Which of these drivers won’t be on the F1 grid in 2021?

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The 2021 F1 season will see the biggest shake-up of the technical regulations for a generation.

But not all of the drivers on the grid this year may stay around to see it.

All three champions racing in F1 this year have their contracts up for renewal before the end of the season. Some of the sport’s most successful drivers may be about to call time on their F1 careers.

Who are the most likely candidates to end up out of F1 after this year? Here are five possible candidates.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has no shortage of interests outside Formula 1 including music, fashion and his increasingly passionate advocacy of environmental causes. A few years ago it seemed his extra-curricular activities might lure him out of the championship completely, particularly during those uncomfortable later seasons alongside Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2019
Does Hamilton want to go out on top?
But Hamilton has been driving at the top of his game lately and has spoken about wanting to extend his commitment to the sport beyond the end of this season. The debate over his future has been more about whether he will remain at Mercedes in 2021 or switch to Ferrari, than whether he could might F1 entirely.

Kimi Raikkonen

Most drivers who’ve scaled the heights of Formula 1 and won races and championships would not countenance stepping back to a seat in the midfield. But Kimi Raikkonen is not most drivers.

Away from the full-on intensity of life at Ferrari, and based at a team within reasonable distance of his growing family, Raikkonen has slipped effortlessly into life at Alfa Romeo. He is set to break Rubens Barrichello’s record for most race starts this year, and whether he chooses to extend it further in will likely come down to whether he can stand the grind of another 20-plus races.

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Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2019
Vettel had a tough 2019 season
Like Fernando Alonso before him, Sebastian Vettel has found life at the Scuderia is fraught with pressure and is not necessarily the ticket to championship-contending success its reputation suggests. That said, he’s been off his game much too often in recent seasons, and was beaten by team mate Charles Leclerc last year.

Ferrari has rewarded Leclerc with a long-term deal, which has obvious implications for Vettel’s status at the team. Barring a rejuvenating performance this year, Vettel may have to accept a diminished position in Ferrari if he continues in F1.

Daniil Kvyat

All Red Bull junior drivers know their careers depend on the fickle whims of Helmut Marko, but Daniil Kvyat has had a rockier ride than most. Promoted to Red Bull in 2015 following a single season at junior squad Toro Rosso, he lost his seat just four races into 2016, then hung around the junior squad again until he was dropped in late 2017. That seemed to be the end of his story, but following a year as Ferrari’s simulator driver he was back again, and has remained, improbably become Toro Rosso’s longest-serving driver, though the team will race as Alpha Tauri this year.

Whether he gets another year in 2021, or is shown the door again, or even returns to Red Bull, probably depends as much on the performance of those around him as himself. However he often came second-best to Pierre Gasly in the latter stages of last season, which won’t help his cause.

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Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Sochi Autodrom, 2019
Grosjean has been shaded by Magnussen at Haas
Another driver who made a career comeback, though more than a decade has now passed since Romain Grosjean’s unsuccessful start to F1 life with Renault, which unfortunately coincided with their last exit from the sport. An anticipated reunion between the two since their return hasn’t happened and seems unlikely to.

His results at Haas have disappointed in recent seasons due to a mix of errors (especially in 2018) and some unreliability. He did demonstrate his worth to them last year by pointing out from an early stage they had gone in the wrong direction with their car development. But the hard fact is he’s been out-scored by a less experienced team mate for two years in a row.

What about the rest?

Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez have already put their names to contracts for 2021. Which other drivers could find their places under threat?

Antonio Giovinazzi found out fairly late last year he would keep his seat at Alfa Romeo. Nicholas Latifi is making his debut at a team which has had a high turnover of drivers in recent years. And while Pierre Gasly ended last year strongly at Toro Rosso, his first 12 races with Red Bull did not go well. Could these – or any other drivers – find themselves out of F1 next year too?

I say

I think it’s pretty clear Hamilton isn’t finished with F1 yet, wants to continue and will surely get the chance to.

