As 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship scheduled to kick off in Melbourne on 17 March, we are hitting the exciting time of which F1 teams reveal their new cars. FIA has made aerodynamic changes for the new season to improve overtaking and create more competitive scenes. Even though these changes are not as drastic as last year’s halo safety device we are eager to see how each team works with the regulations. So far Haas, Toro Roso, Williams and Renault have unveiled their new race cars.
Haas was the first squad to unveil the 2019 design. The American team opted for a physically launch in London for the brand new livery on a 2018-spec show car, then released images of the new VF-19 on its website. Haas’ has switched the team’s colour palette due to its sponsor Rich Energy. They are a British energy drink who based their branding on the owner’s interest in the classic John Player Special black and gold livery. In the images we can see the simplified front wing and the taller, wider rear wing, reflecting the new FIA regulations, though the actual car won’t be seen by the public until next week. With a close partnership with Ferrari, Haas was at the fifth in the constructors’ championship last year. Not bad for a young team and we shall see if drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will help push Haas into the top four as targeted.
A closer technical cooperation can be expected between Toro Rosso and Red Bull as the latter is switching to Honda power unit in the coming season. The STR14 race car will also share gearbox, rear suspension, electronic and hydraulic components, and even some front suspension parts with its parent team. This means Toro Rosso could have a solid base preparing them to climb from being number nine in the constructors’ championship. The new car will be driven by the returning Russian driver Daniil Kvyat and rookie Alexander Albon. “As is always the case before the start of a season, it’s too early to say and we don’t want to set a specific target — at least not now,” team principal Franz Tost said, but commented the hardware plus the “strong young drivers” make him feel confident.
Williams didn’t had a bright season last year, having finished 10th and last in the 2018 constructors’ standings with just seven points. A new title sponsor – telecommunications company Rokit – has given the team a chance to start fresh with a brand new livery design in white, light blue and black, but the actual FW42 challenger will only make its debut during the testing in Barcelona next week. Returning driver Robert Kubica and 20-year-old F2 champion George Russell complete the brand new lineup and deputy team principal Claire Williams appears hopeful for this season. “We have gone through a lot of transformation over the last few months. This is next-gen Williams. George and Robert are really the essence of next-gen Williams.”
With Daniel Ricciardo joining from rival Red Bull and now pairing alongside Nico Hulkenberg, Renault is set to step up the game from its number four position in last year’s constructors’ standings, at least closing the gap to the top three. The yellow and black livery on the R.S.19 is similar to last year’s, but as team principal Cyril Abiteboul explained, “Engine excellency will be our priority in Viry while the structure now in place in Enstone strives to improve the competitiveness of the chassis, season after season.” We can expect Ricciardo would be a driving force, too. “I aim to be able to get the team to work that extra bit harder, put in more effort and rally everyone together. I’d like to be a catalyst for positive energy.”
Stay tuned for more F1 car launches on our next report.