F1 2021: DRIVER MARKET
After 10 rounds of the 2020 season where we have seen a new race winner in Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) and a dominant drive from Lewis Hamilton along with some new faces making an appearance on the Formula One podium including the likes of Alex Albon (Red Bull) and Lando Norris (McLaren). Despite all of this there are still seven rounds remaining in this unpredictable season.
The grid for this year changed very little the only difference being at the back of the grid with Williams swapping Robert Kubica with the young Canadian talent of Nicholas Latifi.
However 2021 is set to be more of a mix up in terms of drivers we see come and go. Starting with Mercedes;
Mercedes have confirmed Valtteri Bottas for next season and although Hamilton hasn't been confirmed as of when this post is written - it's likely that the Six Times World Champion - soon to be seven will resign with the team in which he has broken so many records.
They have Max Verstappen confirmed for 2021 and have consistently told the press that they will stick with Alex Albon for next year - but we all know that Red Bull have a history of saying this sort of thing and then having a new driver line-up 24 - 48 hours later. Surely Red Bull will be looking at sister team Alpha Tauri and Pierre Gasly and considering if they should give the French driver another chance at a top team.
The McLaren driver line-up was confirmed before the season had started after Sainz left for Maranello. McLaren wasted no time in signing Daniel Ricciardo to partner Lando Norris for 2021.
Aston Martin (Racing Point):
The newly rebranded Racing Point side that becomes Aston Martin for 2021 had Lance Stroll confirmed for a long time - after all it was his dad that bought out the team so it was unlikely the young Canadian driver would be dropped and with his performances this year he deserves a drive in F1 despite what some critics may say. Then in recent months after Ferrari told the world (except Vettel) that the Four Times World Champion would not be needed next season - Vettel signed for Aston Martin a move that should hopefully keep Vettel in Formula One for many years.
Renault will become Alpine in 2021 and have a strong line-up of Esteban Ocon who remains in the team after returning to F1 this season and he will be alongside Double World Champion Fernando Alonso who makes a comeback that not many expected especially considering the performance of the Renault - although in recent races we have seen Renault performing well and scoring good points on a regular basis.
The team that reached 1000 races in 2020 at 'their' track - Mugello. The Prancing Horse have had a dismal season with poor strategy being at the forefront of the conversation. They have Leclerc and Sainz as their drivers for next season - one of the youngest Ferrari driver pairing's in their long extensive and successful history.
A team that doubled their win total after Gasly won at the Italian Grand Prix - 12 years after Vettel achieved the teams first win in 2008. Despite this great year for the team - they currently don't have any confirmed drivers for 2021 it's likely that Gasly will remain in the team, however for Daniil Kvyat it doesn't look so promising with the Russian in the frame the Italian team look to be considering F2 driver Yuki Tsunoda - the Japanese driver has put himself in a good position to secure an F1 drive after some brilliant performances this year in F2.
Like Alpha Tauri currently have no drivers confirmed - they will likely be looking to see if Kimi Raikkonen retires or not, if Kimi doesn't leave it's likely the 2007 World Champion will stay at the team for 2021. Other driver they are considering include current No.2 Antonio Giovinazzi alongside F2 driver Mick Schumacher (current leader of the F2 Championship), along with other F2 drivers including Russian driver Robert Shwartzman and British driver Callum Ilott - all of whom are apart of the Ferrari Young Driver Academy. The team are also considering Perez who has been replaced by Vettel at Aston Martin as well as former F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg who stepped in for Perez at the British Grand Prix earlier this year.
The American based team have struggled for race pace for many years now and currently have no drivers set for next year and are considering their options with both current driver Grosjean and Magnussen in the frame along side Perez, Hulkenberg and Alfa Romeo targets Ilott and Shwartzman. Haas could be a greta seat for a young driver to make his mark in the sport despite the lack of speed.
Williams are one of the few teams on the grid which have both drivers set for next season - the newly acquired team sticking with Russell and Latifi for next year.