Raikkonen has previously indicated he doesn’t expect to still be racing in F1 in 2021. While he could change his mind, and may be tempted by the chance to race F1’s new breed of cars, I wouldn’t be surprised if he prefers to go rallying or something else instead.

Time is probably running out for Grosjean too. Haas have faith in him, but it remains to be seen if they also intend to remain in F1 beyond 2020. At present I think the balance of probability is against him staying.

Kvyat has held on to his place in F1 this long I see little reason to suspect he won’t continue to. Unless Honda-backed Yuki Tsunoda has a spectacularly successful debut season in Formula 2, I suspect Kvyat is safe.

As for Vettel, he has just had his cage rattled by a junior driver for the second time in his career: First Daniel Ricciardo, now Leclerc. He’s stated in the past he’s against the expansion of F1’s calendar and has never been a fan of the V6 hybrid turbo power units. If this season doesn’t mark a sudden turnaround in his form, I can see him heading for the exit too before 2021 arrives.



You say

Which of these five drivers do you think won’t race in F1 in 2021? Cast your votes below and have your say in the comments:

Which of these drivers won't race in Formula 1 next year?

  • Lewis Hamilton (1%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (26%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (15%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (20%)
  • Romain Grosjean (34%)
  • None of the above (3%)

Total Voters: 273

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 56 comments on “Which of these drivers won’t be on the F1 grid in 2021?”

    1. I say Red Bull will promote someone and Kvyat has a good chance of becoming the victim of that. Grosjean hasn’t had a good season in years, I am not sure why he is still at Haas. For me they have the best chance of leaving (they’ll have no seat). I can see Raikkonen staying (at Alfa or Haas), Hamilton is probably staying, Vettel is rather staying than not (if he doesn’t beat Leclerc, he may switch seats with Ricciardo).

      1. @f1mre, I think that Red Bull only has a single driver in their junior team who is currently eligible for a superlicence, which would be Juri Vips – however, the team are currently directing him towards the Super Formula series instead.

        If Red Bull chose not to promote him, their only option would be to go back through the list of former drivers they recruited for their junior team to hire one of them instead. Even then, I don’t think that would open up many more options either, in part because they had a period in the early to mid 2010s when they weren’t picking up many drivers – and, out of the drivers they did get, they’ve lost two of them (Sainz Jr and Ricciardo) and were arguably lucky that they could rehire Albon again.

        The drivers they recruited before that drought in the 2010s are now unlikely to be eligible, as most of them have moved on to other motorsport series and will probably lack the experience with high powered single seater cars to gain a superlicence. The more recent drivers, meanwhile, are mostly fairly young recruits that were Formula 4 drivers and unlikely to be ready for Formula 1 for a few years yet.

        The defections of Sainz Jr and Ricciardo seem to have thrown a fairly sizeable spanner in the works for Red Bull in recent years – it feels like they’d been overconfident that they had those two drivers locked in, especially in the case of Ricciardo, and didn’t have a back up plan if those drivers left. Furthermore, whilst Gasly might have done better at Toro Rosso, his performance at Red Bull is going to make them wary of promoting him again until he’s much more experienced, at best, and may have damaged his chances permanently at worst.

        Out of the drivers listed in this article, I can see Vettel and Kimi choosing to retire of their own volition at the end of this season. As noted by Keith, Vettel has started to sound like a driver who is somewhat dispirited and frustrated – a change in team environment may reignite some of that former enthusiasm, but it may be that he is also experiencing what Brundle said about the final years that Alonso had at Ferrari, where he sensed that “dimming of the light” i.e. that the burning desire both men had for the sport was beginning to burn out. Similarly, although Kimi still seems motivated by racing, he has indicated that the ever increasing length of the calendar is making it more difficult for him to maintain that enthusiasm over the length of a season.

