Three big reasons why you should keep up with Formula One now more than ever

The 2021 Formula One season in a nutshell

Photo credits: ESPN & Solo Auto

By Daphne Seberich

It has been seven years of Mercedes dominance in the world of F1. Lewis Hamilton has matched Michael Schumacher for the most Driver’s Championships in F1’s history. The Silver Arrows have annihilated their competition for seven years in a row. Fans want to see a change. The 2021 season might just offer that. 

Red Bull and Max Verstappen are for the first time in title contention. Never since the V6-turbo-hybrid era there had been such a tight race for any championship between two different teams. Mercedes had an internal fight in 2016 when teammates and old best friends Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have fiercely battled for the title. The German came out on top in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi but decided swiftly after his incredible achievement to end his career on a high. Besides that, the fans were lacking the outstanding fights they were used to see in the 2000s.

Photo credits: Automoto.it

There are many reasons to watch Formula One: 

  • The avant-garde engineering developed and introduced for future consumer cars,
  • The exciting race weekends where 20 drivers risk their lives every time they climb into their cockpits and 
  • The beyond belief show F1 provides at different tracks around the world. 

I reckon this season might become the most exciting one to watch of the last decade. Why? There are three main reasons why you should keep up with Formula One now more than ever.  

  1. The rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen 
Photo credits: Ricardo Costa via Bēhance

No one ever thought someone could match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven driver’s championships. Lewis Hamilton managed to do just that. Not only has he outclassed many of the records set by the German (most pole positions, most GP wins, etc.), he has also got a strong chance to become the most successful driver in Formula One history.

There is only one driver capable of ruining Hamilton’s celebrations. His name is Max Verstappen. The Flying Dutchman is one of, if not the most talented driver on the grid. Red Bull has finally caught up with Mercedes, which have lost the advantage they gained during the 2020 season thanks to their Dual-Axis-System (DAS). It was banned from 2021 onwards. The Red Bull-Max Verstappen pairing this season could bring the Mercedes domination era to an end.

Photo credits: s c m h via Bēhance

During the Bahrain pre-season testing, Mercedes was in no man’s land. Their cars looked tricky to handle and the rear-end seemed to be very nervous. Meanwhile, Red Bull was crushing it on track, setting fastest laps and conquering all of the sessions ahead of the race. Track limits at the first race of the season punished Verstappen, who had to hand over the win to Hamilton, but it was clear that the seven-time world champion would not have it as easy as in the past four years to clinch his eighth title.

Lewis Hamilton has never had a real challenger at the top since 2016. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas lacks the consistency to give a real fight for the title. Even though the Silver Arrows driver have had the most dominant car in the past four years, at no time we have seen a fight for the championship between the two.

The two title contenders for 2021, on the other hand, have spiced up the competition and dramatically changed the outlook of how the season would turn out for fans at home. People truly believe there can be a change at the top. This idea has rekindled the passion and interest for Formula One, and it is one of the main reasons why people should tune in on race weekends. Beating the reigning world champion is never an easy task, but if anyone could do it, it’s Max Verstappen. History can be made in 2021.

Photo credits: DAZN
  1. The season before the revolution

The 2021 season should have seen the FIA introducing completely renewed regulations to tackle some of the many issues of F1 racing in current times. Unfortunately, the current state the world is in has pushed back the implementation of these new rules to 2022, making the current season a transitioning one. 

Some teams have completely stopped the development of the current generation of cars (ex. Haas F1 team). Others will stop further along the season to concentrate time and resources on perfecting the new principles of racing. 

After many years of not seeing any major changes to the regulations, the playing field has leveled itself, creating more exciting and unpredictable racing. The new regulations were consolidated to bring exactly that: fairer and more thrilling competition. Could there be, although, a chance of restarting the vicious cycle of dominance F1 has been known for when the new 2022 regulations will be introduced?

Photo credits: F1

Mercedes have had the upper hand since 2014 due to the introduction of the new hybrid V6 engine technology that is still currently used in F1 cars today. The Silver Arrows engineers have created a masterpiece power-unit, which was miles ahead of the competition. Its power and speed was beyond anyone else’s. 

Ferrari even ‘bent’ the regulations to try to regain their competitiveness in the sport. They were involved in the Fuel-Flow Gate before the start of the 2020 season, with the FIA and the Scuderia signing a secret agreement to keep accusations of cheating the previous year at bay. The prancing horse was strongly penalized by this accordance and suffered from their worst season in Ferrari’s history since 1980, closing off the constructors’ championship in sixth. 

Photo credits: Charles Coates for Getty Images

This season, Mercedes seems not to be the fastest car on track, as Red Bull and other manufacturers have caught up on the technological advances found on the Silver Arrows’ car. All teams have had enough time to perfect their challengers while still conforming to the regulations, managing to level the playing field and creating more competitiveness in the sport. What could happen with the introduction of the 2022 regulations?

The possibility of another dominance era after 2021 is very likely, although it is not sure it will be Mercedes again at the top. In F1’s history we have seen many times a dominating car at the top after a regulation change (ex. Mercedes in 2014, Ferrari in 2000). As the new generation of cars will be in front of us sooner than we think, do we want to see another seven years of nine constructors playing catch-up with one team at the top? Let’s enjoy the fierce battles Verstappen and Hamilton are offering us while we can. 

  1. This current generation of F1 cars will stay the fastest we will see for some years
Photo credits: Autobild

With the introduction of the 2022 regulations, F1 will switch from an intricate aerodynamic approach of bargeboards and complicated front wings to a more accessible and simple ground-effect principle for future cars. 

