The 2021 Formula 1 championship is on the cusp of kicking off, but not before the teams reveal their new 2021 cars.
Regulations might have stayed put for the 2021 season after the stunted 2020 championship, but there is plenty of change within the teams, not to mention a change of scenery with the opening round in Melbourne being rescheduled for later in the year, promoting Bahrain as 2021’s opening round.
First up it’s reigning champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas, revealing its new W12 car featuring a familiar livery and driver line up. The recently knighted, reigning and eight-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, will drive beside Valtteri Bottas as the pair attempt to bring home an eighth constructors championship for the team.
Also revealed today is the Aston Martin Racing AMR21. Aston Martin’s new racing outfit has been formed from the previous Racing Point team under the stewardship of Lawrence Stroll, team owner and majority shareholder of Aston Martin. Lance Stroll will continue in his seat from the Racing Point days, but joining him will be Sebastian Vettel. Aston Martin will also continue to use a Mercedes-AMG power unit as the Racing Point team did before.
RenaultSport F1 has also now officially made way for Alpine F1, the rebrand coming to correspond with wider changes within the Renault Group. Renault’s yellow livery has therefore also gone by the wayside, with the new blue livery referencing the iconic racing blue colour associated with Alpine’s motorsport history.
Alpine F1’s driver line up has also changed, with Fernando Alonso making his return to the team that won two drivers and constructors championships in 2005 and 2006. Alonso will join previous Renault driver Esteban Ocon, filling the seat made vacant by Daniel Ricciardo’s jump to McLaren.
Which is where we end up next. McLaren’s new driver line up see’s Daniel Ricciardo join Lando Norris. The orange and blue livery remains with the 2021 MCL35M, but the Renault power unit has now been replaced for one from Mercedes-AMG, rekindling a partnership between the two that took McLaren to its last championship victory in 2008.
Red Bull has debuted its RB16B, the B denoting the subtlety of its updates in being an update of last year’s car. The livery is similarly familiar, but there have been changes inside the cockpit for Red Bull. Behind the wheel, Max Verstappen will be joined by Sergio Perez, who replaces Alex Albon.
Scuderia Ferrari is hoping for a more successful 2021 than its disappointing 2020. Until its contender is revealed in a few weeks, we know little of its new car design, but Ferrari has confirmed a new driver line up, with Carlos Sainz Jr to join Charles Leclarc.
Scuderia AlphaTauri has also revealed its 2021 F1 contender called the AT02. The new navy and white livery looks immediately fresh, and brings about a return to white wheels for the first time in a very long time in F1. Pierre Gasly will be joined in the driver’s seat by Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda. AlphaTauri will also maintain use of a Honda power unit in the last year of it’s factory support, before Red Bull takes command of the project from 2022.
Haas and Williams have yet to announce the official reveal date of its 2021 car, while Alfa Romeo will continue with its Ferrari power unit and the same driver pairing from 2020.
So while the 2021 F1 regulations dictate that the cars will change little for another year until we see the bigger regulation changes due in 2022, there are still plenty of team, driver and calendar changes that promise to make 2021 a must-see season.