The 2021 Formula One season promises to be a fascinating year with a changed calendar, two newly rebranded teams, the Schumacher name returning, and three new faces on the grid.
After one of the strangest seasons in recent history in 2020, the upcoming campaign reverts back to the 23-race calendar, becoming the longest calendar in F1 history.
The 2021 season could be one of the most exciting seasons to date. In preparation for the upcoming campaign, we’ve decided to list five things to look out for this season…
Lewis Hamilton becoming the most successful driver in F1 history
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you will know about Hamilton’s success in Formula 1, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ championships in 2020.
The Brit has the opportunity to secure his eighth title in 2021 and cement his status as F1’s best-ever driver. And Hamilton could be in for another comfortable year with a host of cars transferring over from 2020.
So, unless Red Bull has discovered something over the winter break, then it’s surely Hamilton’s world championship to lose.
Valtteri Bottas could be F1’s only hopes for a competitive title race, but the Finn showed last season that he’s capable of a couple mistakes.
Hamilton will make history in 2021, I’m confident. More importantly, it’s his decision at the end of the season that will capture the eyes of supporters and haters alike. Could he leave F1 with an eighth title? Or will he continue his dominance for years to come…
The Return of Aston Martin
The return of Aston Martin is one of the main reasons to tune into F1 this year. The British racing company practically broke the internet when they revealed their first F1 car in 61 years.
Fans fell in love with the covered traditional British Racing Green AMR21, and we can expect Aston Martin to be competitive in 2021 with minimal changes in the regulations.
The car will carry over many of the main components from Racing Point’s vehicle in 2020. So, it should be fast out of the box as it finished fourth in the 2020 constructor championship, narrowly missing out on third to McLaren in the final race.
They have added experience in a four-time world champion in Sebastian Vettel, who needs to rekindle his career after falling off the pace at Ferrari in the last few years.
Also, a driver with a heap of potential in Lance Stroll. Ask any F1 fan at this moment in time, many would agree that they can’t wait to see Aston Martin back on the track and competing for titles in the years to come.
George Russell’s evolution
If there is one driver that everyone loves, then it’s the Kings Lynn man. The British driver enters 2021 on the back of a terrific season, including taking one of the slowest cars on the grid and somehow getting into Q2 on nine occasions.
He was also handed a rare opportunity to drive the Mercedes in a competitive race after replacing Hamilton, who returned a positive COVID-19 test. Russell shone in the Mercedes, highlighting further evidence of his abilities as he led the majority of the race before disaster struck that saw him finish ninth.
Now, with both Mercedes’ drivers out of contract at the end of the season, Russell is favourite to take one of the seats but will need to show consistency in the Williams.
Although the Williams is unlikely to become a competitive car overnight, there is a slight hope that they can at least challenge for low-end of the points this season, and if anyone can force this Williams car to do that, it’s Russell. A huge season for the 23-year-old, and his future.
Schumacher name returns to the grid
Not only do we get to witness the return of Aston Martin this year, but one of the most beloved names in F1 history also returns to the grid in 2021. Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, will begin his first F1 career as a Haas driver in 2021 after winning the F2 championship last season.
The German driver will have plenty of focus on him for the upcoming season, with people putting pressure on the young driver to replicate his dad’s success, but he should be determined on creating his own reputation.
For sure, he isn’t going to be competitive this season at Haas, especially since they are using many of the components from last years car. However, Schumacher has the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience in F1 before a likely move to Ferrari in the future.
Red Bull to close the gap
I know I said above that Hamilton will comfortably win the world championship, and I stand by what I that, but a part of me believes Red Bull could snatch the constructors’ world championship, ending Mercedes seven-year dominance.
The Milton-Keynes based team struggled last season compared to Mercedes, mainly due Alex Albon’s inconsistency that saw them lose ground on the Silver Arrows in the constructors’ championship.
Now they have an experienced F1 driver in Sergio Perez to partner alongside Max Verstappen, and that’s a deadly duo.
The Mexican finished fourth in the drivers’ standing last year, beating Albon, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.
He grabbed his maiden Grand Prix victory at Sakhir last year, coming from 20th on lap one to winning the race. Unlike Albon, Perez will be much more a competitive team-mate for Verstappen and provide more assistance against Mercedes, and I believe that will inspire Red Bull to the constructors’ world championship.
We don’t have to wait too long before F1 cars return to the track as pre-season testing in Bahrain. It got underway this morning and runs everyday from 7am-4pm running until March 14.