F1 has struggled with the concept of ‘dirty air’ for many years now, claiming it to be the cause for the lack of close and exciting racing in the past couple of years. Therefore, the introduction of ground-effect powered challengers should reduce turbulences present due to the current aerodynamic approach to only ten percent. 

While this seems like good news, the ‘simplified’ Formula One car will be heavier, less aerodynamically advanced and therefore slower. Engineers will have to figure out the grey areas of the regulations to try to gain a significant boost of performance, but that takes time. That is why we won’t see drivers breaking the fastest lap records for some years. 

Photo credits: F1

2021 will make it into the history books as one of the most exciting title race seasons in the last decade. The fastest cars in the world will battle it out until the last race, with either the current Mercedes era becoming the most successful one in F1’s history or the seven-year domination coming to an end. One thing is for sure: this season is the one you do not want to miss. 

Ein Red Bull-Rückblick aus dem Nahen Osten

Die neue Formel 1 Saison ist heiß unterwegs. Doch wie gut schlugen sich Max Verstappen und Red Bull im Vergleich zu den Titanen Mercedes und Lewis Hamilton bei den Veranstaltungen im Nahen Osten? Der Kampf um den Weltmeister-Titel in der Mercedes-Ära scheint knapper als je zuvor zu sein.

Fotorechte: F1-Insider.com und Giuseppe Cacace für AP

Von Daphne Seberich

Das Talent von Formel 1-Superstar Max Verstappen ist allen bekannt. Der Red Bull Fahrer, der im sehr jungen Alter schon zum siebten Mal bei der bekanntesten Motorsport-Weltmeisterschaft teilnimmt, scheint jedoch vor der 2021 F1 Saison in seiner bester Form zu sein.  

Videorechte: Formula One und Liberty Media – Editing: Daphne Seberich

Spektakulärer Vorsaison-Start für Max Verstappen’s siebten Formel 1-Karrierebeginn

Noch nie zuvor gelang es dem junge Formel 1-Star Verstappen die Vorsaison-Testtage zu meistern. Ihm gehört die diesjährige Bestzeit. Dank der Bahrain-Tests, die dieses Jahr im Nahen Osten anstatt des üblichen Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spanien stattfanden, konnte man feststellen, dass Red Bull als Favorit für den 2021 Konstrukteuren-Titelsieg gelten würde.

In der Pressekonferenz am 14. März, genaue zwei Wochen vor dem Saisonstart, äußerte sich Max Verstappen über sein Feeling mit seinem Formel-1-Wagen: „Ich hatte ein positives Gefühl im Auto, aber wir werden am ersten Rennwochenende im Q3 herausfinden, wo wir stehen. Dort können wir unsere Leistung beurteilen.“  

Zur Leistung des Teams ergänzte der 23-jährige Holländer, dass man trotz guter Ergebnisse die Weiterentwicklung des Rennautos nicht vorzeitig beenden kann. „Es waren bisher ein paar gute Tage, aber das heißt nicht, dass wir zufrieden sind. Wir wollen uns immer verbessern und versuchen, unsere Leistung zu steigern“, meinte Verstappen.  

Fotorechte: Getty Images

Keine Chance für Hamilton 

Der erste Einblick auf die Lage des Österreichischen Teams bei dem ersten Rennen in  Bahrain war letztendlich sehr positiv. Max Verstappen war bei den drei freien Trainings am Freitag und Samstag nicht zu toppen. Lewis Hamilton konnte sich kaum den Bestzeiten des Red Bull Fahrers annähern. Über 0.7 Sekunden fuhr der junge Formel 1 Veteran schneller als der derzeitige Weltmeister am Samstag vor dem Qualifying. 

Als es soweit kam, die Startpositionen für den Sonntag zu entscheiden, ließ sich das perfekte Duo Verstappen-Red Bull nicht einschüchtern. Es war offenbar, dass das Österreichische Team die beste Chance hatte, die erste Pole Position des Jahres zu ergattern.

Im Q3 hielt jeder Zuschauer den Atem an. Der Kampf um die erste Pole-Position der Saison zwischen Hamilton und dem Red Bull-Fahrer begeisterte die Fans rund um die Welt. Endlich gab es wieder einen harten Konkurrenzkampf, der sich nicht nur zwischen den zwei Mercedes-Fahrern abspielte. Mit einer Bestzeit von 1:28.997 erzielte Max Verstappen die ideale Startpostition für das Rennen.

„Es ist immer schwierig, sich etwas zu erwarten. Das ganze Wochenende lief es wirklich gut. Das Auto was sehr gut balanciert. Ich bin natürlich sehr froh, die erste Pole-Position des Jahres erworben zu haben“, teilte Verstappen nach dem Qualifying dem F1 Journalisten Lawrence Barretto mit.  

Fotorechte: Screen Lately

Lewis Hamilton und Mercedes zu besiegen ist kein Spaziergang

Als es soweit war, sich in Bahrain als Sieger durchzusetzen, hatten es Red Bull und Max Verstappen doch schwerer als erwartet. In der vierzehnten Runde der geplanten 56 vollbrachten Mercedes und Lewis Hamilton den entscheidenden Pit-Stop. Der frühe Reifenwechsel war Teil der “Undercut-Strategie”, die besonders in Bahrain sehr viel Einfluss auf das Endergebnis des Rennens hat. Somit übernahm Lewis Hamilton die Führung. Das Rennen war aber noch lange nicht vorüber. Verstappen bestand darauf, sich die Leaderposition wieder zu erkämpfen.

