The 2021 F1 Season – A Handy Guide

2019 Japanese Grand Prix, Sunday - Wolfgang Wilhelm

After a disrupted 2020 season (thanks Covid), F1 looks like it’s getting back to normal for 2021. We were meant to have the new regulations in play this year, but due to the impact of the global pandemic, the podcast joke of 2021 happening late has sadly come true. This means that most of this years cars are more like upgrades of the ones we eventually got to see on track in 2020, with not many changes, although McLaren have now started using Mercedes power and the team formally known as Racing Point (and Force India, Spyker, Midland & Jordan) are now known as Aston Martin.

This season features the same 10 teams as last year, with a new name for the Racing Point team, now being branded as Aston Martin after the chairman Lawrence Stroll bought the legendary British sports car marque and Renault re-branding as their high performance brand Alpine. We’ve got 3 rookies on the grid in Mick Schumacher & Nikita Mazepin  both driving for Haas and Yuki Tsunoda in the Alpha Tauri, with Fernando Alonso returning after 3 years of racing in various other series. Drivers we won’t be seeing on the grid this year are both Haas pilots from the last few years, Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen, who have gone to IndyCar and IMSA respectively, Daniil Kvyat, who has left the RedBull organisation for the 2nd time and will be spending the 2021 season as a reserve driver for the French Alpine team. Alex Albon has also left the grid after a torrid 2020 season with RedBull who will continue to employ him as a test & development driver. After last year where 8 teams retained the same lineup as the previous season, only 3 teams (Mercedes, Alfa Romeo & Williams) have kept the same driver lineup across seasons.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team – Car F1 W12 – Engine: Mercedes

  • 44 Lewis Hamilton (HAM)
  • 77 Vatteri Bottas (BOT)

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow – Car SF21 – Engine: Ferrari

  • 16 Charles Leclerc (LEC)
  • 55 Carlos Sainz (SAI)

Uralkali Haas F1 Team – Car VF-21 – Engine: Ferrari

  • 9 Nikita Mazepin (MAZ) – Rookie
  • 47 Mick Schumacher (MSC) – Rookie

McLaren F1 Team – Car: MCL35M – Engine: Mercedes

  • 2 Lando Norris (NOR)
  • 3 Daniel Ricciardo (RIC)

Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team- Car: AMR21 – Engine: Mercedes

  • 5 Sebastian Vettel (VET)
  • 18 Lance Stroll (STR)

RedBull Racing Honda – Car: RB16B – Engine: Honda

  • 11 Sergio Perez (PER)
  • 33 Max Verstappen (VER)

Alpine F1 Team – Car: A521- Engine: Renault

  • 14 Fernando Alonso (ALO)
  • 31 Esteban Ocon (OCO)

Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen – Car: C41 – Engine: Ferrari

  • 7 Kimi Raikkonen (RAI)
  • 99 Antonio Giovinazzi (GIO)

Scuderia Alpha Tauri Honda – Car: AT02 – Engine: Honda

  • 10 Pierre Gasly (GAS)
  • 22 Yuki Tsunoda (TSU) – Rookie

Williams Racing – Car: FW43B – Engine: Mercedes

  • 63 George Russell (RUS)
  • 6 Nicholas Latifi (LAT)

Testing is limited during the season with the majority of tests being for the new 2022 tyre compounds and 18″ wheelsand we expect the usual young drivers test to take place in early December after the last race in Abu Dhabi

Pre Season:

  • Bahrain Feb 12-14

Tyre Tests:

  • TBC

Young Drivers Test

  • Abu Dhabi (TBC)

As of March 20th, F1 is finally set to have the record 23 race season that it wasn’t able to run last year, with the Dutch Grand Prix finally making its debut after the 2020 cancellation. There is currently no race scheduled at the Vietnam circuit that was another casualty of the global situation last year, but another race will be making its first appearance on the calendar this year with a street race in Saudi Arabia being announced for late in the season. Circuits returning from last year that weren’t on the original calendar are Imola and the Portuguese circuit in Portimao.

One major change that has been proposed for this year is that 3 events will have sprint races on Saturdays to replace the usual 1 hour qualifying session. This is dependant on approval by the teams as this would have an effect on power train componant use and parc ferme restrictions. Other changes include the weekend starting on Friday (Thursday in Monaco)  with all media duties moving to Friday and shorter practice times (60 instead of 90 minute sessions for FP1 & FP2).

The support series for this year will be the Porsche Supercup, F2, F3 and new for this season W Seriees will be supporting F1 at 8 events between June and October. F2 & F3 will now alternate with each other at 8 events each with 3 races each weekend as a cost saving measure.

Currently the calendar looks like this as of the 20th of March

Round Race Circuit FP1 & FP2 FP3 & Qualifying Race
1 Bahrain Grand Prix Bahrain International Circuit 26 March 27 March 28 March
2 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Imola Circuit 16 April 17 April 18 April
3 Portuguese Grand Prix Algarve International Circuit Portimao 31 April 1 May 2 May
4 Spanish Grand Prix Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 7 May 8 May 9 May
5 Monaco Grand Prix Circuit de Monaco Monte Carlo (Thursday) 20 May 22 May 23 May
6 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Baku City Circuit 4 June 5 June 6 June
7 Canadian Grand Prix Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 11 June 12 June 13 June
8 French Grand Prix Circuit Paul Ricard 25 June 26 June 27 June
9 Austrian Grand Prix RedBull Ring 2 July 3 July 4 July
10 British Grand Prix Silverstone Circuit 16 July 17 July 18 July
11 Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring 30 July 31 July 1 August
12 Belgian Grand Prix Circuit de Spa-Francochamps 27 August 28 August 29 August
13 Dutch Grand Prix Circuit Zandvoort 3 September 4 September 5 September
14 Italian Grand Prix Monza Circuit 10 September 11 September 12 September
15 Russian Grand Prix Sochi Autodrome 24 September 25 September 26 September
16 Singapore Grand Prix Marina Bay Street Circuit 1 October 2 October 3 October
17 Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka International Racing Course 8 October 9 October 10 October
18 United States Grand Prix Circuit Of The Americas 22 October 23 October 24 October
19 Mexico City Grand Prix Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez 29 October 30 October 31 October
20 Sao Paolo Grand Prix Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (Interlagos) 5 November 6 November 7 November
21 Australian Grand Prix Albert Park Circuit 19 November 20 November 21 November
22 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Jeddah Street Circuit 3 December 4 December 5 December
23 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Marina Circuit 10 December 11 December 12 December

There have been a few rule tweaks this season to cut back on downforce and reduce speeds in the interest of safety, but for the most part things will be similar to 2020 ahead of the major rules shakeup in 2021. One change is that Mercedes’ DAS system has been outlawed for 2021 

For the 2nd year in a row the same compounds of tyres from will be kept on due to a lack of safe testing times for new compounds during the Covid affected 2020 season.

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