SHOWS: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (MARCH 13, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
MERCEDES DRIVERS LEWIS HAMILTON, VALTTERI BOTTAS AND TEAM PRINCIPAL TOTO WOLFF BEING INTRODUCED TO THE CROWD 2.
CROWD TAKING PHOTOS 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MERCEDES FORMULA ONE DRIVER LEWIS HAMILTON, SAYING: "G'day.
Wow I did not expect to see so many people here.
So hi everyone.
Yeah I'm really lucky, I've had a break so I've got to do as many things that I've wanted to do and otherwise training, getting back and ready for the season, so it's going to be a long year.
But this turnout means it's probably going to be a good weekend." 4.
PEOPLE WEARING UNION JACK FLAG HATS 5.
VARIOUS OF FERRARI DRIVER SEBASTIAN VETTEL AND CHARLES LECLERC BEING INTRODUCED TO CROWD 6.
FERRARI FAN IN CROWD 7.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FERRARI FORMULA ONE DRIVER SEBASTIAN VETTEL, SAYING: "So far the spirit is right, the team is on track.
I think the car feels good, so let's see how we start here." 8.
ELECTRONIC BOARDS DISPLAYING FORMULA ONE LOGO 9.
FORMULA ONE DRIVERS TAKING GROUP SELFIE, CONFETTI RAINING DOWN ON CROWD 10.
CROWD LOOKING AT CONFETTI 11.
DRIVERS LEAVING STAGE BEHIND CONFETTI STORY: Formula One officially launched the 2019 season with a bang in Melbourne on Wednesday evening (March 13), with more than a thousand fans gathering to catch a glimpse of the teams and drivers.
All 20 drivers were introduced with their team principals on stage in Federation Square before signing autographs with fans.
The 21-race Formula One championship is already showing the hallmarks of a classic, with Ferrari setting the pace at pre-season testing at Barcelona.
Mercedes, seeking to become the first Formula One team to take six successive title doubles, will throw everything at Ferrari, who can afford none of the mistakes of last year.
The Australian Grand Prix takes place on Sunday (March 17).
(Production: James Redmayne)