Max Verstappen sah in der einundfünfzigsten Runde seine Überholmöglichkeit. Als Lewis Hamilton vor Kurve 10 seine Reifen blockierte und somit nicht die perfekte Rennlinie fahren konnte, näherte sich Max Verstappen drohend dem Briten.

In der dreiundfünfzigsten Runde war es endlich soweit: Verstappen gelang es, Hamilton über der aüßeren Rennlinie zu überholen. Doch die von dem Holländer überschrittenen Renngrenzen erlaubten dem Fahrer nicht, die Führung bis zum Ende des Großen Preises zu bewahren. Somit ergatterte Hamilton den 96. Karrieresieg.  

Fotorechte: Diario AS

Diese unklaren Regeln sorgten jedoch für Aufruhr im Paddock. Vor dem Rennen war es nicht allen Teilnehmenden bewusst, ob bei Kurve vier tatsächlich dieselben Regeln als im Qualifying gelten würden. Sergio Perez wurde nämlich im Q2 die Zeit gestrichen, da er eine zu weite Rennlinie über den Randstein der Serpentine nahm. Selbst Lewis Hamilton hielt mehrmals die Grenzen nicht ein, doch bestraft wurde er von der Rennverwaltung FIA nie.  

„Natürlich bin ich enttäuscht, aber letztes Jahr wären wir mit einem Rennen wie diesem super glücklich gewesen“, richtete der Zweitplatzierte des 2021 Großen Preis von Bahrain an F1TV aus. „Es zeigt auch, wie sehr wir uns entwickelt haben und ich denke, dass es trotzdem ein positiver Saisonstart war.“ 

Seit sieben Jahren gelingt es Red Bull nicht, die deutschen Rivalen um die Konstrukteursweltmeisterschaft zu schlagen. Doch dieses Jahr steht zum ersten Mal nach 2014 die Chance, Lewis Hamilton und Mercedes zu übertrumpfen. Kann Max Verstappen das Taboo brechen?

In the Spotlight: Max Verstappen

A series of F1 drivers’ profiles

By Daphne Seberich

They call him “mad” and he goes to the “max”: Max Verstappen is one of the drivers of the future generation of champions. 

Photo credits: Pinterest

Notorious for being the youngest driver to compete, score points and win in Formula One, “Mad Max” quickly moved up the ranks of the team backing him up since 2014, Red Bull Racing

Racing runs in his blood. His father, Jos Verstappen, is a former F1 driver, known for the incident in the pit lane where he took on fire when refueling was still allowed in the circus. His mother, Sophie Kumpen, was a successful karting racer.

Being the son of a famous racing driver subsequently put him under pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps. Nevertheless, the superb Dutch driver, endowed with such rare and raw talent, climbed the latter of karting competitions, where every F1 racer starts off their careers.

Photo credits: AS.com

The success he had in the younger categories opened the doors to international competitions in 2010, his most notorious win being scored in France at the 2013 World KZ championships at the age of 15. 

One year after, Verstappen joined the Red Bull Junior Program, which supported him throughout his path to F1. A short-lived progression to the younger Formula categories, the Dutch made it from F3 to F1 at only 17 years old. 

Photo credits: Essentially Sports

Arriving as Formula 1’s youngest ever competitor at 17, Verstappen pushed his car, his rivals and the sport’s record books to the limit. The Dutchman with the heart of a lion took the Toro Rosso – and then the Red Bull – by the horns with his instinctive racing style. 

F1’s youngest points scorer soon became its youngest race winner. At the age of 18 years and 228 days, with an opportunistic but controlled drive on debut for Red Bull in Barcelona 2016, Verstappen made it into the history of the sport. He is a true wheel-to-wheel racer and known for racing to the limit of his car and abilities. 

Video rights: F1 & Liberty Media

Verstappen’s attitude and hard defending have sometimes stirred controversies with his colleagues and superiors. But the mistakes that initially disfigured his potential have given way to maturity, while the boldness and energy that make him a one-of-a-kind talent have remained. The victories have kept on coming.

At the age of 23, “Mad Max” has already ten victories under his belt, his most recent being the final race of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi under the lights. He has stood 42 times on the podium since replacing mid-season the “Torpedo” Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull in 2016. An impressive number, considering that his percentage of podiums and race starts is 35.29%, meaning that approximately in one out of three races he competes in, he scores a top-three result.

Max Verstappen’s prospects are bright. The youngster, who’s only missing a Driver’s Championship in his array of achievements, has still a long career ahead of him in the sport. After the pre-season testing sessions in Bahrain, he also seems a favorite with Lewis Hamilton to win the 2021 Formula One title. He has got the right car and one of the top teams backing him. Can he make it into F1’s history as a champion?

Photo credits: Pinterest

The anticipation before “lights out”

Pre-season testing came to an end on Sunday and the teams had the chance to see where they stand in terms of performance ahead of the first race of the 2021 F1 campaign in Bahrain. 

Photo credits: Getty Images / Video credits: F1 & Liberty Media

By Daphne Seberich

Only two weeks separate us from the first race of the year. As the pre-season testing in Bahrain wrapped up on Sunday, teams have a much clearer picture of where they stand in terms of pace. What exactly can we expect on the first day back racing? Pre-season testing doesn’t tell the whole story, but it seems like the battle to the top won’t be as predictable as it was the last seven years. 

