Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement means the forthcoming Formula One campaign will be contested without its reigning champion for the first time since 1994.
The grid has also shrunk to just 10 teams after cash-strapped Manor were forced out of business.
Here, we take a closer look at the 20 drivers who will line up for the season-opener in Melbourne on March 26.
MercedesLewis Hamilton (Gbr)
Car:44Age: 32Starts: 188Wins: 53Championships: 3 (2008, 2014, 2015)Valtteri Bottas (Fin)
Car:77Age: 27Starts: 77Wins: 0
Mercedes have dominated the sport for the last three years, winning 51 of the last 59 races, en route to claiming a hat-trick of consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships. But the Brackley-based outfit will head into the new campaign with an untested line-up. Former Williams driver Bottas, yet to win in F1, teams up with triple world champion Hamilton following Rosberg’s decision to retire just five days after he won the title in Abu Dhabi.
Red BullDaniel Ricciardo (Aus)
Car:3Age: 27Starts: 109Wins: 4Max Verstappen (Ned)
Car:33Age: 19Starts: 40Wins: 1
Red Bull boast arguably the best line-up in the sport. Ricciardo, the smiley Australian, turned in a string of impressive performances last season to finish behind only Rosberg and Hamilton in the championship while 19-year-old Verstappen won on his Red Bull debut in Spain and then delivered a performance for the ages with his display in the wet at Brazil.
FerrariSebastian Vettel (Ger)
Car:5Age: 29Starts: 178Wins: 42Championships: 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)Kimi Raikkonen (Fin)
Car:7Age: 37Starts: 252Wins: 20Championships: 1 (2007)
Ferrari finished a distant third last year after they failed to register a single victory. There appeared to be mass disharmony within the Italian camp but a strong pre-season will give them enormous hope heading into the new campaign. Will they be able to deliver when it really matters however and take the challenge to Mercedes this year?
Force IndiaSergio Perez (Mex)
Car:11Age: 27Starts: 114Wins: 0Esteban Ocon (Fra)
Car:31Age: 20Starts: 9Wins: 0
Force India have it all to do to replicate their successes of last season after they exceeded all expectations to finish a fantastic fourth in the constructors’ championship. Ocon, who made his debut for the now defunct Manor team midway through last year, joins Perez after Nico Hulkenberg left to join Renault.
WilliamsFelipe Massa (Bra)
Car:19Age: 35Starts: 250Wins: 11Lance Stroll (Can)
Car:18Age: 18Starts: 0
Massa was called out of his short-lived retirement following Bottas’ switch to Mercedes. The veteran Brazilian is joined by rookie Lance Stroll, who, at just 18, will become the second youngest driver to start a Formula One race when the lights go out in Melbourne. Williams endured a largely disappointing 2016 but will be buoyed by their promising performances in testing.
McLarenFernando Alonso (Spa)
Car:14Age: 35Starts: 273Wins: 32Championships: 2 (2005, 2006)Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel)
Car:2Age: 24Starts: 1Wins: 0
McLaren are in crisis following a desperately poor pre-season plagued by an unreliable and slow Honda engine. Alonso, who is out of contract with McLaren at the end of the year, has already voiced his criticism of the Japanese manufacturer in what is set to be another deeply frustrating season for the double world champion. Belgian Vandoorne partners Alonso after he was hired to replace Jenson Button.
Toro RossoDaniil Kvyat (Rus)
Car:26Age: 22Starts: 57Wins: 0Carlos Sainz (Spa)
Car:55Age: 22Starts: 40Wins: 0
Red Bull’s sister team will be powered by Renault in 2017 after using Ferrari engines last term. Russian driver Kvyat was sent back to Toro Rosso after just four races of last year following Red Bull’s decision to promote Verstappen. Kvyat struggled on his return to the team but has been retained for another year with Sainz, the talented Spaniard, occupying the other seat.
HaasRomain Grosjean (Fra)
Car:8Age: 30Starts: 102Wins: 0Kevin Magnussen (Den)
Car:20Age: 24Starts: 40Wins: 0
The American team are set for their second season in the sport after making their debut last year. Their campaign started encouragingly but tailed off as the year wore on. Danish driver Magnussen, formerly of Renault, replaces Esteban Gutierrez for 2017.
RenaultNico Hulkenberg (Ger)
Car:27Age: 29Starts: 115Wins: 0Jolyon Palmer (Gbr)
Car:30Age: 26Starts: 20Wins: 0
Renault will be expecting to take significant strides this season after they endured a largely disappointing first year back in the sport as a standalone constructor. British driver Palmer, who is retained for a second campaign, will team up with former Le Mans winner Hulkenberg.
SauberMarcus Ericsson (Swe)
Car:9Age: 26Starts: 56Wins: 0Pascal Wehrlein (Ger)
Car:94Age: 22Starts: 21Wins: 0
Wehrlein, a member of the Mercedes young driver programme, has had to make do with a seat at Sauber after he was overlooked for the vacant drive alongside Hamilton following Rosberg’s retirement. He teams up with the heavily-sponsored but largely unimpressive Ericsson.