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. 

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. 

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.