Red Bull’s RB16B proved to be a real contender this time. Although Max Verstappen seemed to struggle with the stability of the car on day one of testing (a known issue of the past RB challengers), he topped the standings on Sunday, setting the fastest lap of all sessions combined. This result counts as his best ever pre-season testing outcome and certainly brings a boost of confidence coming into the first race of the year.

The new addition to the team, Checo Perez stunned everybody as well. His ability to adapt so quickly to a new machine impressed everyone in Bahrain and at home. The gamble Helmut Marko took in December by signing the Mexican speedster seemed to pay off for Red Bull.  

Video rights: F1 & Liberty Media

“The vibe inside of the team is one of excitement,” says Lawrence Barretto, senior writer at Formula1.com. “Their Honda power-unit looks to be in great shape too, with promising signs of a good step in terms of performance.”

They have the right lineup and a good car. Is this the year of Red Bull bringing the Mercedes’ era to an end?

On the other hand, the Silver Arrows haven’t had the best pre-season testing sessions, as most were characterized by reliability issues. Valtteri Bottas had to sit out the Friday morning practice; his W12 suffered from gearbox difficulties. Lewis Hamilton’s challenger seemed untamable, as he spun on Saturday and Sunday’s sessions. A never-before-seen characteristic of the Mercedes car, known for its maneuverability and handling on all sections of every track they competed at.

Video rights: F1 & Liberty Media

The W12 on soft tires seemed to be 0.56s behind the fastest time set by their Austrian rivals on a flying lap. The German team has its work cut-off in the next two weeks ahead of the first race in Bahrain. Even Lewis Hamilton admitted that the Silver Arrows challenger is “just not quick enough”, anticipating a “great battle” between Verstappen and Perez in the 23-race campaign. 

Graphic credits: Formula 1

Nevertheless, Valtteri Bottas seems confident in his crew and his W12: “I absolutely believe the car and the team, it has the potential [to take the title]. I don’t think it’s yet there as a package in terms of performance, but I’ve no doubt that we will work hard to find it somehow.”

Mercedes is notorious for “sandbagging”, meaning that they like to hide their actual performance ahead of the first race of the season. Is this the case this year as well?

Photo credits: Clive Mason for Getty Images

Finishing off on a good note, the third top-team Ferrari saw some progress between the SF1000 and their new SF21. The Prancing Horse ended their 2020 F1 campaign in sixth place. Their worst result in Formula 1 since 1980.  

This season, the music — or better — the engine noise seems to be different, as the Scuderia based in Maranello debuts a completely new power-unit after their 2020 engine fiasco. Team Principal Mattia Binotto said the team’s straight-line speed is “not anymore a disadvantage,” with the data collected on the track backing up the dyno results encountered back at their facility in Italy. 

Photo credits: Motor.es

Over the winter, Ferrari admitted of having “massively improved” their power-unit, which was at the top of the pyramid of reasons why Ferrari had such a terrible season in 2020.

After the FIA decided to investigate the Prancing Horse’s 2019 challengers amid  allegations of Ferrari breaching the fuel-flow regulations, the two parties reached an agreement, which still hasn’t been made public to this day. But as testing began in Barcelona and the SF1000 lacked in pace, it was clear to everyone that the Italian team had a massive setback in terms of performance compared to the previous year. 

Photo credits: Getty Images

Everyone at Ferrari wants to put the 2020 F1 season behind their backs, especially the Monegasque star driver Charles Leclerc, whose 2020 campaign was sub-par to his 2019 breakthrough season. With Carlos Sainz now in the second seat of the SF21, the Scuderia has a much brighter future ahead. The Spaniard managed to put the red, green and burgundy car up in third in the classification on Sunday, 0.651s off the pace on Pirelli’s C4 compound (the second softest of the range).

The excitement towards the new F1 2021 season is through the roof, with the Silver Arrows set to battle it out with Red Bull for the title. Will Lewis Hamilton become the most successful F1 driver ever with eight Driver’s Championships? Does Red Bull actually have a chance to end the Mercedes domination? Ferrari is set to make a comeback, but will they be able to win some races again? All these questions will be answered in Bahrain on the weekend of March 26th-28th when we’ll finally hear the engines roar and Martin Brundle say: “Lights out and away we go!”.

Photo credits: Musco Sports Lighting

In the spotlight: Lewis Hamilton

A series of F1 drivers’ profiles

By Daphne Seberich

Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking results are known. The 36-year old driver that came from humble beginnings and moved up to be the most successful driver in F1’s history in ex aequo with Michael Schumacher. Both racers have earned seven Driver’s Championship titles and after his win at the Nürburgring in 2020, Hamilton became the athlete with the most F1 wins, tallying 95. 

During the 2021 season, he will attempt to surpass the German Ferrari legend, as well as to move into the triple digits when it comes to victories. The Brit has the best car and the best team backing him, but is that necessarily the reason why he is so successful?

Lewis Hamilton had humble roots, as father Anthony worked three jobs to fund his son’s career. Lewis’s talent, along with the family’s determination and hard work, was what pushed him from obscurity into the limelight. The goal throughout his junior career was to go through the lower-tier Formula championships, winning as much as possible to gain attention from sponsors. 

Photo credits: Bryn Lennon for Getty Images & F1i

He then got offered to move up to GP2 (former comparable to Formula 2 competition) for only a single year before joining McLaren in 2007. It was maybe not the best year for McLaren (“Spygate” in 2007 ), but Lewis Hamilton almost won a Driver’s Championship in his first year in F1. Kimi Räikkönen denied the Brit the victory by one point. Someone could argue that even if Hamilton won that season it would be because of the Ferrari-copycat car. 

