2016 Formula One team guides: Who is who, and who is new?

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Ahead of the new Formula One season, which begins March 20 with the Australian Grand Prix, here is a look at the 11 teams that will be competing and what can be expected from them in the coming 21 races.


Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (Britain) and Nico Rosberg (Germany)

What they did in 2015

Second successive season of domination as they won 16 of the 19 races, claiming pole position 18 times, and both championships were retained, with Hamilton winning the drivers’ title for a third time with three races to spare in the United States.

What to expect this time

Strong favourites to do the championship double again, with Ferrari likely to be the only team who can pressure them. The main question is whether Rosberg’s late renaissance of winning the last three races of 2015 was the start of something more substantial for the German, or if Hamilton will reassert his authority and win a fourth drivers’ crown.


Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Germany) and Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)

What they did in 2015

After their first winless season in 21 years in 2014, Ferrari returned to being a front-runner as Vettel won three times. While not a match for Mercedes, Ferrari, at least with Vettel behind the wheel, were best of the rest,

What to expect this time

Ferrari will be hoping to have taken a step up in performance to be in a position to push Mercedes harder in races, and not just have to rely on mistakes from the German marque to prevail. Vettel is good enough to capitalise on any victory chances that come his way, but after two poor seasons Raikkonen must raise his game considerably.


Drivers: Valtteri Bottas (Finland) and Felipe Massa (Brazil)

What they did in 2015

Finished third in the constructors’ championship for a second year in a row, but only scored four podiums compared to nine in 2014 as they struggled to match either Mercedes or Ferrari for raw pace.

What to expect this time

The power of the Mercedes engine at their disposal will always make them a threat, but unless Williams’s technical team have improved the aerodynamic performance with the new FW38 chassis their hunt for a first win since May 2012 is going to stretch on. This is a big year for Bottas, who must consistently beat Massa this year if he is to be considered as a potential prospect by Mercedes or Ferrari.

Red Bull Racing

Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) and Daniil Kvyat (Russia)

What they did in 2015

Improved as season went on, but despite having one of the best cars on the grid in terms of aerodynamic performance, the lack of horsepower in the much maligned Renault engine ensured they were doomed to going a season without a win for the first time since 2008.

What to expect this time

Still stuck with Renault power, albeit rebadged under the name of new sponsors TAG Heuer, Red Bull are facing being limited again on power tracks. The duel between Ricciardo and Kvyat should be fascinating, and they will hope for more wet races in 2016 to highlight the impressive mechanical grip of their car.

Force India

Drivers: Sergio Perez (Mexico) and Nico Hulkenberg (Germany)

What they did in 2015

Were one of the form teams in the second half of the season as developments to the VJMO8 chassis transformed the performance, particularly for Sergio Perez, who finished in the top five in five of the last nine races of the season.

What to expect this time

Like Williams, the Mercedes engine will always make them a player on power tracks. If they can keep up momentum from end of 2015 then could be fighting with Williams and Red Bull, while Hulkenberg needs a strong year after being out-performed by Perez for much of the second half of last year.


Drivers: Jolyon Palmer (Britain) and Kevin Magnussen (Denmark)

What they did in 2015

Did well to get 78 points under the Lotus name, while struggling with financial problems off the track, which would lead at the end of the season to the team being taken over by Renault.

What to expect this time

Given their development of the 2016 car was hurt by their depleted finances, and having lost their best driver in Romain Grosjean to Haas F1, and they will use Renault power now rather than the proven Mercedes units, the signs really are not good. Throw in two young drivers in Palmer and Magnussen and this could be a very rough year.

Toro Rosso

Drivers: Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) and Max Verstappen (Netherlands)

What they did in 2015

While they were frustrated by reliability issues, the team picked up 20 top-10 finishes between their young driver pairing, and Verstappen’s fourth-place finishes in Hungary and the United States were two of the drives of the season.

What to expect this time

Using 2015-spec Ferrari engines, compared to the Renault units they used in 2015, should give them better power, but the late completion of their car, due to having to wait to find out what engine they would have, may hurt them in the opening races. Verstappen was the breakout star of 2015, his challenge is to improve on that, while Sainz looks to come out from under his teammate’s shadow.


Drivers: Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) and Felipe Nasr (Brazil)

What they did in 2015

Improved on an awful 2014, in which they scored no points, and, given their financial limitations, two top six finishes, both achieved by Nasr, made for an encouraging year.

What to expect this time

Will be hard for them to replicate 2015, given they are still low on funds, and a lot of their success was achieved thanks to other teams under-performing, and that is unlikely to happen again. Nasr was impressive in 2015 and will look to shine when opportunities present themselves again, while Ericsson must do better after struggling compared to his rookie teammate last year.


Drivers: Fernando Alonso (Spain and Jenson Button (Britain)

What they did in 2015

Had one of the worst seasons in the team’s history as the wretched Honda engine ruined any hopes of being competitive, and they were flattered by their final haul of 27 points, with 12 of them coming in the attritional Hungarian Grand Prix.

What to expect this time

Well, it would be hard to expect it to be worse than 2015. With a year’s experience under their belt with the new regulations, Honda should have a faster, and more reliable, power unit. Given their car performed well on tracks in 2015 where good horsepower was not vital, Alonso and Button can expect to be back in the midfield fight, but only if Honda have raised their game.

Manor Racing

Drivers: Pascal Wehrlein (Germany), Rio Haryanto (Indonesia)

What they did in 2015

No points, but given they only came out of liquidation in February, the fact they made it to all 20 races, even if they did not leave the garage in Australia, was a tremendous achievement,

What to expect this time

Having Mercedes engines will improve them, and they have made changes in their management and technical department. Will still be likely at the back of the grid, but Wehrlein is highly regarded by Mercedes, and could be in a position to cause a surprise or two.

Haas F1

Drivers: Romain Grosjean (France), Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico)

New team for 2015

What to expect

Gene Haas’s team have had plenty of support from Ferrari in coming to the grid, and they should hit the ground running. Both Grosjean and Gutierrez are proven drivers, with Grosjean hoping this could be a stepping stone to a move to Ferrari for 2017, and some regular points finishes should not be beyond the team in their debut season if they can overcome reliability problems that reared their head in testing.


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