Stage set for new F1 season: Meet the teams and drivers
Updated 15:27, 13-Mar-2019
Sports Scene

The tracks are ready, cars are tested and the drivers ready to get out of the paddock to drive on the fast lane as the new season of the Formula One is getting underway this week. As the quest for the checkered flag will kick off in Melbourne this weekend, CGTN Sports Scene takes a look at the 10 participating teams and their top drivers for the most exciting and entertaining racing competition in the world.

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas

Winner Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) poses for a selfie with second-placed teammate Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas after the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, July 16, 2017. /VCG Photo

Winner Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) poses for a selfie with second-placed teammate Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas after the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, July 16, 2017. /VCG Photo

Arguably one of the hot favorites in the new season, the team won their fifth consecutive constructors championship in 2018. 

With five-time driver's title winner and two-time defending champion Hamilton in their ranks, Mercedes is one of only two teams to retain the same line-up. His steady teammate Finland's Bottas will be hoping to match the paving of his illustrious teammate.

Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel & Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Sebastian Vettel (L) of Germany talk during day four of F1 Winter Testing, March 01, 2019. /VCG Photo

Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Sebastian Vettel (L) of Germany talk during day four of F1 Winter Testing, March 01, 2019. /VCG Photo

Monaco's Charles Leclerc has been roped in from Sauber to give company to Germany's four-time champion Vettel after having a breakthrough rookie season last year. Leclerc's arrival saw long-time Ferrari linchpin Kimi Raikkonen going the other way to rejoin a Sauber team, renamed as Alfa Romeo.

Red Bull: Max Verstappen & Pierre Gasly

Max Verstappen (L) of Netherlands and Pierre Gasly of France talk in the garage during Red Bull Racing filming day at Silverstone Circuit in Northampton, England, February 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

Max Verstappen (L) of Netherlands and Pierre Gasly of France talk in the garage during Red Bull Racing filming day at Silverstone Circuit in Northampton, England, February 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

Australian Daniel Ricciardo may have dumped Red Bull after having a stint for five years to join Renault but the team has got France's Gasly from Toro Rosso, who made his first Formula One start with the team in 2017. Gasly has now joined his old karting rival Verstappen as Red Bull is eying for more glories with "Mad Max".

Renault: Daniel Ricciardo & Nico Hulkenberg

Australian Daniel Ricciardo (L) and his German teammate Nico Hulkenberg pose for Renault, February 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

Australian Daniel Ricciardo (L) and his German teammate Nico Hulkenberg pose for Renault, February 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

Ricciardo's relocation to Renault was the biggest surprise switch over ahead of the new season and the seven-time race winner is hoping for a better season with his new car. Meanwhile, he will be in the steady company of dependable and experienced German driver Hulkenberg, who will have his third year with the team.

Haas: Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen (R) of Denmark and Romain Grosjean of France pose for Haas F1 Team during day one of F1 Winter Testing, February 18, 2019. /VCG Photo

Kevin Magnussen (R) of Denmark and Romain Grosjean of France pose for Haas F1 Team during day one of F1 Winter Testing, February 18, 2019. /VCG Photo

The American team has come a long way since their 2016 debut and is the only team except Mercedes who will stick with the same line-up as last year. They made quite a promise in 2018 after finishing fifth in the constructors' championship and with Grosjean and Magnussen are in their third season together. Haas is looking forward to carrying their momentum into the new season.

McLaren: Lando Norris & Carlos Sainz Jr

Lando Norris (L) of Great Britain talks to the media during the 2019 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test day, February 28, 2019. /VCG Photo 

Lando Norris (L) of Great Britain talks to the media during the 2019 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test day, February 28, 2019. /VCG Photo 

With veteran Fernando Alonso leaving them, the underperforming British team has hired Sainz Jr, the son of a double world rally champion, replacing him from Renault. They also let Stoffel Vandoorne go and brought in upcoming young British talent Lando to the paddock for his maiden season at the age of 19. 

Racing Point: Sergio Perez & Lance Stroll

Sergio Perez (R) and Lance Stroll arrive to unveil their team's new car livery at a pre-season launch event at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

Sergio Perez (R) and Lance Stroll arrive to unveil their team's new car livery at a pre-season launch event at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

Twenty-year-old Stroll shifted from Williams to the former Force India team now under new ownership. He had less than an impressive 2018 but he will now form a partnership with incumbent Perez, who has a podium finish (third) in Azerbaijan last year behind Hamilton and Raikkonen.

Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen & Antonio Giovinazzi

Kimi Raikkonen (L) of Finland and Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy unveil the Alfa Romeo Racing C38 Ferrari in the pitlane during day one of F1 Winter Testing in Montmelo, Spain, February 18, 2019. /VCG Photo

Kimi Raikkonen (L) of Finland and Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy unveil the Alfa Romeo Racing C38 Ferrari in the pitlane during day one of F1 Winter Testing in Montmelo, Spain, February 18, 2019. /VCG Photo

Raikkonen's arrival has brought huge experience to the team, earlier known as Sauber. The flamboyant Finn is joined by Ferrari academy graduate Giovinazzi.

Toro Rosso: Alexander Albon & Daniil Kvyat

Alexander Albon (R) of Thailand and Daniil Kvyat of Russia pose for Toro Rosso, November 27, 2018. /VCG Photo

Alexander Albon (R) of Thailand and Daniil Kvyat of Russia pose for Toro Rosso, November 27, 2018. /VCG Photo

Twenty-two-year-old Thai-British driver Albon has been promoted from Formula 2 after having four wins in 2019. He has replaced Brendon Hartley while Russian comeback kid Kvyat will start his third spell at Toro Rosso after being Ferrari's development driver last year.

Williams: George Russell & Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica of Poland prepares for F1 Winter Testing, February 27, 2019. /VCG Photo

Robert Kubica of Poland prepares for F1 Winter Testing, February 27, 2019. /VCG Photo

Robert Kubica's comeback has been the talk of the season as Pole Kubica made a return to Formula One after eight long years and suffering multiple injuries in a near-fatal rallying crash. He is joined by Britain's Formula 2 champion Russell.