        Vettel has sometimes talked about retiring early, and Kimi is entering his 40s now, which is comparatively late for a racing driver in the modern era to continue racing in F1. Whilst de la Rosa and Michael Schumacher both raced in F1 in their 40s in 2012, both were not that much older than Kimi is going to be in 2020 – after them, I think you have to go back to Mansell in 1995 to find a driver of comparable age (41) competing in F1. Both of them married fairly recently and now have multiple young children – at this point, I can see them starting to wonder if they really want to keep on spending an ever increasing amount of time away from their family and that both might decide they no longer want to do that.

        Those might be the ones that voluntarily step away from the sport. Keith is perhaps right that Grosjean does face the risk of being pushed, but as others have noted, it may be that Magnussen is not that much more likely to stay either – if Haas pulls out, Magnussen is also going to be out and, given that it’s debatable whether he’s really that much better than Grosjean, I think that he’d be likely to fall out of the sport in similar circumstances.

        Giovinazzi may also be a little vulnerable if he cannot start lifting his performances, though if Kimi goes at the end of 2020, that might save his seat there. I could see an outside chance of Hulkenberg coming back at Sauber in that case, given Vasseur does seem to have been interested in him and could do with an experienced hand that has former experience of the team. I know kpkart would want to see Kubica get that seat but, practically speaking, Hulkenberg has nearly twice as much experience as Kubica, is several years younger and has more recent experience in driving for Sauber and spent much of his junior career driving for Frédéric Vasseur – Hulkenberg sounds like a more plausible candidate if Kimi retired and his seat was free.

        1. Sainz didn’t defect he was shown the door. And Kvyat will be next in line for the Red Bull seat if he shows more consistency and if Albon doesn’t improve. Thats according to Helmut Marko in a recent interview.

          1. Was Sainz shown the door? I’m not sure his place at Toro Rosso was under any treat. Red Bull chose Max and Sainz didn’t see himself servicing in a B team for much longer, at least it’s how I understand it.

          2. Ronny, I would be a little wary of Marko claiming that Sainz didn’t defect, but that he was shown the door by the team. That narrative casts the team, and more importantly Marko himself, in a more favourable light than having a driver defect – saying that Sainz was shown the door gives the impression the team, and Marko in particular, were in control of affairs, whilst having Sainz defect undercuts Marko’s authority by implying a lack of control over his drivers.

            As for the suggestion that Kvyat will be next in line for the Red Bull seat, how much of that is serious and how much of that is a bluff by Marko to get Albon to lift his performance is open to debate.

            A mid-season switch is somewhat disruptive to the teams and drivers as well – it’s no coincidence that Red Bull switched Gasly and Albon during the summer shutdown, since that was probably the least disruptive time to do so but, even then it wasn’t ideal. Presumably, you’d also need to either shift Albon back down to Toro Rosso, or find a driver (possibly Vips) to promote to Toro Rosso in short order.

            It might not be great for the public image of the team either to relegate a driver whom they’ve been praising for his performances in 2019 back to Toro Rosso, and then to replace him with a driver that they’d fired from the parent team, fired from their junior team and then been forced to rehire due to backing themselves into a corner.

            1. Anon, Ronny’s remark about Marko relates to Albon and Kvyat, rather than Sainz. The interview that Ronny refers to didn’t include any comments on Sainz.

            2. Sainz was loaned to Renault and when Ricciardo left, he was passed up. Simple as that and concurred by both parties.

              Biggest mistake Red Bull have ever made.

              Incidentally I tweeted as such and was retweeted by Sainz Sr.

            3. In trying to piece together what happened it seems to me the Sainz’s themselves are as much to blame for Carlos release from STR and then from RBR altogether, as any other factor. The other key factor would be Max’s outstanding ability and performances.

              As to the Sainz’s, we had Carlos jr claiming publicly, on his own, mid-2017, that he would not be at STR for a 4th season, that being 2018, as no STR driver has been there for four years. Horner denied his remarks. Ultimately as we know indeed they did loan Carlos jr to Renault and then released him completely even after DR left RBR. But anyway, it was rather strange for Carlos jr to have made those public comments about not being at STR for 2018.

