The upcoming Formula 1 season is upon us and we will get to see our favourite drivers embark on a new campaign in less than two weeks from now.
Several teams have already revealed their cars one by one as they enter the new term with renewed hope of winning both the drivers and the constructors’ championship.
Of course Mercedes lead the pack after winning it all in the last few consecutive seasons. But judging on how the rest of the playing field is preparing, this might turn out to be their hardest title defence yet.
Ferrari and Red Bull Racing in particular have done major changes in terms of their cars and management, while the likes of Aston Martin, Renault, and McLaren shouldn’t be overlooked as well.
The first race of the season will be in Bahrain from March 12 to 14. But before we get into the festivities, here are some of our early predictions for the new season here at SBOTOP.
Can Ferrari turn optimism to wins?
It is already well-known that the Scuderia had a year to forget last season, which is why they have nowhere to go but up this time around.
Ferrari opted to go for youth by fielding in Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc as their one-two for this season. And along with their driver change, they are also expected to make a big jump in terms of their car performance.
They have yet to fully reveal on what their car would look like. But given the rich history of the Maranello-based outfit along with their resources, the SF21 should be much improved compared to last year’s model.
Along with their upcoming car, Ferrari also made key personnel changes within.
Enrico Cardile (chassis), Enrico Gualtieri (power unit), Laurent Mekies (racing), and Gianmaria Fulgenzi (supply chain) will all report directly to team principal Mattia Binotto “with the aim of being more effective and efficient in the pursuit of maximum performance.”
Anything less than the best would be very disappointing for Ferrari.
McLaren are bound to win at least one race
Carlos Sainz Jr. came so close to winning his first race in Monza last term. That would’ve been McLaren’s first triumph since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Optimism is evident as McLaren were third in the constructors’ championship after leapfrogging the likes of Renault and Racing Point – who will be named as Alpine and Aston Martin respectively this season.
The English-based outfit is expected to be one of the teams to look out for this season because of their significant investments in their cars and in their drivers.
McLaren confirmed that they will switch to Mercedes as their main power unit supplier, and it’s a shrewd move considering they are the current class-leaders.
With the departure of Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren brought in Daniel Ricciardo as his replacement and his experience would surely come in handy alongside Lando Norris.
Daniel Ricciardo is no stranger to winning races in Formula 1. Assuming everything goes to plan for McLaren, there’s no doubt that they will finally break out of their nine-year drought.
We might see the Sebastian Vettel of old
The four-time champion fell out of grace when he was unceremoniously dumped by Ferrari last season. It was clear that his confidence was shot when the Scuderia weren’t willing to renew him at all.
Now as he moves on to Aston Martin, this offers him a chance to remind everyone his class and expertise. Vettel’s know-how and leadership will also be valuable for teammate Lance Stroll.
Compared to his tumultuous time with Ferrari last season, Sebastian Vettel is free from all the pressure and I am expecting him to rediscover his love for racing which will lead to more positive Formula 1 2021 results.
Red Bull will be a thorn in Mercedes’ side
Red Bull have always provided a genuine challenge for the constructors’ championship in recent years, but can they finally win it all this time around?
If last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is any indication, they can certainly do so but it will involve a whole lot of their A-game and luck.
They recently revealed their new car which is called the RB16, and they’re hopeful that their new model can address some of their performance deficiencies last season.
Their lack of rear downforce has limited their potential last term, which is why pundits quickly reacted positively to RB16’s new sidepod design that is built to enhance the car’s underfloor flow.
Along with their revamped car, the unique mix of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez should give Red Bull Racing that much-needed consistency to somehow tilt the Formula 1 2021 odds in their favour against the mighty Silver Arrows.
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