Motorsport Uncategorized

Quartararo Becomes MotoGP Champion, Ogier Retains WRC Title & More: 2021 Motorsport Wrap-up

For the second year running, most of the top formats in motorsport had the title decided well before the end of the 2021 Formula 1 season. This year, it’s more understandable as it went down to the wire for F1 with the last race in mid-December. While the Auto Loons does not follow these other championships with a keen eye, it’s good to know who came out on top in their respective motorsport at the end of the season. Here’s a quick recap of who won what:

World Rally Championship 2021

Sebastian Ogier did it again. The Frenchman added an 8th World Rally Championship title to his cabinet by the end of the 2021 season driving the Toyota Yaris and winning 5 of 12 rounds. With teammate Elfyn Evans second in the standings, Toyota secured its second rally title as a manufacturer and well clear of Hyundai. Once the season had concluded, Ogier announced his retirement from full-time rallying along with co-driver Julien Ingrassia retiring from the racing scene for good. With 8 titles in 9 seasons (missed out in 2019 to Ott Tanak), Ogier has cemented his legacy in motorsport. However, we’re likely to see the Frenchman compete in other formats in the future. With Ogier out and a new era of rally cars coming in, 2022 will perhaps be the least predictable season of WRC in a while.

Moto GP 2021

The world title in the premier class of motorcycle racing switched hands once again and the 2021 season was won by Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman replaced Valentino Rossi in the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP factory team after a decent stint the previous year with Petronas Yamaha SRT (a satellite team). With Marc Marquez still recovering from an injury-riddled 2020, the 2021 MotoGP season was open to many worthy riders including defending champion Joan Mir. The most dominant bike of the year was clearly the Ducati with its straight-line speed but Fabio was exceptionally quick on his Yamaha. He is also the first non-Spaniard to have won the MotoGP title in the last decade. 

There were 8 different race winners in 2021 and Quartararo won 5 of the 18 races this season. He also finished on the podium in 5 other races. His closest contender was Ducati-rider Francesco Bagnaia but a rough patch in the middle of the season allowed Fabio to pull away at the top of the standings. The Yamaha rider secured the 2021 World Champion on Round 16 of 18 at the Emilia Romagna MotoGP after Bagnaia crashed out. The Italian did manage to win the last two races of the season to help the Ducati Lenovo team secure the Constructor’s and the Team’s championship titles. 

Marc Marquez competed in only 14 races in the 2021 season, DNF’ed in 4 of them, and won 3. He classified 7th in the Rider’s standings while his Repsol Honda teammate, Pol Espargaro, was 11th.

The end of the 2021 season was bittersweet for Yamaha fans and motorsport fans in general as it also marked the end of Valentino Rossi’s career in MotoGP. The Italian legend leaves a remarkable legacy behind as a global icon with 7 premier class titles over his 21-year stint including 89 wins. Some may argue that he should have retired a lot sooner as a rider not far from his prime but his extended stay has helped many lives, on and off the track. 

Formula 2 2021

Some may call Formula 2 the understudy of Formula 1, formerly known as GP2. It usually decides who will get pushed through to the highest level in open-wheel single-seater racing. In 2021, Oscar Piastri managed to clinch the F2 driver’s title in his rookie year driving for Prema Racing, following in the footsteps of Charles Leclerc. The F2 season follows a different format than F1 with two types of races in each round: Sprint and Feature. In total, there were 8 rounds with 3 races each. Piastri won a total of 6 races and made it to the podium in 5 others. Despite a slow start to his campaign, the Aussie was able to climb to the top with consistent performances in the second half of the season. The rest of the races were won by a variety of drivers, allowing Oscar to secure the title with two races to spare. The runner-up in the driver’s championship was Piastri’s teammate, Robert Shwartzman, which helped secure Prema another win in the F2 Team’s Championship.

Despite his success, Piastri has not earned a spot on the F1 grid for next year but he has been signed by Alpine as the team’s reserve driver. Meanwhile, the more experienced Guanyu Zhou who finished third in the championship will be driving for Alfa Romeo F1 in 2022, replacing Antonio Giovinazzi.

Formula-E (2020-21)

Yes, the electric single-seater racing series is alive and well! The seventh season of Formula-E was the first time it officially became an FIA World Championship. A lot of drivers swapped teams and new names joined the all-electric grid in 2021. It was a relatively short season due to the pandemic, with 15 races being wrapped up by August itself and many venues hosting doubleheaders. The Formula-E standings were quite diverse with 11 different race winners which led to a tightly contested championship. In the end, Nick de Vries was crowned world champion with two race wins and two other podium results in the season, driving for the Mercedes-EQ team. His teammate Stoffel Vanoorne performed well enough with a win and two podiums to help get Mercedes the constructor’s title in electric racing as well. 

The next season of Formula E will also introduce the Gen-3 racecars. It’ll be starting early with the first race towards the end of January.

That’s it for the 2021 motorsport round-up. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and our socials to keep up with our latest updates and more.

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