              There is also some undetailed info about Sainz Sr. and Jos Verstappen not getting along well. Apparently even though Max and Carlos had a few on-track encounters, those were nothing that they themselves couldn’t get well past, but there were hard feelings between the two drivers’ ‘camps’ as it were. No doubt the younger and less experienced Max being promoted to RBR before Sainz wouldn’t have gone over too well at the Sainz camp.

              Did Sainz ‘defect’ or was he simply let go? I would say it might have been a bit of both, a mutual agreement for Sainz to move over to Renault on loan while still being under the RBR wing. Sainz seemingly didn’t expect to be at STR in 2018 as per his own announcement ahead of anything official from RBR, and RBR weren’t quite ready to release him completely.

              I don’t believe that RBR regrets anything and wishes they hadn’t ‘shot themselves in the foot’ by releasing Sainz, as it sounds like there were just not enough compelling reasons to keep him…not when you have a Max on the team. It is always convenient to use hindsight now, after seeing what happened to Gasly and what turned into a mid-season driver swap with Albon, which RBR couldn’t have foreseen, but at the time of the decisions being made, they were likely quite comfortable that they were not losing too much by loaning Sainz out, and then ultimately releasing him from the team altogether. Perhaps if he was a better driver than he is, or if his Dad and Jos got along better, or both, Sainz would indeed have been retained, but I highly doubt RBR are regretting their decisions. There were reasons at the time that they saw as keys to do what they did, without the luxury of a crystal ball, as as much as they might have tried to crystal ball it, they might have decided having two families warring, or just as bad, ignoring each other at all costs at races, would not suffice for a healthy team.

    2. Certainly Romain is not needed in F1 unless we want it to be more bumper cars or a comedy circus. Most undeserving driver still on the grid.

      1. – Grosjean, most undeserved driver on the grid.
        – Stroll: Am I joke to you?

    3. My predictions:

      – Hamilton to stay at Mercedes, Russell to get promoted
      – Ferrari might retain the same driver line-up if 2020 sees no more controversial moments between Lerclerc and Vettel, otherwise Ricciardo might get a shot
      – No change in Red Bull, the same goes for McLaren
      – Renault might me really interesting with all French line-up, Ocon paired with Gasly if Danny Ric leaves
      – Kvyat will stay at Alpha Tauri (he’s a really good driver and has a great synergy with the team) with the teammate Juri Vips
      – I see no possible change at Racing Point although currently it’s my least favourite line-up
      – Alfa Romeo to get Sauber back in their name, Kimi retires and Giovinazzi (really likeable character, he just needs to improve his drives) to get one of Schumacher – Schwartzman for a teammmate. The next F2 season will be decisive, mo money go on Schwartzman
      – Haas will have Magnussen and Fittipaldi
      – Ticktum and Latifi for Williams

      1. There is also the question of whether Mercedes stays in the sport with its factory team, or sells the outfit before the 2021 shakeup and leaves either undefeated or at least with a historical record of 6 consecutive pairs of titles. What would Hamilton and Bottas do then? My guess would be that Hamilton would actually leave F1 if that was to happen, but Bottas is a different story. What would be his stock with other teams, having been rarely a threat to Hamilton, and getting beaten on a regular base by Ferraris and Red Bulls, unlike his team mate?

        I fully agree with your idea that Leclerc-Ricciardo and Ocon-Gasly would make strong lineups for Ferrari and Reanult. However, I can’t see Albon staying with Red Bull for much longer, for he isn’t much stronger (if any) than Gasly or Kvyat. If Red Bull decides to try to lure someone from outside of their program, Norris would be an interesting and reasonable choice, and not totally impossible too, as they have already tried to hire him halfway through 2018 for STR.

