WHAT TO WATCH: 2021
With three weeks left until the 2021 season gets underway in Bahrain - I attempt to give you a list of the main points to watch for during the 2021 season.
Lets start first off with the reigning World Champions - Mercedes, with seven consecutive Constructors and Drivers World Titles to their name becoming the most successful team in F1 history - we have to assume they will carry on dominating the pinnacle of motorsport for at least one more year. With the Silver Arrows retaining both Hamilton and Bottas for this season - its expected that Hamilton will enjoy his time up front while Bottas picks up the scraps in second - being the perfect team player - but this year it's on Bottas to take the fight to Hamilton and win his illusive first World Championship. Bottas has the best chance of anyone. This is a rivalry to keep an eye on this year.
Now onto Red Bull - the team closest to Mercedes in the previous few years - but with a new line up Verstappen and Perez - possibly one of the strongest on the grid, I think everyone is hoping Red Bull have found some speed and are able to properly take the fight to Mercedes instead of taking the odd victory when the Brackley based team slip up. But I think its important to keep an eye out for Perez especially as this is the first time in his career he will be in a front running car - I haven't said top team as he did race for McLaren in 2013 but that was the first year McLaren struggled up until recent years.
Ferrari - a team who saw the biggest drop off in terms of performance from 2019 to 2020 and with a new lineup of Leclerc and Sainz - the Prancing Horse's will hope to be back fighting at the front - I cant imagine they will be straight back up but definitely closer to the podium than they were last year. It will be interesting to see how Ferrari get on with the cars not having changed too much.
McLaren - a team that found great consistency in 2020 with the dynamic pairing of Norris and Sainz - but with Sainz out to Ferrari - McLaren were quick to bring in multiple race winner Ricciardo - I think most people McLaren fans or not are looking forward to seeing these two as teammates in 2021 - I believe this year if McLaren haven't dropped off should realistically be fighting for the occasional podium.
Now the rebranded Aston Martin - who enter the sport for the first time in 60 years with Stroll and Vettel the first driver pairing for the team since Roy Salvadori and Maurice Trintignant. After the success of last year as Racing Point - Aston Martin will hope the AMR21 can deliver to the same effect with a pole position in Turkey for Stroll and of course the win in Sakhir for Perez. Wouldn't it be nice to see Vettel back on the podium once again.
Another team which rebranded over the winter break was Renault - now Alpine with once again a new driver joining them in the form of two times World Champion Fernando Alonso - who partners Esteban Ocon - are unlikely to be fighting upfront but will hope they can lead the midfield battle behind the likes of McLaren. It should be a good watch seeing Alonso back in F1.
AlphaTauri - the team that gave Formula One the biggest shock of the season last year when Pierre Gasly took a dramatic victory in Italy. Partnering Gasly is the newly promoted Yuki Tsunoda who finished third in F2 in 2020 and will look to make an instant impact against his more experienced teammate. The Red Bull 'junior' team could definitely a dark horse for the upcoming season.
To be honest in terms of Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams, there isn't too much to say both Alfa Romeo and Williams retain their 2020 lineup and will of course be looking to get further up the grid and score some good points. Then finally Haas - a team which has struggled over the winter after signing Russian driver Mazepin who was filmed doing some thing I'm not going to mention on this blog - the American team have faced a lot of backlash on social media and then received even more after revealing a Russian livery. The redeeming part of Haas' winter is the fact that they signed reigning F2 Champion Mick Schumacher who brings that famous name back to F1 for the first time since 2012.