In 2008 Hamilton was granted his first of seven titles, beating Felipe Massa for the championship at the Interlagos GP. Massa had won his home race already, as a wet Brazilian GP complicated Hamilton’s path to victory.

“Is that Glock?”, said Martin Brundle, as the German driver lost control over his Toyota, aiding Hamilton’s McLaren to pass him in the last lap and score the sole point that would put the Brit above the Prancing Horse’s driver. This became one of the most iconic moments in Formula One’s history. 

Video rights: Formula One

The future was bright for the Brit but not for the team that was backing him up. The seven-time World Champion then took the, at that time, “risky” decision to move to Mercedes in 2013. 

Hamilton’s gamble paid off. Mercedes’ partnership aided the Brit to secure his dominance in the sport since 2014. During his seven years at Mercedes, Hamilton won six Driver’s World Championships, has stood 73 times on the highest step of the podium and scored over 67 pole positions in his career with the Silver Arrows. 

In each season with the German team, his dominance was obvious. Each season he has never had a lower victory percentage than 45%, which was measured during the 2017 championship. The most dominant season Lewis Hamilton has had in his seven years at Mercedes was the past one, winning over 64.7% of the races held during the five months of competitions. 

Photo credits: Stats F1

It is obvious that Hamilton is a talented driver, but would someone else in his car do as well as him? Teammate Nico Rosberg managed to beat him only once for the world title, Valtteri Bottas still has to manage that. So, not all of the merit goes to the car, as Max Verstappen said to Marca that “90 percent of F1 drivers could win in Hamilton’s Mercedes”, but a remarkable percentage of Mercedes’ success comes from the stellar driver that brought them to the top.

What does Lewis Hamilton’s future have to offer? The Brit is the favorite contender to earn the 2021 title as well, as the teams are mainly preparing for the revolutionizing 2022 regulation changes. After that, there’s an unknown factor, as Hamilton’s recently renewed contract with the Silver Arrows will end in 2021. Will he stay in the sport? Only time will tell…

Photo credits: H. A. Watts

Looking for the best Formula

More and more teams are set to release their 2021 challengers in the next month. But who’s racing for which manufacturer? The 2020 silly-season is finally overThe 2020 silly-season is finally over and we’re ready to give you a rundown of it all. 

Photo credits: Getty Images

By Daphne Seberich 

As the first Formula 1 race in Bahrain is getting closer, the excitement of the fans surrounding the start of the new season is beginning to show. The different teams are preparing to launch their new 2021 challengers ahead of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit. Many drivers have found their way to their new homes during the winter. Last year’s silly-season was full of surprise announcements, delayed contract signatures and unknown futures. Who’s exactly racing for which team you may ask? Let us give you a rundown of it all.

The first one to release their 2021 challenger is McLaren, who will publicly announce their MCL35M on February 15th. British sensation Lando Norris, who started competing in F1 with McLaren in 2019, will begin his third season with the Woking-based team. 

The new addition to the 2021 McLaren driver-lineup will be Aussie superstar Daniel Ricciardo, who left Renault F1 team after securing them their first podium since 2011 at the Nürburgring. He then also scored third place in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, proving to be in top shape when it comes to performance. Many will have high expectations for Ricciardo in the MCL35M. Hopefully, he’ll adapt to his new drive soon enough to challenge the other midfielder for points.

Photo credits: Soymotor & Motorsport Magazin

Daniel Ricciardo’s move to McLaren was finalized as former driver Carlos Sainz left the Woking team to race for Scuderia Ferrari. Shortly after Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s team principal, announced that the Scuderia would not renew Sebastian Vettel’s contract for 2021, Sainz’s transfer was disclosed to the fans. The unsettling part of all this silly-season unfolding is the fact that by then, the 2020 championship hadn’t even started. Sebastian Vettel had to race with a team that abandoned trust and hope in his abilities.

Photo credits: Revista Car

Ferrari’s focus shifted midst the 2019 season towards youngster Charles Leclerc, who has a long-term project ahead with the Maranello-based team. He signed a contract with the prancing horse through 2023. Will he stay until then? Ferrari hasn’t done too well in 2020 and if the Scuderia can’t engineer a title-challenging car for the Monegasque star, he might choose a different route in the future. 

The rejected four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel found himself in a tricky situation. The German sensation’s dream to win the Driver’s Championship with Ferrari was crushed to pieces. In addition to that, not many competitive seats were left for him to fill. 

Photo credits: EzAnime & Motor.es

When Monza came around, rumors surrounding the German champion moving to Aston Martin Racing arose in the paddock. The problem was that there were no available contracts at the former Racing Point manufacturer. Team owner Lawrence Stroll’s son, Lance Stroll, would’ve never lost his seat. Stroll Sr. bought the company for his protegé to be able to compete in the circus. That was clear to everyone. The one who had to go, even though he had a contract until 2023 and was deserving to stay in Formula 1, was Checo Perez.

Perez, who saved the ex Force India team from bankruptcy, was forced to find a new home. As the season went by, Checo proved to be consistently at the top of the field, securing second place in Turkey. Most importantly, he triumphed in the Sakhir GP, recovering after an incident all the way from last place. He earned his maiden victory with the insecurity of being able to compete in the 2021 season. 

Photo credits: News24

As the championship ended, Perez’s future was still uncertain. Red Bull Racing was the only team that could’ve offered him a seat in 2021. Helmut Marko, Red Bull and Alpha Tauri’s driver consultant, saw the opportunity to finally sign a competitive teammate for Max Verstappen, one capable of pushing the team to the top of the standings. 