        Kvyat and Grosjean shouldn’t be instant goners just because their contracts are running out with their respetive teams. Any or both of them would be ideal for Williams, as they have quite some experience, not entirely hopless like Stroll, and wouldn’t cost a fortune to hire. They couln’t possibly be a worse solution than employing inexperienced pay drivers with at least questionable talents who can’t be expected to identify the roots of the many design shortcomings Williams has had for years now.

        As to who gets the Haas seats, I have no idea. It would be a great for the team and the sport to hire someone actually good from Indy. Alfa Romeo could very well go with a pair of youngsters into 2021, including Schumacher.

        And Racing Point is the dark horse. If the money injection and the technical parthership with Aston Martin does bore fruit, they’ll need to fire Stroll and look for a decent driver to partner Perez.

        1. In all fairness, Norris is no better than Albon, F2 showed what Albon is capable of.
          Norris had some more luck on his side, but was weaker in quali and overall not any better in races… it was Albon who took more wins and started often in better position. They are a close match while both have rook to grow.
          Albon and Gasly do have similar potential, it’s just that Gasly didn’t expect to be this far behind Verstappen what kind of broke his spirit at RBR.

          Veterans that don’t have much to add: Raikkonen, Grosjean, Perez
          Pay drivers: Stroll and Latifi
          Doubtful: Giovinazzi, Magnussen

    4. Unlike Alonso who dragged red tractor in fight for F1 titles, Vettel has thrown titles down the drain with a rocketship.
      Also except for Hamilton probably Kimi, Grosjean and Kvyat might move away from F1(different reasons) in 2021.

      1. proud_asturian
        19th January 2020, 10:25

        *lucked in and relied upon his main opponents having repeated reliability problems.
        How much did the Spaniard pay you to write these lies?

        1. *by being far more consistent than everyone else.

        2. While alonso’s opponents had several reliability issues in 2005 and 2006, you shouldn’t forget mclaren was the fastest car in 2005, renault was the best car on balance due to better reliability, mclaren has always been a fast but not so reliable car in their good years.

          As for 2006, reliability was even between renault and ferrari, I think people tend to forget alonso’s engine issue and wheelnut that season.

    5. I missed Magnussen in this list. I think he should not be on grid this year, as well as Grosjean. There is no evidence of any progress since his early days at mclaren.

    6. I think Hamilton wins the 7 this year and retires, matching an all time record which will likely never be beaten.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th January 2020, 16:14

        Surely the temptation for 8 would keep him around

        1. Yeah possibly, but there is the uncertainty of the reg change and perhaps respect for schuey that also come into play.

          1. I think the reg change will make Hamilton keener to stay in F1 as there will be a new challenge. I don’t think respect for Schumacher will affect his decision at all.

            1. Honestly I hope you are right.

          2. I think the idea of beating Schumacher and become the most successful F1 driver ever will make him stay, who wouldn’t make history?

    7. Grosjean should have left this year so I really would be surprised if he’s still here in 2021. With Hamilton & Vettel it’s all very 50-50 – I can’t see either of them hanging around for much longer. Hamilton’s future seems more hinged on Mercedes future intentions and I’m not sure Vettel would ever be happy playing firm no.2 to Leclerc – which seems to be Ferrari’s intentions.

      Raikkonen I think probably will be still around unless Alfa Sauber can find someone to replace him, as Giovinazzi is certainly not good enough to ‘lead’ the team. Kvyat will probably still be at Alpha Tauri for similar reasons – there’s not many in the Red Bull driver pool to take his place yet, but of the four Red Bull drivers… it’s probably him that’s next to go.

      1. If Vandoorne is ever to get a second chance in F1, replacing Kimi at Sauber is probably his best shot. Kimi will most likely choose to retire, and Vandoorne has been linked to the team before via Vasseur (his team boss when he won GP2).

      2. @rocketpanda look also for Schwartzman in F2 this year, he could very well be replacing Giovinazzi next year as a Ferrari Academy driver.

