The grid for the 2019 season is complete…with the one most obvious driver signing finally announced by Racing Point F1.
Three Formula 1 big-hitters were all in place early doors at the top of the grid, with Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton all extending their contracts with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes respectively.
Mercedes’ 2019 line-up was completed after confirmation came that Valtteri Bottas had extended his stay into a third year, which has been followed by the shock announcement that Daniel Ricciardo is off to Renault.
After months of speculation, Ferrari confirmed their full 2019 line-up on September 11 with Charles Leclerc making the huge step up from Sauber to the Scuderia. Kimi Raikkonen is not retiring and is instead heading back to Sauber, his first Formula 1 team, on a two-year deal.
Joining Raikkonen at Sauber is Ferrari development driver Antonio Giovinazzi with Marcus Ericsson demoted to reserve driver with the Swiss team.
That, in turn, paved the way for Pierre Gasly to take the vacant seat at Red Bull, which saw the return of Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso confirmed at the Russian Grand Prix.
Haas became only the second team, after Mercedes, to retain both of their drivers with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, who failed to score a point in the first eight races of the season, keeping their seats.
With Force India’s future saved by Stroll Senior, his son Lance Stroll will be with the team next year.
George Russell has taken on one of the seats at Williams…and his partner will be the one and only Robert Kubica,who has sealed a remarkable return to Formula 1 racing after being officially unveiled in Abu Dhabi.
Following the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Toro Rosso confirmed that Alexander Albon would be replacing Brendon Hartley at the Red Bull junior team for 2019.
The 2019 grid:
Lewis Hamilton: Contract with Mercedes until end of 2020
Valtteri Bottas: Deal for 2019 with an option for 2020
Sebastian Vettel: Contract with Ferrari until end of 2020
Charles Leclerc: Confirmed as Sebastian Vettel’s team-mate for 2019
Max Verstappen: Contract with Red Bull until the end of 2020
Pierre Gasly: Confirmed as Max Verstappen’s team-mate for 2019 season
Racing Point F1
Sergio Perez: Signed one-year extension with Force India
Lance Stroll: Long-term deal for the owner’s son
Carlos Sainz: Signed multi-year contract with McLaren
Lando Norris: Signed multi-year contract with McLaren
George Russell: Signed multi-year contract with Williams
Robert Kubica: Confirmed for 2019 season
Daniel Ricciardo: Signed with Renault for 2019 in a two-year deal
Nico Hulkenberg: Will partner Ricciardo in 2019
Alexander Albon: Confirmed for 2019
Daniil Kvyat: Returns to Toro Rosso for 2019
Romain Grosjean: Confirmed for 2019
Kevin Magnussen: Confirmed for 2019
Kimi Raikkonen: Rejoins Sauber on two-year deal
Antonio Giovinazzi: Confirmed for 2019