After Sebastian Vettel’s last championship title win in 2013, the Milton-Keynes-based-manufacturer never managed to come close to Mercedes’s dominance in the field. Verstappen’s 2020 teammate, Alex Albon, couldn’t keep up with the pressure he was under and was dropped at the end of the season to make place for Perez. Sister team Alpha Tauri was set to sign Yuki Tsunoda to replace Daniil Kvyat

Photo credits: Marca

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes decided to keep everyone on their toes. His contract with the Constructor’s Championship titleholders expired at the end of the 2020 season. No one thought Hamilton was gonna retire, especially ahead of the 2022 FIA regulation change. Contract negotiations went down for over a year at Mercedes with the British champion only signing at the beginning of February. Lewis Hamilton is officially giving becoming the most successful Formula 1 driver ever a shot. He equaled Michael Schumacher, can he beat his seven titles as well?

Photo credits: Sky Sports

Speaking of Schumacher, his son Mick will make his debut in the pinnacle of motorsport with Haas F1 Team. After having Romain Grosjean since their first appearance in the sport in 2016 and Kevin Magnussen since 2017, the South Tyrolean team principal Günther Steiner decided that the American manufacturer needed a refreshed driver lineup. It will be the first time after 2012 that F1 will see the Schumacher last name on the grid. Mick will be paired with the troublesome Nikita Mazepin, who has had controversies surround him in recent times. Will Haas score better results with an all-rookie driver lineup?

And last but not least important, Fernando Alonso is making his F1 return after leaving McLaren in 2018. The Spaniard will be joining the team that aided him to win his two Driver’s Championship titles, Renault. The French manufacturer will be called Alpine from 2021, their supercar brand department. 

Photo credits: Diario AS

A full-circle moment. Ricciardo leaving Renault pushed Alonso towards rejoining the pinnacle of motorsport. We never know what to expect from the silly-season. What can we await from the manufacturers? We’ll find out in March when the 2021 championship will finally get underway. 

Before cars became computers

By Daphne Seberich

Let’s settle this debate once and for all. Hamilton versus Schumacher: A topic that fires up fans and ruins friendships. Who is right you may ask? Well, there are no doubts for me. 

Before cars became computers, like German journalist Walter Koster said in a press conference in 2014, racing still had excitement and passion. With KERS, DRS and all the different components of a modern Formula car, who can tell the difference between the driver’s and the car’s efforts? What are the variables of modern racing? The tires? Oh, please. Who can say to have driven in three different teams, have won podiums and set fastest laps for all of them? There’s only one guy that comes to my mind and his name is Michael Schumacher

Photo credits: Sky Sports & Lecce News 24

Why is he the greatest of all time you ask? Well, it’s obvious: Michael Schumacher won during an era where the difference was made by the driver, not by the car. He won twice with Benetton; 5 years in a row with Ferrari

“Lewis Hamilton won with McLaren and with Mercedes, so that’s not an argument”, you’d say. Well, if you really know something about Formula 1 then you’d also know the “Spygate” scandal that surrounded McLaren as a “Ferrari-copycat” team during the 2007 season when the British driver was a contender for the world championship. Hamilton’s 2008 world title is stained by the mishap of his team, as the cars that year didn’t get major updates compared to the previous season.  

Photo credits: Automoto.it

In addition to that, the Mercedes domination has been over seven seasons long and is still going strong. It started with the 2014 regulation changes that pushed hybridization of the then-newly introduced V6 engine. It continued in 2020 with the introduction of the innovative DAS (Dual Axis System). Mercedes always had the upper hand since then. Either by having the most dominating engine or the most advanced aerodynamic balance out of all the teams. 

The only real challenger Hamilton had the past seven years was Silver Arrows teammate Nico Rosberg before his retirement from the sport after his only world championship title in 2016. Since then he never had a real challenger for the top spot.

Did you make up your mind? No matter what team you cheer on or which driver is your favorite, the facts talk for themselves. 

Before cars became computers, Formula 1 was all about the drivers. Can you say the same of it now?

Photo credits: F1

Abu Dhabi and the Silly Season – a 2020 Formula 1 recap

Max Verstappen wins under the flashing lights of the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to conclude the 2020 Formula 1 season. The last race of the year brought many goodbyes, but the silly season is not over.

Photo credits: XPB/Press Association Images

By Daphne Seberich

It is sorrowful to see a Formula 1 season come to an end, but this one hasn’t been a common one by any means. After the whole world shut down in March, Formula 1 and Liberty Media had to take action and stop the racing for what would feel like endless time. Chase Carey and the FIA went through thick and thin to be able to organize a race calendar with enough races to call this season a championship

On the 5th of July, the Formula 1 world picked up their drills and tires to begin what would be a 17-race championship in 2020 – impressive I’d say, regarding the fact that we are still midst a pandemic. 

Mercedes showed right from the start that their W11 would be hard – if not impossible – to beat. Only three times this season, a non-Mercedes-powered car managed to win a Grand Prix – the RB16 and the Alpha Tauri, driven by the one and only Mad Max and by blessed first-time race winner Pierre Gasly. 

Photo credits: Verstappen.com

The whole race weekend, Red Bull demonstrated to have superior pace on the Yas Marina Circuit, a track that in recent years has only been won by Mercedes. Max Verstappen didn’t disappoint and went on to win the last race of the year, finishing third in the drivers’ championship.