    8. Bottas could be the first one in that list.
      Wingman to Leclerc at Ferrari in 2021?
      Wingman to Ocon should Ricciardo leave?
      Alfa-Sauber replacing Raikkonen?
      Mercedes Fórmula E team?

    9. Kimi will stay on for one year i feel because his experience is needed for the new cars.

    10. I’m surprised LH is even under discussion here. Imho he’s not leaving F1 nor Mercedes for at least 3 years.

      I chose KR and RG as the most likely to leave, KR due to age and him saying he wouldn’t stay for 2021, and RG for poor performance.

      Kvyat? I think he’ll be around for a time yet.

      As to Vettel, who knows if he himself is feeling his light diminishing and is less and less enthusiastic? We’d have to hear it from him as to what he sees unfolding for himself. What I do think though is that he is not about to be demolished by CL and hence pushed out or pushed down to a designated number 2 role. I think these two drivers will be able to compete against each other this season, the clear proviso being no contact between each other, and I think no one driver will have a great number of points more than the other. I think SV has some solid years ahead of him yet assuming he wants them.

      What I’ll be interested to see is if CL can keep up the momentum he had last year. By that I mean that just as DR was in a low pressure situation in 2014, so was CL last year. Do worse than the 4 time WDC and it’s no surprise…do better and it’s gravy. Let’s see if CL can back up his excellent performance last year with more of the same, albeit with mistakes he made, and now without the ‘newbie’ moniker to lean on. I’m envisioning that he should feel more pressure this year, and thus let’s see how he does when pressure is greater. I won’t be surprised if he is fine, but let’s see, and I’m sure if SV has it in him at all he will be spending this off-season searching deep as to how he can improve both his performances and his mistake count. As of CL explaining how much he learns from the very detail oriented SV, I see these two working together to forward the car as much as any two rivals on a team have to do that while also looking out for themselves on race day.

      1. @robbie

        I’m surprised LH is even under discussion here.

        The story is mostly about Vettel, and then it’s just to highlight how Hamilton is not in the same predicament. This site isn’t called Racefans for nothing.

    11. It’ll be interesting.

      I suspect most teams will use 2021 to test the water in terms of what impact all the new regulations have and probably won’t want to change much and most drivers will be hoping to carve out 1 year contracts so they can make decisions after seeing what teams show the best promise after 2021.

      Kimi, I think will pull the pin and retire, but other than that I don’t see all that much movement.

    12. I don’t think Hamilton will quit.

      Vettel might go back to Red Bull, depending on how much faith Ferrari has with him and how much Vettel think if Leclerc got the preferential treatment. I think he will be back at Red Bull and Red Bull will gladly accept Vettel compared to their existing options in Albon, Gasly, and Kvyat. Albon will get demoted back to AT, and Kvyat get the boots again.

      Ferrari might pick up Perez (depending if they hate him that much for jumping to McLaren) or Ricciardo. They probably prefer Ricciardo but Renault might really secure him down.

      If Perez goes to Ferrari, Russell will take his place in Force India.

      I think Haas will finally done with RoGro. I don’t hate him but in past few years his performance is really lackluster. In his place, maybe they’ll get Kvyat or Hulk.

      If Ricciardo go to Ferrari, I think Renault will get Kvyat, Hulk, or even RoGro. He’s french afterall.

      Williams will get a new pay driver. Russell sadly probably had to go. He will be in the same place as Ocon, will he keep being Mercedes driver (and hoping to get a seat in Racing Point if Perez go to Ferrari) or cut ties with Mercedes and chase Haas or Renault seat instead.

      Mercedes, McLaren, Alfa Romeo lineup will stay the same. I don’t think Kimi will quit. He just enjoy racing.

      I think Kvyat, Russell and RoGro most likely to move from their current team. Kvyat probably will get a seat, RoGro and Russel might lose their F1 seat. Hulk might have a comeback.

