The new Formula One season always prompts the start of new rivalries and new rules.
2019 is expected to be another thrilling season in the F1 calendar as various drivers have changed teams and are joined by a few fresh faces too as the final preparations before the season opener in Melbourne next Sunday get underway.
Sebastian Vettel will be keen to overturn his recent fortunes against Lewis Hamilton, while the reigning world champion is aiming for his sixth title overall and his fifth with Mercedes.
The significant regulation change for 2019 has been the weight issue concerning the drivers. The new rule states a driver’s weight will be considered separately from the car. The driver and the car seat now must weigh a minimum of 80 kilos [176 lbs].
Therefore, teams are obligated to add ballast inside the cockpit if the driver is too light.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has taken a different route.
The Brit has taken on a new, bulky look for the upcoming campaign with a bigger neck and upper body.
Hamilton has clearly spent much of the off-season in the gym but he has also confessed he was able to let his diet go as a result of the weight rule change.
During the pre-season testing at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, the 34-year-old said: “Over the winter and in the break, I could eat whatever I wanted, so pancakes and Cheetos, all that stuff. But I stayed very active.
“For the last month or so I have been pretty clean. My body fat is going down and you target more efficient defined muscle.
"I am not trying to be the Hulk. It takes time to put on muscle in the right way, but it has been great to eat bigger portions.”
He is officially listed in the Silver Arrows’ website weighing 150 pounds, as Hamilton claims to have added more than four pounds worth of muscle through various training regimes.
“I feel stronger than I've been in a long time," added the five-time world champion.
“I worked with different people a few days on and a few days off just to pick up new technique. I worked with a vegan trainer, who has been vegan his whole life and [is] a very ripped individual, and a couple of athletes.”
Team principal Toto Wolff was all in praise of his driver, concluded by saying: “Hamilton is stronger than before and in a super mental state; the best I have seen so far.”