After every season in Formula 1, moves are bound to happen. However, this season saw more changes than usual. As drivers say farewell to their former team and hello to their new one, here are my thoughts on the driver changes for the 2021 season.
Sergio Perez → Redbull
Sergio Perez is coming off an impressive 2020 campaign, scoring 125 points and fourth in the driver’s standings. Perez finished in some elite company in 2020, as second only to Lewis Hamilton. He finished with 13 consecutive points finishes. As well he earned his maiden victory in Formula 1 at the Sakhir Grand Prix. He brings a wealth of experience and skill to Redbull which will increase their chances at taking the fight to Mercedes. He will also give his teammate Max Verstappen some serious competition. Perez is easily defined as a man of the people, as everyone in the F1 community was excited to see him receive a seat for the 2021 F1 season. It will be interesting to see how he does in his first season at Redbull.
Sebastian Vettel → Aston Martin Cognizant
Sebastian Vettel had a year to forget in his final season at Ferrari. After years of fighting for a chance at the driver’s championship, he decided to take his talents elsewhere. What better place to go than a brand new team on the grid in Aston Martin Cognizant. Vettel hopes to recreate his successful years in F1, like his time at Redbull. Which saw him won four straight driver’s title championships. Vettel I think will bounce back and give Aston Martin a fighting chance in the midfield battle and could even fight for second place with Redbull. It will be interesting to see how he fairs with his new teammate Lance Stroll who has shown moments of brilliance before.
Daniel Ricciardo → Mclaren
For Daniel Ricciardo, it seems that he changes teams more than Lebron does in the NBA. Originally leaving Red Bull after the 2018 season and heading to Renault for two seasons. He is now taking Carlos Sainz’s spot and will be paired with Lando Norris. Ricciardo is a well-seasoned driver who will help Mclaren along with Norris fight for the third in the Constructors title. Although he’s mostly known as the guy who is always happy and smiling, he does have a killer instinct that he can flip on and fight for a podium week in and week out. Nonetheless, he is a super underrated driver on the grid and I expect him to continue his success next season with Mclaren.
Carlos Sainz → Ferrari
It was known even before the season had begun that Carlos Sainz was heading to Ferrari. However, Sainz might be regretting his move after Ferrari’s performance this season. With Mclaren finishing higher than Ferrari and having much better success at each race. Regardless, Sainz is deserving of this spot after a successful 2020 season with Mclaren. He finished with 105 points and sixth in the driver’s standings. His season included a podium at Monza, which showed why he was the right man for Ferrari. Depending on how Ferrari’s 2021 car performs Sainz could either be looking at fighting for a championship or battling in the mid-field. As he enters his seventh season in Formula 1, he will be looking to make some serious noise.
Fernando Alonso → Alpine Racing
A legend in the Formula 1 community, and a two-time F1 champion. Fernando Alonso is making his return after taking a two-year hiatus. During his break from F1, he took place in the 24 Hours Le Mans winning it twice. While also making an appearance in the Indy 500 finishing 24th. I don’t think he has much left in the tank at 39-years-old and his best days are behind him. However, I could be proven wrong and Alonso could shine one last time. I highly doubt that happening because of Alonso’s age. Plus the fact that Renault didn’t have the best season compared to other midfield teams like Mclaren and Racing Point. Despite the name change, I think it’s going to be tough sledding For Alpine Racing and Alonso this upcoming season.
Yuki Tsunoda → Alpha Tauri
Yuki Tsunoda is one of the few rookies who will be making their F1 debut this upcoming season. After making a rapid ascent from F4 in 2016 to F1 in only four seasons, Tsunoda has caught the eyes of Helmut Marko and Redbull. Last season he showed why he deserves a spot in F1 scoring seven podiums, three wins and finished third behind Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilot. I believe he has a lot of potential at Alpha Tauri and will be exciting to watch him grow under Pierre Gasly. I’m glad he is at Alpha Tauri before jumping right to Redbull as it seems that they [Redbull] tend to show no care for their second driver. I believe that he is going to have a decent season and finish near the middle of the pack in the driver’s standings.
Mick Schumacher → Haas
Mick Schumacher is making his F1 debut and every racing fan could not be more excited. The long history of the Schumacher name and the history that it brings is back in F1. Like father like son, Schumacher will hope to have similar success as his father did over his legendary F1 career. As for Mick Schumacher, he finished his F2 2020 season with 215 points and took home the F2 Championship. I believe that he has the ability to do well in F1, however with the current status of Haas. It is difficult to predict where he will finish in the standings, as many rookies don’t always have the best first year in F1. As well as the fact that Haas did not have the greatest season last year finishing with only three constructor points just ahead of Williams.
Nikita Mazepin → Haas
Nikita Mazepin enters F1 with a target on his back because of a recent video posted on social media that has the racing community up in arms. In the video, Mazepin is seen reaching for a woman’s shirt and grabbing her breast. After the incident, he issued an apology via Twitter and the woman in the video made a statement saying it was a silly joke and they are close friends. Regardless, Mazepin was a surprise pick for the Haas team considering his past season in 2020. He finished fifth in the standings with 164 points, getting picked over Callum Ilot. A driver that many considered to be deserving of a seat who finished second in the F2 standings. A big reason why Mazepin was chosen because of the money he brings to Haas. Which allows them to stay well-financed and be able to develop the car. I believe that Mazepin will have a below-average rookie reason for two main reasons, his talent and the car that he is in. Haas will not magically become a strong midfield team after this past season’s disappointing performance.