What’s new: Star signing Daniel Ricciardo dominates the attention having left Red Bull this winter, while behind the scenes Renault continues to expand both its engine and team bases. Renault also concentrates its efforts on just its works outfit and customer squad McLaren with Red Bull splitting for Honda power this winter.

How testing went: A relatively anonymous early showing at pre-season testing made it tricky to nail down Renault’s place in the pecking order, but with flashes of pace trying out Pirelli’s softer compounds in the closing days in Barcelona shows the French manufacturer remains a touch off last year’s front three but should have an edge on the rest.

2019 objective: Reaching the podium will be high on the to do list for Renault, while consolidating its front of the midfield status. Renault’s long-term plan sees them bridging the gap sooner rather than later, but time will tell if that’s possible in 2019.

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What’s new: Where to start? A brand-new driver line-up of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris, the latter making his Formula 1 debut this year, along with new management personnel. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has brought in Andreas Seidl from Porsche as managing director and James Key from Toro Rosso as technical director to work alongside Gil de Ferran who was named sporting director midway through last year.

How testing went: A firm base to build upon, awaiting the arrival of Seidl and Key who contractually can’t join up with the team yet, which allowed both Sainz and Norris to become familiar in their new surroundings and with their new responsibilities. The team did notch up some eye-catching times but appears to be firmly in the midfield fight once a clearer picture on every team’s pace was revealed. A significant part of its testing programme was apportioned to curing its 2018 F1 car flaws which saw the team go backwards as the year progressed last season.

2019 objective: Climbing up the F1 midfield with quicker progress than over the previous 12 months. McLaren’s new Renault partnership had a false dawn at last year’s season-opener as the team failed to better its results for the rest of the campaign. Patience could be required with rookie Norris getting up to speed, while Sainz also adjusts to life at the Woking-based team and his new role as team leader. Fernando Alonso waits in the wings to offer support in his ambassador/test driver role.


What’s new: Another team with an all-new driver line-up for 2019 with Robert Kubica gaining promotion from third and reserve driver to frontline race driver while Formula 2 champion George Russell makes his F1 debut with the team. A new title sponsor also jumps on board in ROKiT following the departure of Martini.

How testing went: Nothing short of a disaster after cancelling a filming shakedown run and missing the opening two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing due to delays in its car build. When its FW42 did hit the track, running was consistent but considerably off the pace of the rest of the F1 field pointing towards Williams being at the back of the grid for a second consecutive season. After testing it was announced technical head Paddy Lowe, who faced a grilling from the media during testing, has taken an unspecified leave of absence from the team.

2019 objectives: Pulling itself off the bottom of the F1 pile will be the number one priority but it appears the former world champions are struggling to keep pace technically and commercially in modern times. Getting its FW42 up to speed in the hands of Russell, a rookie, and Kubica, returning to F1 racing after nine years away, will be target number one before hopes of climbing the intensely competitive grid.



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