Formula 1

2021 Formula 1 Silly Season Synopsis – Update No. 5

By: Ashley McCubbin

With just a month left this year and the 2020 Formula 1 Champion already crowned, you’d think there would be some driver announcements to discuss. However, that is not the case as the final four rides on the grid have yet to be determined.

One of those that has been assumed from the beginning to happen, just a matter of time in relation to the contract, is Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. Everything still points in that regards to coming together as suggested. After all, boss Toto Wolff stated just two days ago he feels the combination of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton “works well,” as they are able to each put together solid performances for the team.

However, that doesn’t mean we should be getting an announcement in the next couple of weeks, with Wolff predicting it will come “towards the end of the year,” adding there’s no pressure to get it done sooner.

“I always acknowledge what is important for him, and try to understand what puts him in a good place,” said Wolff. “I’m always supportive of his various interests, like fashion where we have allowed him to do the travelling the world [to promote it], and he’s been the best himself since he started. It’s [the contract] not complex, I acknowledge where he’s coming from to have a better work life balance. It’s hard for all of us with the travelling.”

And for those who thought he would be ready to move on after completing another page in the history books, not so fast.

“I feel like I’m only just getting started, it’s really weird,” said Hamilton. “I feel physically in great shape and mentally, this year’s been I know for so many people out there, this year’s been the hardest year probably for millions of people, and I know things always look great here and on the big stage but it’s no different for us athletes. This has been a challenge that I didn’t know how to get through.”

Sergio Perez also would like to continue his chapter in Formula 1, despite being let go from Aston Martin (formally Racing Point) in trade of Sebastian Vettel. However, he recognizes landing an opportunity is “not in my hands,” and rather focused on doing as well as he can to close the 2020 campaign. He also admitted he’s okay if he has to step away from the year, too.

“[Regarding] if it’s an injustice on missing out, I think it’s part of Formula 1, I always knew this is how it is. I can call myself privileged, I have had a great career, 10 years in F1 up to now,” he commented. “If it’s the case I have to leave the sport, I can leave with a lot of pride as I’ve delivered with the material that I have had. Not many people can have such a career. So we’ll see what happens but I’m at peace with myself.”

You could also be seeing Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean off the grid in 2021 after being let go from Haas F1 Team. They both confirmed they have had conversations with various NTT IndyCar Series teams as those rides are finalized for 2021.

“As I’ve said many times, IndyCar is something that is very high on my list and I’ve always been a fan, so I’d love to try it,” said Magnussen. “My dad’s been racing in America for about 20 years, and I’ve spent a lot of time over there and I just really like being in America. So I think that would suit me pretty well… It’s a challenge that I would get really excited about.

Red Bull also has a decision to make in regards to their second seat, but is rather focused on another pressing issue in having an engine manufacture lined up. After all, they have expressed belief it won’t change anyway.

“I think our preferred option would be to continue with the power unit that is in the car next year, obviously rebadged as something else,” said team boss Christian Horner. “If we can make an agreement with Honda regarding the use of the IP and product moving forward it would be a great shame to see those engines just in a warehouse somewhere in Japan, so subject to what the regulations are, it would be the preferred route would be to find an agreement to continue with those power units.”

 

Current Formula 1 Grid

  • Mercedes – Valterri Bottas, TBD
  • Ferrari – Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz
  • Red Bull – Max Verstappen, TBD
  • McLaren – Daniel Riccardo, Lando Norris
  • Alpine (formally Renault) – Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso
  • Aston Martin (formally Racing Point) – Sebastian Vettel
  • Williams – George Russell, Nikolas Latifi
  • Alpha Tauri – Pierre Gasly, TBD
  • Alfa Romeo – Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi
  • Haas F1 Team – TBD

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