At the start of 2020, the F1 world was ready for a new generation of cars from 2021 onwards. But then shit hit the fan and we now have a 2021 season that will act as a space filler to catch up on the R&D time lost during various lockdowns across the globe. While the cars will remain mostly unchanged, 7 driver changes have been confirmed for the grid with a few seats still unconfirmed. In the most recent slew of driver updates, no seats have changed hands and in this case, I feel that’s a good thing.
First and foremost, we get to have Kimi on the grid for one more year with Alfa Romeo (Sauber)! He’ll be kept company by current teammate Antonio Giovinazzi who has also shown signs of improvement despite the rushed calendar. The official announcement for Raikkonen was also done in epic fashion on social media:
It’s been a rough year for the Williams racing team and it will be its first new season under new ownership in 2021. There were rumours floating around the team ditching George Russell who still hasn’t scored a championship point in near 2 seasons. However, those were quashed ahead of the Imola GP when team boss Simon Roberts confirmed that Williams was retaining both George and Nicholas Latifi for the 2021 season. They too had a fun way of addressing the rumours and the driver confirmation on Twitter:
Lastly, we have official word from AlphaTauri that they’ll be hanging onto their golden boy Pierre Gasly. While some feel the Frenchman’s 2021 form is more deserving of a Red Bull drive than ever, I think he’s still not ready to handle the pressure of racing at the front with Max Verstappen as your teammate. Fighting for podiums as the underdog is a lot different and unlike racing for a top-tier team where a podium is the LEAST you should be aiming for. To be competing with the once-in-a-generation Max while also trying to stay on the heels of the ridiculously quick Mercedes cars seems to require a more experienced hand (assuming Alex Albon doesn’t keep his seat for 2021). Gasly would have loved to race at the front of the pack of course and is probably more settled in the sport than he was in his last attempt in a Red Bull F1 car. This was his statement in the media interaction during the Imola GP weekend after AlphaTauri confirmed him for 2021:
There are still 6 seats unconfirmed for the 2021 season, one of which will be taken by Lance Stroll in Racing Point alongside new signee Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton hasn’t renewed his contract with Mercedes yet but it might only be a matter of time before it is announced while Red Bull is likely to ditch Albon to hire outside of their Red Bull pool of drivers. AlphaTauri hasn’t confirmed its second driver either while Haas is yet to announce their new lineup after confirming the departure of both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen at the end of the 2020 season.
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