As the competition awaits for a major driver shake-up in 2021, only a couple of changes a couple of minor changes are taking place in 2020 Formula 1 grid. In one hand, Canadian Nicolás Latiffi will take Robert Kubica’s place in Williams as George Russell’s new teammate. In the other, French driver Esteban Ocon returns to the competition after a year off, to take Nico Hulkenberg’s seat in Renault.
The two favourite teams (Mercedes and Ferrari) will be keeping the same line-up as in 2019, and so will Haas, Racing Point, Alfa Romeo and McLaren. Red Bull will keep Alex Albon after promoting him mid-season in 2019 in detriment of Pierre Gasly, who will remain in Toro Rosso.
Mercedes: Hamilton and Bottas after the 7th title
To make Lewis Hamilton feel even more comfortable than he already is at Mercedes, the team decided to extend Valtteri Bottas‘ contract at the end of August. That way he would remain in the shadow of the six-time champion over the next season. Mercedes’ goal remains the same, to be the best of the grid and conquer their seventh manufacturer’s title as well as the individual one for their British star.
Ferrari: Vettel vs Leclerc, the civil war is on
Although many were speculating about Sebastian Vettel retiring at the end of the season, he will complete what remains of his contract in the team from Maranello. For the second consecutive year, the German veteran will be measured against the young Charles Leclerc, whom in 2019 has beaten him in number of poles, podiums, victories as well as in the final classification. There is bound to be a bitter internal struggle to lead the team.
Renault: Ocon is back
One of the only two additions to the 2020 Formula 1 grid will be Esteban Ocon. After losing his seat in Force India (Racing Point) in 2018, he returns to the competition with Renault. In the French formation, he will team-up with Australian Daniel Ricciardo.
At his 23 years of age, his speed and energy should give a new lease of life to a somewhat stagnant project. Pushed away by the signing of the Frenchman was Nico Hulkenberg who doesn’t have a seat to go to next season.
Red Bull: Verstappen and Albon
Alex Albon’s consistency has convinced Helmut Marko, he took the right decision when he decided to promote him from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in the middle of the season. Albon has managed to accrue more points in his blue overalls than his teammate Max Verstappen. Despite those great results, the Anglo-Thai driver must still spend a full year next to Verstappen, a test in which most teammates tend to lose out.
Toro Rosso: Kvyat and Gasly, reborn
A curious – and admirable- case is that of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly for the 2020 Formula 1 grid. The Russian and the French drivers have managed to come back from their ashes after being defenestrated by Red Bull and will compete together in the team from Faenza.
Despite having travelled the same path as Albon, but in reverse, Gasly has gone back to its best state of form. One just has to look at the podium he achieved in Brazil, the third in the history of Toro Rosso, after the second obtained by Kvyat four months earlier in Germany..
McLaren: Sainz and Norris to keep on growing
Immersed in a rebuilding process, McLaren is keeping Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris at least until 2020. Both drivers have met the expectations that were deposited on them when they arrived in 2018 after the departure of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
Besides their good performances, the rapport and good relationship between the Spaniard and Englishman have reinforced their position in the team. McLaren is eager to gradually return to the elite and consider their line-up to be their best asset to do so.
Alfa Romeo: Giovinazzi, another chance next to Kimi
Despite the persistent doubts about Antonio Giovinazzi’s performance, the Italian has finally secured the seat of the Alfa Romeo. Giovinazzi and his Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen will, therefore, be in charge again of defending the colours of the Italian-Swiss team. The 40-year-old Scandinavian will bring in his tremendous experience and quality as the Italian driver tries to make some more consistent progress.
Racing Point: Same faces, new challenges
The pink team will not change its line-up after extending its contract with Sergio Pérez for another three years until 2023! Next season will be the Mexican’s second consecutive one competing side by side with Lance Stroll, son of Racing Point’s owner. After an acceptable year in which they have increasingly improved their performance, the team from Silverstone aspires to lead the midfield.
Haas: Four years of Grosjean and Magnussen
Romain Grosjean will remain in the American team after his unexpected contract renewal. Together with Danish driver Kevin Magnussen, they will take on the responsibility of pulling the team out of the hole in which it has fallen. This will be the fourth season together in Haas for both drivers.
Williams: Latiffi will share Russell’s nightmare
Nicolás Latiffi is the other new face on the 2020 Formula 1 grid. The Canadian will become George Russell new partner in Williams, replacing Robert Kubica. The two young drivers are bound to suffer in a team that is going through the worst time in their otherwise successful F1 history.
Images of ‘2020 Formula 1 grid’: F1.com