The extension of Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes seals the twenty places of the 2021 Formula 1 grid. Although this was to be a mere transition season ahead of the new ‘Continental Circus’ era coming up in 2022, only three of the ten teams are keeping last year’s line-up.
These are Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton – Valtteri Bottas), Alfa Romeo (Kimi Raikkonen – Antonio Giovinazzi) and Williams (George Russell – Nicholas Latifi). As for the new faces on the track this year we have debutants Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri), Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher (Haas F1 Team), while Fernando Alonso will return after a two-year absence.
Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri), Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen (Haas F1 Team), on the other hand, all left Formula One at the end of last season.
Mercedes: After their eight team and driver titles
Owing to their last-minute contractual arrangement, the Briton will fight for his eighth individual crown as well as for the eighth team title for Mercedes. For the fifth consecutive year (2017-2021) he will have the Finn Valtteri Bottas as a partner.
Red Bull: A duet to keep Mercedes on its toes
Red Bull will have one of the strongest driver pairs of the grid. The talent of Max Verstappen will be joined by the steady rhythm of Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for the Mexican driver, who found himself without a seat after losing his place at Racing Point at the end of 2020.
Ferrari: A great opportunity for Carlos Sainz
The departure of Sebastian Vettel after six years (2016-2020) without a crown, opened the doors of the Maranello team for Carlos Sainz. Despite La Scuderia not going through its best moment, it is still a great step up for the Spaniard.
Together with his teammate, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, they will form one of the youngest ever pairs to race for the Prancing Horse.
McLaren: A new engine (Mercedes) and driver (Ricciardo)
The Woking team is hoping to continue its upward trend and, to that effect, it has incorporated two important changes. On the one hand, it has signed Mercedes back as its engine supplier, a manufacturer that has earned it some titles in the past with McLaren. On the other, they have hired the Australian Daniel Ricciardo to partner with their Englishman, Lando Norris.
Alpine F1 Team: Alonso is back
There are exciting times ahead for the former Renault F1 Team. The French team has signed Fernando Alonso to take them to the top. The two-time champion returns to the competition after a two-year hiatus, and brings with him his renewed hunger for success and an enviable state of form. The Spaniard will have the French Esteban Ocon as partner.
Aston Martin: A new project leaded by Sebastien Vettel
It is the end of an era and the beginning of a another one for Sebastian Vettel who leaves Ferrari (2015-2020) and embarks on the Aston Martin project, formerly Racing Point, in the hope of getting back his lost punch. The four-time German champion will line-up with Lance Stroll, the team owner’s son.
Alpha Tauri: To keep on growing
The team from Faenza will count again with Pierre Gasly amongst its ranks. Supported by his unexpected win of the 2020 Emilia Romagna GP, the French driver will remain in Alpha Tauri for another season. There, he will be joined by Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who is replacing the Russian Daniil Kvyat.
Haas: Two rookies and a penniless team
Haas has finally let go of its controversial driver pair after four seasons (2017-2020) together. The French Romain Grosjean and the Danish Kevin Magnussen will thus give way to the very wealthy Russian Nikita Mazepin and the son of the Red Baron, Mick Schumacher.
Alfa Romeo: Same faces
The team from Hinwil will keep the same line-up for the third consecutive season (2019-2021) with Italian Antonio Giovinazzi and the unrelenting 41-year-old Finn Kimi Raikkonen, 2007 world champion.
Williams: No changes but with Russell
There will neither be any changes this year as far Williams’ drivers are concerned. The Canadian Nicholas Latifi and the English George Russell are back together at one of the most successful teams in history, albeit one that is struggling to move up from the last position of the grid.
2021 Formula 1 grid: F1.