    13. I wonder if Kimi will floor us all with a return to Ferrari to partner Leclerc……. and then go and win the title!

    14. Kimi has already indicated an interest to go back to WRC and his performances trailed off at the end of last year so I think he may be finally losing interest in F1.

      Grosjean should already be gone.

      I think if Vettel takes another beat down from Leclerc next year he won’t stick around for further embarrassment, but may try his luck in another team.

    15. Expecting: Grosjean and/or Kvyatt.

      Hoping: all except Kimi.

    16. I would say Vettel always was a bit temperamental. But IMO it was in a good fighting way. Coming to Ferrari however, there seems to be no calming effect at all. His temperament has gotten worse and worse and in a bad way for his performance. That’s how I view his time at Ferrari. He’s not in a good place.
      Not to mention the Ferrari teams own stupid mistakes again and again and again.

    17. It is also worth looking at what feeder series could bring after next year. Currently on the F2 grid I can see Schwartzman bagging the championship and that could mean a place made for him at Alfa Romeo, either Raikkonen retiring or Giovinazzi being shown the door. The F2 grid, though still incomplete is a mix of seasonned F2s and newcomers but bar Schwartzman I don’t see other obvious F1 candidates for now. So I guess there could be less pressure coming from F2 than previous years, where the likes of De Vries for example were denied a shot despite some undeniable talent.

    18. Choosing 4 random drivers with 2 of those bound to retire, it’s clear that the exercise is all about pointing out in a roundabout way that Vettel is a loser and Hamilton a winner – a common theme here.

      1. Vettel is a winner, even recently (last year). Hamilton leaving F1 has been a common enough theme the last few years, only fading because of his own clear excitement in competing. Will Vettel leave Ferrari? Maybe, but I suspect they’d have to turf him out and then he’d stay in Formula 1 at another team, many of which would take him on. Meanwhile I’m looking forward to Vettel v. Leclerc Round 2. Easily the best team mate battle out there.

    19. • Williams : Hulkenberg + PAY DRIVER (Latifi unless a better prospect appears)
      • Haas : Magnussen + Kvyat
      • Alfa Romeo : Giovinazzi + Schumacher
      • Racing Point : Perez + Stroll (unless Stroll seriously underperfroms in 2020 and the board decide to kick him out despite his father owning the team)
      • Alpha Tauri : Gasly + Vips
      • Renault : Ocon + Bottas
      • McLaren : Sainz + Norris
      • Red Bull : Verstappen + Albon
      • Ferrari : Leclerc + Ricciardo
      • Mercedes : Hamilton + Russell

    20. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      19th January 2020, 23:05

      Mercedes: Hamilton & Russell – Mercedes will be keen to not lose Russell like they did Ocon. Bottas will have another average year in 2020, and get replaced.
      Red Bull: Verstappen & Albon. If Albon is “good enough”. Otherwise RB might try to poach Sainz or even Vettel.
      Ferrari: Leclerc & Vettel. Insert Ricciardo if Vettel leaves.
      McLaren: Sainz & Norris. Unless Red Bull can lure Sainz to replace a failing Albon. In which case we might see Bottas or Hulk as stop-gap solutions.
      Renault: Ocon & Ricciardo. With the 2021 rule change coming, I doubt we’re going to see Ricciardo leave Renault unless the 2020 car is an absolute dog, or Ferrari come knocking. Ocon is locked in.
      Alpha Tauri: Gasly & some-other-RB-junior.
      Haas: Bottas & Magnussen. Grosjean is for sure gone if Bottas becomes free. If Mag is consistent in 2020, even if not “great”, he’ll get another shot. Otherwise we might see Hulkenberg, who Haas could probably get for a greatly reduced cost. We might even see Fittipaldi take a see, as the Fittipaldi name is well known in the USA.
      Racing Point: Stroll & Perez. No shocker here.
      Alfa Romeo: Giovinazzi & Schumacher – Kimi bows out, Alfa keeps Gio to have some consistency between rules changes. Ferrari insert Schumacher.
      Williams: Latifi & Kvyat. Both could pony up some cash.

