Profiling the drivers who will make up the grid in formula 1 for 2016.
|Formula 1 2015|
|All you need to know about the teams|
Team: Mercedes Nationality: British Born: 07/01/85, Stevenage Grand prix debut: Australia, 2007 Previous team: McLaren Races: 167 World Championships: 3 (2008, 2014, 2015) Career wins: 43 Career pole positions: 49
Andrew Benson's assessment: Hamilton said he drove better than ever on his way to his third title - and it looked like it, too. Which is to say at a level very few have ever achieved. But what happened after that? His late-season dip raises questions that should not be there, given his results in the last two years and his phenomenal talent.
Team: Mercedes Nationality: German Born: 27/06/85, Wiesbaden Grand prix debut: Bahrain, 2006 Previous team: Williams Races: 185 Career wins: 14 Career pole positions: 22
Andrew Benson's assessment: Looking to bounce back after being crushed by Hamilton in 2015, and his contract up for renewal at the end of the season, Rosberg has it all to do. His team-mate would be a tough challenge for anyone, and as yet there is little evidence Rosberg has what it takes to consistently beat him, for all that he can be very impressive on his day.
|Most F1 seasons among active drivers|
|Jenson Button - 16|
|Fernando Alonso - 14|
|Kimi Raikkonen - 13|
|Felipe Massa - 13|
|Nico Rosberg - 10|
Team: Ferrari Nationality: German Born: 3/07/87, Heppenheim Grand prix debut: US, 2007 Previous teams: BMW-Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull Races: 158 World Championships: 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) Career wins: 42 Career pole positions: 46
Andrew Benson's assessment: An almost flawless season in 2015 rescued a reputation that had been badly dented by his final year at Red Bull. Quick and classy, not to mention amusing and likeable, his record can't be questioned. But has yet to prove he can mount a title challenge in a less-than-fully-competitive car, as Hamilton and Alonso have. Perhaps this is the year.
Team: Ferrari Nationality: Finnish Born: 17/10/79, Espoo Grand prix debut: Australia, 2001 Previous teams: Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus Races: 231 World Championships: 1 (2007) Career wins: 20 Career pole positions: 16
Andrew Benson's assessment: The monosyllabic former champion still has his supporters in F1, but they are increasingly few and far between. From time to time, Raikkonen was on - even ahead of - Vettel's pace last year. But by and large he was battered almost as badly as he was by Alonso the season before. Could well be his last season.
Team: Williams Nationality: Brazilian Born: 25/04/81, Sao Paulo Grand prix debut: Australia, 2002 Previous teams: Sauber, Ferrari Races: 229 Career wins: 11 Career pole positions: 16
Andrew Benson's assessment: Like a bouncy old labrador, the Brazilian continues to brighten F1 with his likeable enthusiasm and occasional daftness. Still very quick on his day, still too inconsistent to be a true top-liner. Same as it ever was.
Team: Williams Nationality: Finnish Born: 28/08/89, Nastola Grand prix debut: Australia, 2013 Races: 56 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: Bottas' reputation suffered a little in 2015. Team-mate Felipe Massa had the beating of him too often and that played a major part in Ferrari not following up initial interest. Improved in the second half of the year - perhaps the back injury in Australia affected him more than he allowed. Needs to carry later-season form on in 2016.
|Most wins among active drivers|
|Lewis Hamilton - 43|
|Sebastian Vettel - 42|
|Fernando Alonso - 32|
|Kimi Raikkonen - 20|
|Jenson Button - 15|
Team: Red Bull Nationality: Australian Born: 01/07/89, Perth Grand prix debut: Britain, 2011 Previous teams: HRT, Toro Rosso Races: 88 Career wins: 3 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: Had his wobbles through 2015, as he struggled to cope with the fact that there would be no repeat of his against-the-odds wins of the previous year. But, overall, the stellar quality seen in 2014 continued. Now firmly established among F1's absolute driver elite.
Team: Red Bull Nationality: Russian Born: 26/04/94, Ufa Grand prix debut: Australia, 2014 Previous teams: Toro Rosso Races: 37 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: Less convincing in reality than on-paper results suggest. Kvyat was ahead in the championship last year on reliability, but in reality team-mate Ricciardo was comfortably superior. With Max Verstappen in the wings, needs to up his game if he is to secure his future.
Team: Force India Nationality: German Born: 19/08/87, Emmerich am Rhein Grand prix debut: Bahrain, 2010 Previous teams: Williams, Force India, Sauber Races: 94 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 1
Andrew Benson's assessment: Once-glittering reputation has lost a bit of its lustre recently. Undoubtedly quick and a tough racer, but should by now have adapted more convincingly to the demands of Pirelli's sensitive tyres.