Being the last race of the season as well, it is a point in time where some paths meet or separate. From Monday on, everything changes. Throw the old out, bring in the new. For some, it’s only a matter of changing team. For others, it’s a permanent goodbye from Formula 1. In the case of Sainz, Ricciardo, Vettel and Fernando Alonso, they will be joining their respective new home in the pinnacle of motorsport. 

The nr. 55 driver will leave the team with whom he shared his first podium, as well as legendary teammate Lando Norris at McLaren. 

Photo credits: Fox Sports & Autoweek

Stepping into his footsteps will be Daniel Ricciardo, which can be considered extremely lucky to be part of the British team right at the time they will switch to the Mercedes power-unit, the most powerful on the grid. 

Having been kicked-out of Ferrari even before the season had begun, Sebastian Vettel had to take a crucial decision: whether to continue racing or not. He was looking for a team with potential, someone with whom he could win races. Which better team than Racing Point, future Aston Martin Racing, to move on to.

Photo credits: Il Faro Online

Their 2020 car has been in the spotlight for its controversy. Many saw the resemblance to the 2019 Mercedes W10 car, which explained their sudden boost in performance from one year to the other. Whether it has been replicated or not still remains uncertain. 

With Sebastian Vettel signing for Racing Point, someone had to leave the team. Unfortunately, it was the case of Sakhir GP-winner Sergio Perez, who heard through the walls of his hotel room in Monza that he was going to be laid off by team owner Lawrence Stroll. 

That proves that the F1 world can be cruel sometimes. Even though Checo Perez close the 2020 drivers’ championship in fourth place, his career-best result, he now doesn’t have a seat for next season

Photo credits: Getty Images

His hopes for a contract now lay in Red Bull’s hands, which still haven’t come to a conclusion over who will be driving next to Max Verstappen in the RB17. Alex Albon’s fluctuating performance has brought up whether he’s the right one to fulfill the second driver role the Austrian team needs. The chances, although, are very slim for Checo. Never did Red Bull look for and sign a driver outside of their talent program. 

Goodbyes were said at Haas. Magnussen and Grosjean will leave the team after  respectively being four and five years at the American racing company. They will hand their seats over to two young drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, the last one of the two being part of a controversial sexual assault case, which Haas said would be dealt with internally. 

And finally, the last big question mark is: Will Lewis Hamilton remain in Formula 1? There still hasn’t been reached an agreement between Mercedes and the 7-time world champion. His future at Mercedes is linked to Toto Wolff’s. Their fate will be decided  sooner or later with the heads of the German manufacturer. The possibility of not seeing LH44 in his Silver Arrows seat next season, although, is very unlikely.

Photo credits: Pio Deportes

In 97 days, Formula 1 will return in Melbourne, Australia. Until then, the silly season will keep us entertained, before lights-out will make our hearts race again and skip a beat for the pinnacle of motorsport in March. 

The uncertain future and fate of Perez and Russell

Sergio Perez won the Sakhir GP after being involved in a first-lap incident and having to recover from P20. Will his performance convince Red Bull to give him a seat for 2021? George Russell dominated the race, but a fatal mishap done by Mercedes put an end to his victory hopes.

Photo credits: The Telegraph

By Daphne Seberich

Checo Perez’s maiden victory feels like revenge. After being kicked out of Racing Point (former Force India, which survived a financial crisis thanks to him) and being replaced by Sebastian Vettel, even though he was under contract until 2023, the Mexican proved to deserve a seat in Formula 1. Why did Racing Point even consider ending Perez’s contract after all he did for the team? Why did Vettel not take Stroll’s place? Why did Racing Point not choose the strongest driver lineup they could possibly have?

The answer is easy: Lance Stroll is the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll. Even though the Canadian proved to be in good shape this season, being awarded third place in Monza and Bahrain at the Sakhir GP, as well as a pole position in Turkey, he can’t even come close to what Checo has achieved. He was the runner-up at the Turkish GP and almost earned a back-to-back podium last week in Bahrain if it wasn’t for his Mercedes engine failing on the second-to-last lap.

Are other teams interested in signing him? His options are only two: Red Bull offering him Alex Albon’s seat or taking a sabbatical. 

Formula 1 can be cruel and unfair. That is the case for Checo Perez. Helmut Marko and Christian Horner will have to rethink their driver lineup after today. The Mexican deserves to stay in the circus. They would be insane to keep Albon after the disappointing season he had. Yes. He did get on the podium two times this season, but his consistency can’t compare to Perez’s.

It’s time for Red Bull to look outside of their driver pool and give Max Verstappen a challenge. If they really want to be a championship contender next season and finally end Mercedes’s winning streak, the Mexican is the answer to their dilemma.

Photo credits: MomentoGP

There were talks already between Horner and Albon, which, in the case of Red Bull signing the nr. 11 driver, would become the Austrian Formula 1 team’s reserve driver, which is probably what he deserves anyway. The call the Thai driver got to the top, replacing Pierre Gasly at Red Bull, was premature. 

A sabbatical could mean the end of Sergio Perez’s career in Formula 1. Nico Hülkenberg, another racer rejected by the circus, portrayed his qualities, jumping in for Checo when he tested positive for Covid-19. Still, he didn’t get any offer to drive for a team next season. 

On the other side, George Russell, which replaced Lewis Hamilton in his W11, proved to deserve the promotion to the championship-winning team. After qualifying second, only 0.026 behind teammate Valtteri Bottas on his first drive in the new car, the Brit had a brilliant start overtaking the poleman to take the lead of the pack, an unusual scenario for the Williams driver. His dominance was unthinkable. Russell started from the dirty side of the track, which usually disadvantages the drivers that qualify as an even number. 

