What to expect: F1 2021
Top tier motorsport, dumb predictions
So a slight change from my other articles as I don’t actually drive anything in this. Think of my account name as “Liam Makes Vague, Mostly Uneducated, Guesses About F1” for this article, though that’s a bit long. Anyway, F1 is my favourite sport and I haven’t exactly been driving much recently (thanks Madame Corona), so I’m going to pretend I have some insight into this coming season. Slightly altered cars carried over from last year will race at 23 tracks, apparently. The season opener has already been moved from Australia to Bahrain, and I imagine there will be some more changes along the way.
The second version of the calendar, probably a few more to come
The Fight For The Top
Will Red Bull finally be able to bring the fight to Mercedes from the start of the season? Who will bail first and switch to developing the very different 2022 regulation cars? Will Merc want the full set of titles from this ’14-’21 era of F1, or prioritise continued dominance in the next chapter of F1? As far as predictions from me: if Hamilton is on the grid, he’ll get the title (safe bet I know). Him and Toto need to sort out a contract first though. But, for constructors? Flip a coin. It’ll largely depend on whether Perez can do what Albon and Gasly couldn’t, and get near the mighty Max.
Leclerc finding the gravel
Can Ferrari rise from its catastrophic drop in performance? Well, last year it managed to thoroughly cock up both engine and chassis. Rumours are that they’ve recovered some of their power, but not as much as they wanted. And they’ll probably be stuck with some of the chassis weaknesses of the SF1000. So best guess from me (a random idiot) is much the same performance from them this year. The Tifosi might want to tune out until ’22. Though I could be way off. I think sensible money is Leclerc winning the intra-team battle, though Sainz may pull a few surprises.
The midfield having a scrap, fingers crossed for more to come
Battle For Bronze
McLaren, Aston Martin or Alpine? Alpine’s management is in slight chaos, courtesy of Cyril Abiteboul making a surprise exit, so it’s a no from me. Full disclosure, McLaren are my favourite team. However, I get the feeling the engine switch to Mercedes isn’t going to be worth the use of their development tokens, as on average they weren’t the third fastest car in 2020 anyway. So my bet on the mid-field, or F1.5, champions is Aston Martin / Green Mercedes(?). Who would have had it last year if it weren’t for some copied homework.
By the end of this year George Russell will have a contract with Mercedes (could be sooner). Kimi Räikkönen will make his last appearance on the F1 grid, and probably Giovinazzi. Haas will have a miserable season (again), both drivers and car underperforming expectations. Schumacher has taken a while to adjust to his previous racing categories and the team environment at Haas right now doesn’t look exactly conducive to good development. I like Vettel and I hope, more than anything, that the rebranded Aston Martin car better suits him. Long shot of the season is at least one win for him.