Four prominent names in the sport disappeared for this season, with Minardi, Sauber, BAR and Jordan withdrawing, and one new team, Super Aguri entered at the last moment. The Sauber name remained, although largely as a sentiment, as BMW owned 80% of the team to Peter Sauber's 20%. Jordan became MF1 Racing, as Midland started afresh after a disappointing first season under the Jordan name. Late in the season, the team was bought by Spyker. Honda, who already owned a 45% stake in the BAR team, completed their takeover of the team and changed its name to Honda Racing F1 Team at the start of the season. Super Aguri F1 also entered their first season after having problems entering. They received backing from Honda Racing F1 including technology and engines, due to them running Honda driver Takuma Sato.
Williams introduced numerous changes for 2006, particularly changing to CosworthV8 engines after they and BMW split. Red Bull Racing (RBR) had Ferrari engines, replacing the Cosworth power which gained them seventh in the standings in 2005. Williams and Toyota changed tyre suppliers to Bridgestone, due to Michelin's desire to supply fewer teams in the championship. Despite this Toro Rosso who under the Minardi name ran Bridgestone tyres switched to Michelin in line with parent team RBR.
Sakon Yamamoto and Franck Montagny switched places at Super Aguri from the German Grand Prix onwards.
Robert Kubica replaced Jacques Villeneuve at the Hungarian Grand Prix, possibly due to Villeneuve's injuries after a heavy crash in the German Grand Prix. On the day after the Hungarian GP (7 August 2006), BMW Sauber announced that Villeneuve left the team with immediate effect, with Kubica replacing him for the remainder of the season.
German Formula 3 driver Sebastian Vettel became BMW Sauber's third driver from Turkey onwards, replacing Kubica who was promoted to a full-time race driver.
In the 2006 Formula One calendar the Australian Grand Prix was put back to a few weeks to avoid a clash with the 2006 Commonwealth Games. For the first time, Bahrain hosted the first Grand Prix. Brazil hosted the last race and Japan and China swapped their original dates.