At some point, I was wondering if Hamilton was driving the car. Russell’s pace was unmatched. Lap after lap, the Brit proved consistently to be faster than Bottas, opening the gap to the Finn to three seconds in twenty laps. His first tire change advantaged him substantially, even though there was a scary moment when his Mercedes lost power, a sensor problem that thankfully got easily fixed.

What changed the Brit’s fate was the double pit-stop that the Mercedes mechanics didn’t manage well. Russell stopped first, but due to an oversight of the team, the tires that were mounted onto his car weren’t the correct ones: he was driving on a set of mediums that belonged to Bottas. The Mercedes mechanics soon figured the mishap out. Instead of following the same mistake with the Finn’s car, they just remounted the same tire he used for his previous twenty laps. What a mess.

Due to the incorrect tires that were fitted onto the W11, the Mercedes Junior driver had to pit once again to not have to undergo a penalty. Russell lost the lead of the race and found himself behind the nr. 77 driver in 5th place, although on a fresher set of tires. He quickly swept through the field to regain his merit, but the odds were not in his favor. A rear-left puncture forced the former Williams driver to switch to another set of tires and to work his way up the field from P15. What a pity.

Although Lady Luck wasn’t on George Russell’s side, he demolished the drivers ahead of him, finishing the race in P9. 

Photo credits: Corriere

Fate was on Perez’s side today, but both drivers deserved the win. What does the future hold for the two drivers? Will Checo stay in Formula 1 next season? In my opinion, he deserves to be part of the pinnacle of motorsport.

Will Russell get the call up to Mercedes for 2021? Not likely, but he proved the whole world to merit to drive in Formula 1 and for a top team. George is a brilliant driver and can withstand the comparison to other youngsters like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. They are the future of racing. 

This race was on fire. Literally.

It was an eventful race held in Bahrain, characterized by one of the most frightening accidents since Jules Bianchi’s deadly crash in Suzuka. Romain Grosjean shunned death by a hair’s breadth, being surrounded by charring flames while his car was split in half against the guardrail.

By Daphne Seberich

An angel was watching over Romain Grosjean in Bahrain. He escaped the fire evoked by crashing into Daniil Kvyat’s front left tire. Incredulous, the Russian looked over and over into his right mirror, realizing the consequences their contact had. A ball of fire, an explosion: a frightening sight that provoked chills and apprehension to the whole world watching the race. Firemen surrounded the car in flames, attempting to save the driver from a dreadful end. Soon after, the Frenchman’s hand was spotted in the fire, asking for help, fighting for his life. With a shoe missing and his hands burned, the Haas driver jumped out of the blaze, in pain but still alive. Romain was taken right away to the medical center to ascertain his conditions, which are now stable. 

Photo credits: Motorsport.com

Motorsport is dangerous. That is clear for all the drivers. They are risking their lives every time they jump into the death machines that are Formula 1 cars. Last year Antoine Hubert lost his life in Belgium. It could’ve been Grosjean’s last breath if it wasn’t for the halo technology introduced in 2018. If the modern F1 cars weren’t as safe as they are now, this would’ve turned out to be a tragic day for motorsport. 

After a 45-minute red flag circumstance, the race restarted from the grid. Hamilton had a blazing start, securing the lead of the race. Meanwhile, at the back of the field, Stroll found himself upside down on the tarmac due to contact with- you guessed it- Daniil Kvyat. It surely wasn’t his best day. The image of the flipped pink car reminded me of the last race of 2018 in Abu Dhabi, when Nico Hulkenberg and his Renault were in the same conditions, hanging from the guardrail “like a cow”. After not even a lap racing, the safety car had to make its way onto the track, setting the pace for the drivers still competing while the marshals removed the Racing Point from the circuit. 

Photo credits: Eurosport

As the race kicked-off once again, many drivers had to fight hard to regain the positions lost due to Stroll’s accident. The one that was advantaged from it the most was Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who found himself from P12 to P7 in the matter of one lap. His future teammate at the Italian Scuderia, Carlos Sainz, wasn’t too keen on surrendering his spot to the prancing horse driver. An exquisite fight evolved between the two youngsters, exciting the fans at home and fueling their enthusiasm for the 2021 season, where they’ll compete in the same car.

Even though Sainz was on the least performing tire, his brilliant driving ability granted him to run on the soft compound for over 20 laps, which no one else did. Leclerc’s inferior power unit allowed the Spaniard to overtake the Monegasque, permitting him to regain the position he had lost. Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of the technical inferiority of the Ferrari as well, chasing Leclerc until a DRS zone enabled him to breeze by the Italian car.

Sainz was literally “on fire”, overtaking everyone with such ease and class. He recovered from P15 al the way to P6, surprising everyone, especially since he was running on the most unusual tire strategy.

Another great fight between teammates was the one between Ricciardo and Ocon, battling it out for P8. The Aussie requested team orders to be set in place. His race pace was superior to the one of the French, which didn’t take it too well. 

A surprising turn of events saw P3 holder and fan-favorite Checo Perez retire on the 55th lap of the race due to an engine problem of his Mercedes power-unit. The race finished under the safety car, prohibiting the podium fight between Lewis Hamilton and the two Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, who subsequently completed the podium. 

Photo credits: Sky Sport Italy

Next week Formula 1 will be back in Bahrain, although racing on a new track layout, similar to an Indycar oval. God willing, Romain Grosjean will be back in his car racing for Haas. Hopefully, we won’t see any accident like this ever again. 

Photo credits: News24