As we move into 2021 and start to look forward to the new F1 season, we thought we would put together an article on some of the main changes and what to look out for in F1 2021.
Team Name Changes
Two teams will change name for the 2021 F1 season
Renault will become “Alpine F1 Team”
Racing Point will become ”Aston Martin Formula One Team”
Driver Lineup Changes
Four current drivers will change teams for 2021, we will also see three new drivers promoted from F2 along with one returning driver in none other than Fernando Alonso.
After a shock announcement at the start of the 2020 season that Ferrari would not resign Sebastian Vettel, he will now drive for Aston Martin. Vettel’s move left Sergio Perez looking for a new seat which he finally secured with Red Bull.
Carlos Sainz Jr takes the empty seat at Ferrari with his place at McLaren secured by Daniel Ricciardo.
Making a comeback to the team in which he secured 2 World Championships is Fernando Alonso who will replace Ricciardo at Alpine (formally Renault)
2021 will also see three rookies move up the ranks from F2. Yuki Tsunoda who will replace Danil Kyvat in Alpha Tauri. Tsunoda is joined by Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher who make up an all new, all rookie, line up at Haas.
Power Unit Changes
For the first time since 2014 McLaren will be supplied with a Mercedes PU. McLaren struggled between 2015-2017 with Honda before making the change to Renault for the 2018-2020 season’s as they slowly made their climb back up the Constructors table.
Formula 1 have announced an ambitious 23 race calendar for 2021 which includes two new circuits.
Dutch GP – For the first time in 35 years F1 will return to Circuit Zandvort in the Netherlands. Originally planned for 2019 return but due to Covid this was one of the Many races cancelled.
Saudi Arabia GP – 2021 will see F1 visit Saudi Arabia for the first time with the GP held in Jeddah. The track layout which will initially be a street circuit, before moving on to a purpose built track in the future, has not yet been confirmed.
With F1’s main regulation changes postponed until 2022, This year we will see the introduction of the infamous Team Cost Cap. This will be set at $145 million, reducing to $140 million in 2022 and $135 million in 2023.
The cost cap covers every aspect of running a team, albeit with some rather notable exceptions. Items exempt from the cost cap include but are not limited to, Driver salaries, marketing costs and salaries of the three highest earning members of the team.
Initially set to take place in the usual setting of Barcelona, due to the postponement of the opening race in Australia, F1 winter testing will now take place in Bahrain.
In line with F1’s cost cutting measures Testing this year will be restricted to just 3 days between March 12th – March 14th allowing drivers just 1.5 days each to familiarise themselves with the car.
F1 has increased the number of races in 2021 to 23. Although optimistic F1 has already had to adjust this to the ongoing affects of Covid-19. The season opener in Australia and the Chinese GP have already been postponed and rescheduled for later in the year. Bahrain will therefore be the first race taking place on March 26th – March 28th.
F1 were quick to announce the revised calendar and I would almost certainly expect more changes as time goes on.