The new Formula One season kicks off in Australia this week, with Lewis Hamilton chasing a sixth drivers' championship.

Here we run through the key changes, driver line-ups, dates for your diary and the best Opta facts ahead of lights out at Albert Park.

 

 

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Artwork shows overhead view of of all the teams’ cars on the grid for the Formula One 2018 World Championship.

 

THE DRIVERS

Mercedes 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN)

Ferrari 
Sebastian Vettel (GER)
Charles Leclerc (MON)

Red Bull 
Max Verstappen (NED)
Pierre Gasly (FRA)

Renault  
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)
Nico Hulkenberg (GER)

Haas  
Romain Grosjean (FRA)
Kevin Magnussen (DEN)

McLaren  
Carlos Sainz (ESP)
Lando Norris (GBR)

Racing Point  
Sergio Perez (MEX)
Lance Stroll (CAN)

Alfa Romeo 
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN)
Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA)

Toro Rosso   
Daniil Kvyat (RUS)
Alexander Albon (THA)

Williams 
Robert Kubica (POL)
George Russell (GBR)

 

 

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Mercedes (2014-2018) is one title away from equalling Ferrari (1999-2004) as the team with the most back-to-back F1 constructors' titles (six).

- If Mercedes GP wins 13 races in 2019, it will become the fourth team to reach 100 wins in F1.

- Sebastian Vettel has reached the podium at 24 of the 26 different grands prix he has raced (only missing out in France and Azerbaijan). If he makes the podium at those two races this year, the German will be the driver with the most podiums in different grands prix in F1 alongside Kimi Raikkonen (26).

- If Kimi Raikkonen (292) races all the grands prix this season, the Finn will surpass Fernando Alonso (312) as the driver to have raced the second most races in F1 history behind only Rubens Barrichello (323).

- Red Bull's Max Verstappen recorded 11 podiums in 2018, as many as in his whole F1 career before that.

 

Fascinating facts to get you ready for this week's season opener in Melbourne:

408  - Hamilton heads into 2019 after recording 408 points last season, more than any other driver in an F1 campaign

1,000  - Daniel Ricciardo (986) and Valtteri Bottas (963) are 14 and 37 points respectively away from being the 10th driver to reach 1000 points in F1 history.

156  - No driver in Formula 1 history has driven more races without reaching the podium than Nico Hulkenberg (156).

1  - The only Polish driver to have raced and won in F1, Robert Kubica, will return after nine years.

2  - Alexander Albon will be the second Thai driver in F1, after Prince Bira, who earned eight points between 1950 and 1954.