The 2021 Formula 1 season is still a few months away, but it is shaping up to be an interesting one due to how recent developments have unfolded.
Almost all constructors have already completed their drivers’ lineups – all except the defending champions Mercedes who have yet to reach an agreement with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.
Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz Jr., Daniel Ricciardo, and Sebastian Vettel will be donning different liveries for the upcoming season and all of them are eager to start a new chapter in their respective racing careers.
Meanwhile, Ferrari will aim to get back on track after a miserable 2020 season. However, with the competition getting tougher by the day, doing so will be much easier said than done.
As we look ahead for the next season, SBOTOP takes you through with today’s edition of Formula 1 2021 updates.
Lewis Hamilton’s contract talks have reached an impasse
Perhaps the biggest storyline worth monitoring is whether on who will take the final seat for Mercedes next season.
Lewis Hamilton is the no-brainer choice for the Silver Arrows considering he has done much of the heavy lifting in the last few seasons. However, both sides have yet to meet halfway.
Hamilton’s contract expired last January 1 after yet another successful season for Mercedes. The British international became the Formula 1 wins king last term as he shattered the records of the great Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton reportedly wanted a four-year $200-M extension which would also pay him 10-per cent of the team’s championship proceeds.
In addition, Hamilton wanted a bigger role besides being just their driver as well as a limited edition AMG One car to sweeten the deal.
However, there seems to be a major roadblock between the two sides.
Ineos, who recently became a major shareholder of the team, initially expressed their willingness to shoulder Hamilton’s salary. However, Mercedes are hesitant to give in to his demands.
The deadline for an agreement to be reached is said to be at the end of February. Considering the progress of their talks with Hamilton, the Silver Arrows might consider other candidates.
Towards the end of last season, junior driver George Russell drove for the Silver Arrows as Lewis Hamilton was recuperating from COVID-19.
He has shown glimpses of potential when he dominated Valtteri Bottas in Bahrain and he is just 22 years old.
Certainly, Russell still has a long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as Hamilton. But if Mercedes can’t reach an agreement with the latter, they might consider bringing in the younger driver.
Sergio Perez gets a new lease on life
It wasn’t too long ago when Sergio Perez’s Formula 1 dream was in danger of ending. But now that Red Bull Racing picked him up, the Mexican driver vows to give his all for his new home.
Last year, Perez claimed his maiden victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix and he is hungry to make that win just the beginning.
“I’m going to make sure I overdeliver. If we have a car that can win the championship, I’ll make sure we win it,” said Perez.
The biggest question for Red Bull is whether they can give Perez a race-winning car for this upcoming season and beyond.
Red Bull are going to be busy in trying to find a viable replacement for Honda as the Japanese manufacturer announced that they will no longer be the team’s official power unit supplier after the 2021 season.
Ferrari have lofty goals
2020 was a year to forget for Ferrari. They finished sixth in the constructors’ championship, which is their lowest since 1980.
So coming into this season, team principal Mattia Binotto made it clear that finishing in the top three will be their “minimum objective”.
“This team has been capable of finishing second in the past five years except one third, so I think that third is not fully impossible,” said Binotto.
Last term, the Scuderia ended a run of six straight top-three finishes. However, they failed to register a win for the first time since the 2016 season.
The key reason for their lacklustre campaign was their woeful car performance since their power unit was below than their usual standards.
Furthermore, Binotto promises better days ahead for the Prancing Horse and they will look to turn their Formula 1 2021 odds around with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. leading the way.
“The level of our performance has been inadequate for what should be the standard of Ferrari. We are obviously sorry for the company and for the fans,” bared Binotto.
“I’m pretty sure that this year will somehow make us stronger for the future,” he ended.
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