The Rest


Renault’s avowed 2019 target is to close the lap time deficit to the big three Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull while pulling away from the ‘Class B’ group behind. But that’s far from a given. Renault’s customer partner, for example, is McLaren. Not the force it once was, it retains formidable resource and is looking to bounce back from a deeply disappointing 2018 when an aerodynamic flaw was built into the car. It took half of last season for this to be identified but the hard points of the car’s design did not really allow a correction to be implemented. An interim technical team pending the arrival – probably in Bahrain – of new technical director James Key has overseen the MCL34, a neat-looking car that should regain some competitive respectability. It’s a team in a state of transition in terms of personnel – as joining Key will be the new racing director Andreas Seidl from Porsche, who will be effectively running the show from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards.

With heavy investment from the Fiat Chrysler group, Sauber has been fully rebranded as Alfa Romeo, with lots of co-operation from Scuderia Ferrari. The Alfa Romeo C38 is a highly original-looking device that, in the hands of veteran Kimi Räikkönen and almost-rookie Antonio Giovinazzi, has showed a promising turn of speed in testing. The team has a gifted technical group, a great wind tunnel and, in Frédéric Vasseur, a supremely able team boss.

Haas continues to operate its unique team model, with the help of Ferrari and Dallara, and last year produced probably the fastest car outside of the ‘Big 3’. It’s going to be tough to maintain such status given Renault’s heavy investment – but it has surprised before.

Racing Point (formerly Force India) no longer has to worry about where the next wing flap is coming from, given that it’s now properly financed thanks to Lawrence Stroll. The Andy Green-led technical group has worked miracles for years on very little. What can it do once released from penury?

Toro Rosso, as Red Bull’s junior team, has shown variable form over the years but should benefit from greater integration with the parent team, now that both are powered by Honda.

Williams got off to a difficult start with the late completion of its FW42, the car with which Robert Kubica is making his comeback. He’s faced tougher challenges than this, but…

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