been Silverstone (or Monza, Suzuka, Spa,…). There was a poll on F1 Fan Voice to ask fans what they wanted to see for this historic race, including location, activities during the weekend, etc. but I guess Liberty prefers to listen to $$$ than to their fans. How naive was I to believe they were going to be better than Bernie…

      1. To be fair to all parties involved, there were discussions to have Silverstone moved to the third race, between all parties, and the contractual obligations could not be re-aligned. Thus, it is not as if they didn’t try. I would have preferred Monza.

        1. @paulheppler, as David notes below, there was also the fact that the climate in the UK in early April can be very cold and wet – indeed, there have even been occasional snow showers recorded in mid-April, which is not exactly what you’d want during a race.

          As I understand it, the weather conditions around Spa aren’t exactly that much better than the UK – the average daily temperature is barely 7ºC – and even Monza isn’t that warm at that time of the year, with April tending to be one of the wetter times of the year as well.

          From a purely practical point of view, if you actually ran a race at that time of year at most of those historic venues, it would probably make for a fairly wretched experience for the people at the circuit.

      2. The two issues are a) how many venues have fairly ironclad contracts holding them to certain times of year, like Monaco being connected to Ascension Day, as I understand, and b) the weather. Silverstone in April could be incredibly nippy…hell, I was at the Shanghai race in 2017 and it was freezing, and this city has palm trees. Moving it to Monza means you’re jetting out to Bahrain, then west to Italy, then all the way back to China, then back to Azerbaijan…

        And remember, had the German GP not been canceled entirely in 2015, we’d be celebrating it in Bahrain…

        Really, it’s Bernie’s fault…had he gotten the New Jersey GP off the ground, we could have celebrated it in Abu Dhabi in 2018! That would have been fantastic!!!!111!!!

    6. It’s been quite a while since there was such a big change to the driver line up and I can’t recall seeing so many inexperienced drivers in a field.

      That more than anything else should provide some interest at the start of the season, although I expect to see quite a bit of flying carbon fibre initially while they learn that it’s not F2.

    7. Even the veterans may shed some carbon (Romain?) getting used to the wider nose and different handling. Closing speeds may also catch some out.
      Going to be an interesting first few rounds.

      1. Agreed and Ricciardo might as well be in the mix: I don’t think his usual last moment outbreaking of opponents might work in the Renault, because it will handle much different (less stable) then the RedBull and because he will be in a much closer midfield pack.

    8. I will be interested in the changes to he cars after the first round of testing. I am curious if the front wing chnage will catch anybody out?

    Comments are closed.