Over the course of the next few weeks we will be providing a preview of the 2019 season covering the tracks, drivers and teams.
In this article we will be looking at the first five races of the upcoming Formula 1 season.
Round 1: Australia
Circuit: Albert Park, Melbourne
Date: 15th March – 17th March
Race Time: 5:10am UK time (4:10pm local time)
The Australian Grand Prix became a fixture on the Formula One calendar in 1985 and has been a feature ever since. The race was first held in Adelaide, but since 1996 it has been held at Albert Park in Melbourne.
The 5.3km street circuit has held its slot as the season opener (bar 2006 and 2010) and whilst the tight and twisty nature should limit overtaking opportunities, this is a Grand Prix that always provides a lot of action.
Most Driver Victories: Michael Schumacher- 4, Jenson Button- 3, Sebastien Vettel- 3
(NB: these are based on races only won at Melbourne)
Most Team Victories: Ferrari- 8, McLaren- 6, Mercedes- 3
In 2002 Ralf Schumacher had a spectacular crash with pole sitter Rubens Barrichello at turn one on the opening lap which saw 11 of the 22 cars retiring. Michael Schumacher won the race with debutant Mark Webber finishing 5th in the struggling Minardi.
Round 2: Bahrain
Circuit: Bahrain International Circuit
Date: 29th March – 31st March
Race Time: 4:10pm UK time (6:10pm local time)
The Bahrain Grand Prix has been on the calendar since 2004 and whilst it has always been held at the same circuit there have been a few changes over the years.
In 2010 the circuit was extended before reverting back to its original design in
2012. Furthermore, the race was initially held during the day but became the second night race, alongside Singapore, in 2014.
The long straights and medium to low speed corners mean the cars require good balance in order to be competitive.
Most Driver Victories: Sebastien Vettel- 4, Fernando Alonso- 3, Felipe Massa & Lewis Hamilton- 2
Most Team Victories: Ferrari- 6, Mercedes- 3, Renault & Red Bull- 2
2006 saw an incredible battle between Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. Alonso was nearly taken out of the race early on, almost crashing into a spinning Felipe Massa, however he carried on in pursuit of Schumacher right up to the second pit stops. At this point, Alonso rejoined the track side by side with Schumacher and the young Spaniard forced Schumacher out of the way and went on to take the win by 1.2 seconds. Kimi Raikkonen, who had started last, made his way up through the grid to finish third.
Round 3: China
Circuit: Shanghai International Circuit
Date: 12th April – 14th April
Race Time: 7:10am UK time (2:10pm local time)
There has been a race at Shanghai International Circuit every year since 2004. It’s iconic tight right handers at turns 1 & 2, later followed by a 1.2km straight at the back of the circuit makes this 5.45km track a real driver favourite and one that provides plenty of overtaking opportunities.
While the track is demanding, the weather can also be unpredictable, creating exciting racing and surprise results.
Most Driver Victories: Lewis Hamilton- 5, Fernando Alonso- 2, Nico Rosberg- 2
Most Team Victories: Mercedes- 5, Ferrari- 4, McLaren-3
2018 saw Daniel Ricciardo win an exciting race from 13th on the grid. Tyre strategies played a part in
the race along with a safety car period that allowed both Red Bull’s to attack the Ferrari’s and Mercedes’. Whilst Ricciardo displayed some great overtaking skills to win the race, his teammate Max Verstappen came into criticism for nearly hitting Hamilton whilst going around the outside of him at turn 7 followed by crashing into Vettel at turn 14, causing them both to spin.
Round 4: Azerbaijan
Circuit: Baku City Circuit
Date: 26th April – 28th April
Race Time: 1:10pm UK time (4:10pm local time)
A relatively new circuit, joining the calendar in 2016, this race was initially met with some scepticism. Many thought that it wouldn’t take off but this has turned out to be one of the lottery races of the season. Crashes and retirements are a certainty.
A typical tight and narrow street circuit, the 6km track takes drivers on a tour of both the old city and famous Azadliq Square.
Most Driver Victories: Nico Rosberg- 1, Daniel Ricciardo- 1, Lewis Hamilton- 1
Most Team Victories: Mercedes- 2, Red Bull- 1
2017 saw a chaotic race that was most notable for Sebastien Vettel deliberately crashing in to Lewis Hamilton under the safety car. Daniel Ricciardo won the race with Bottas, who had been a lap down and last after the first few laps, taking second. Lance Stroll finished third after being pipped to second by Bottas on the finish line.
Round 5: Spain
Circuit: Circuit de Catalunya
Date: 10th May – 12th May
Race Time: 2:10pm UK time (3:10pm local time)
The Circuit de Catalunya is one of the most used F1 tracks, hosting pre-season testing every year.
The track features a number of low to medium speed corners which really tests the aerodynamic efficiency of the cars.
F1 has been visiting the circuit every year since 1991 and is seen as the true start to the European leg of the season.
Most Driver Victories: Michael Schumacher- 6, Mika Hakkinen- 3, Lewis Hamilton- 3
Most Team Victories: Ferrari- 8, Williams- 5, McLaren & Mercedes- 4
2012 saw a surprise winner in Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan managed to put his Williams on pole after Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying and had an out and out fight against Fernando Alonso in the superior Ferrari and came out on top. This gave Williams their first victory since 2004 and their last win to date.
Join us again in the next few days for the next leg of the 2019 season. Don’t forget you can keep up to date with all these races at overtakemotorsport.com