Team: Force India Nationality: Mexican Born: 26/01/90, Guadalajara Grand prix debut: Australia, 2011 Previous teams: Sauber, McLaren Races: 93 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: Increasingly solid and dependable, the Mexican's ace card in this era of deliberately fragile tyres is his sensitivity and feel for the rubber, the secret of nearly all his best results.
|Most world titles among active drivers|
|Sebastian Vettel - 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)|
|Lewis Hamilton - 3 (2008, 2014, 2015)|
|Fernando Alonso - 2 (2005, 2006)|
|Jenson Button - 1 (2009)|
|Kimi Raikkonen - 1 (2007)|
Team: Renault Nationality: Venezuelan Born: 10/03/85, Maracay Grand prix debut: Australia, 2011 Previous teams: Williams Races: 95 Career wins: 1 Career pole positions: 1
Andrew Benson's assessment: His presence in the team depends on his Venezuelan backers coughing up the money they are contractually bound to provide. If they do, expect another season of occasional pace and less-occasional accidents. If they don't, the promising Kevin Magnussen will be in the car.
Team: Renault Nationality: British Born: 20/07/1990, Horsham Grand prix debut: N/A Previous team: N/A Races: N/A Career wins: N/A Career pole positions: N/A
Andrew Benson's assessment: Britain's latest second-generation racer arrives in F1 with little fanfare and hype, but Palmer, a former GP2 champion, is no mug. Intelligence goes a long way, and Palmer has plenty of that. He's no slouch either. Expect a solid debut season.
Team: Toro Rosso Nationality: Dutch Born: 30/09/97, Hasselt, Belgium Grand prix debut: Australia, 2015 Races: 19 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: A star in the making. Hard to judge his absolute level with a rookie as his team-mate, but all the signs were there in a stellar debut season, especially his other-worldly overtaking moves. Can he avoid difficult-second-season syndrome, though?
Carlos Sainz Jr
Team: Toro Rosso Nationality: Spanish Born: 1/09/94, Madrid Grand prix debut: Australia, 2015 Races: 19 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: Overshadowed by team-mate Verstappen's headline-grabbing highlights in 2015, Sainz was in his own way every bit as impressive. A bright future awaits if he can build on that.
|2016 F1 drivers by nationality|
|Germany - 3 (Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Vettel)||France - 1 (Grosjean)|
|Great Britain - 3 (Button, Hamilton, Palmer)||Australia - 1 (Ricciardo)|
|Finland - 2 (Bottas, Raikkonen)||Netherlands - 1 (Verstappen)|
|Brazil - 2 (Nasr, Massa)||Russia - 1 (Kvyat)|
|Spain - 2 (Alonso, Sainz)||Sweden - 1 (Ericsson)|
|Mexico - 2 (Perez, Gutierrez)||Venezuela -1 (Maldonado)|
|*Manor are yet to confirm drivers for 2016|
Team: Sauber Nationality: Brazilian Born: 21/08/92, Brasilia Grand prix debut: Australia, 2015 Races: 18 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: Undoubtedly the more convincing of Sauber's drivers last year, Brazilian Nasr has real pace. Hard to judge his potential where he is, though.
Team: Sauber Nationality: Swedish Born: 02/09/90, Kumla Grand prix debut: Australia, 2014 Previous team: Caterham Races: 35 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: When he's not over-driving, the Swede can look pretty decent. Scant evidence so far, though, that he's much more than a journeyman.
Team: McLaren Nationality: Spanish Born: 29/07/81, Oviedo Grand prix debut: Australia, 2001 Previous teams: Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari Races: 253 World Championships: 2005, 2006 Career wins: 32 Career pole positions: 22
Andrew Benson's assessment: Even during McLaren-Honda's dismal 2015, Alonso's inherent quality shone through. His starts and first laps were consistently things of wonder. For the most part, though, arguably the greatest driver of his generation was wasted. It would be a sporting tragedy if that was the case again.
Team: McLaren Nationality: British Born: 19/01/80, Frome Grand prix debut: Australia, 2000 Previous teams: Williams, Benetton/Renault, BAR/Honda/Brawn Races: 284 World Championships: 1 (2009) Career wins: 15 Career pole positions: 8
Andrew Benson's assessment: After a bit of vacillation on both sides, Jenson Button finally earned another year at McLaren for this season. He remains one of the best drivers on the grid, well able to hold his own against Alonso. And, like Alonso, one hopes his talent is not wasted again in 2016.
Team: Haas Nationality: Franco-Swiss Born: 17/4/1986, Geneva, Switzerland Grand prix debut: Europe, 2009 Previous team: Renault/Lotus Races: 83 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment:The Franco-Swiss showed race-winning potential with Lotus in 2013 and has taken a big gamble in pledging his future to Haas rather than sticking with newly reborn Renault. On talent alone, he deserves it to pay off.
Team: Haas Nationality: Mexican Born: 5/8/1991, Monterrey Grand prix debut: Australia, 2013 Races: 38 Career wins: 0 Career pole positions: 0
Andrew Benson's assessment: After two unconvincing years at Sauber in 2013-14, and a season as Ferrari reserve driver, the Mexican's wealthy backers have bought him another chance to prove he deserves a seat in F1. The jury remains out.