After a 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship that featured so many twists and turns, teams and their drivers are now planning ahead for the next campaign. In less than three months between seasons, new cars will be tested to their limits, drivers will be put through their paces, while pit crews will be trained to perform their tasks with split-second perfection.
Setting the new benchmark for the most consecutive Constructors’ Championship titles with their seventh in 2020, the Mercedes-AMG team will head into the 2021 season aiming for the eighth in a row. Their chances will undoubtedly be buoyed by having Lewis Hamilton at the wheel again, with the Briton having won the seventh Drivers’ Championship of his illustrious career.
Having now surpassed numerous landmarks and records previously set by motor racing legend Michael Schumacher, plenty of challenges yet remain for Hamilton and his team. The latest F1 odds for the 2021 season already have Mercedes-AMG and Hamilton tipped for more titles, although with plenty of changes elsewhere, new challengers could potentially emerge.
Eager to become competitive again, there are many changes at Ferrari. The iconic Italian team have made several new appointments in their technical departments, ready to launch a new car chassis and power unit for the 2021 season. Charles Leclerc remains, although he will be joined by Carlos Sainz Jr. in the driver hot seats, following the departure of Sebastian Vettel.
Speaking of Vettel, the four-time world champion will drive for Aston Martin F1 Team during the 2021 season. After serving as main sponsors of Red Bull Racing in 2020, Aston Martin will compete as their own F1 team for the first time since 1960. In what is essentially a rebranding of the BWT Racing Point F1 Team, which competed in 2019 and 2020, Aston Martin will use a completely new chassis of their own, powered by a Mercedes engine.
Interestingly, aside from the main sponsors, little will actually be changing at Red Bull Racing. Max Verstappen will remain as the main driver, while the team will also use a slightly updated version of the same RB16 chassis, once again powered by a Honda engine. They will be hoping to close the gap on Mercedes-AMG in the Constructors’ Championship, yet it remains to be seen if their strategy of continuity will pay dividends.
Fernando Alonso will be making his return to F1 in 2021. The twice world champion will be the lead driver for the rebranded Alpine F1 Team, which is a rebranding of the Renault F1 Team, where the Spaniard enjoyed his greatest success. French driver Esteban Ocon remains with the team, hoping to break into the Drivers’ Championship top ten.
Changes are also afoot at the McLaren F1 Team. While they will use an updated version of the MCL35 chassis, the cars will once again be fitted with Mercedes engines for the first time since 2014, after being powered by Honda then Renault engines in recent years. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo form the driving duo.
Finally, one of the most exciting prospects for the 2021 F1 season will be the debut of Mick Schumacher. The 21-year-old son of Michael Schumacher has just won the 2020 Formula 2 Championship, and he will undoubtedly be keen to enjoy an excellent debut season with the Haas-Ferrari F1 team.
There have certainly been a lot of changes ahead of what looks to be an exciting season in F1. Whether Hamilton and Mercedes can be surpassed remains to be seen, but the season looks set to be one of the most competitive in recent memory.