    21. If HAM does not succeed in his quest for the 7th title he will end his F1 career, so he will be missed in 2021.
      Kimi is running on fumes and will retire at the end of this year.
      VET does not even has fumes left so he will end his career this year.
      Kvyatt will depends on the way Red Bull will support TR/AT. His sponsors will bring some hard needed money if Red Bull ends his very large supporting sum. ( about 70 Mil dollar!)
      YMMV ;)

    22. The 2021 F1 season will see the biggest shake-up of the technical regulations for a generation.

      Really, the biggest change in a generation? I think not. The biggest change recently was the switch to the turbo power units and the MGU(K) and MGU(H).

      1. SteveR While the switch to the hybrid era was huge, no question, the change we are about to experience, imho, makes the change in 2014 look small by comparison. The huge and unprecedented change coming for 2021 is going to finally take them away from somewhere they have been for at least 30 years in terms of significance, and that is race-robbing dependence on downforce from aero wings that need clean air to perform at their optimum. I would say this shakeup is bigger than will have happened in more than a generation.

        Yeah the hybrid power units were/are new and complex and amazing in their ability to have immediately used 30% less fuel from the previous normally aspirated engines used, but that change of mode of power behind the driver did not change the drivers’ ability to follow closely and have confidence in making passing attempts with a car hampered by being in dirty air.

        Aside from Liberty tackling all aspects that needed addressing post-BE, for me the most significant is the removal of clean-air dependence, as that will create a much more exciting and enthralling sport to watch and therefore should grow the entity globally in terms of excitement level and therefore audience and therefore sponsorship etc.

    23. I voted for KR, SV, and DK.

    24. Good to see so many comments and voters!

      I think we’re going to say goodbye to:
      > Sebastian Vettel – he needs to leave before he is totally embarrassed by the whippersnapper.
      > Daniil Kvyat – his teammates are beating him consistently. Time for Helmut to give someone else a go.
      > Romain Grosjean – he is crap and he is wholly undependable. Nobody is going to want him, including Haas, if they stay.

      And I think we’re going to keep:
      > Lewis Hamilton – he needs to beat Schumi’s record 7 championships, which means he needs 8. No way in a million years he’s going to leave Mercedes for Ferrari and risk not achieving that. After that, he will be gone as fast as he can, before anyone can make a claim to his throne.
      > Kimi Raikkonen – it won’t surprise me to see him stay on. He seems to be enjoying himself.

      1. @shimks Vettel might leave Ferrari but would he leave F1? He might follow the Kimi path instead. I can see Kvyat leaving (being dumped). Grosjean? He’s survived so many bad performances, he seems immune.
        Hamilton definitely wants to beat both Schumacher’s records and some before he retires. Especially now Ferrari have again closed the door on him, effectively, with the Leclerc contract.

        1. @shimks @david-br Agree and have been saying all along as well that there is no way LH is leaving Mercedes. The LH to Ferrari rumours have only just ever been that imho, borne of the fact that if he doesn’t go their soon he will run out of time. I think this is also borne of the concept that it is said drivers ‘all’ aspire to race for Ferrari one day. Doesn’t mean they all do though, and barring Mercedes either leaving (highly doubt it) or suddenly falling down the order (highly doubt it) and Ferrari looking WCC level and organized (has happened before), LH would be risking a ton just to say he drove for Ferrari. No, LH would be a fool to leave Merc, likely until he is done, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

          As to Vettel, I think I am one of the more forgiving posters on here when it comes to him. I don’t think he is ’embarrassed’ nor do I think he thinks he is the detriment to the team, the destined to be number two driver, that so many venomous posters proclaim. And ya, I saw his mistakes, and the team’s, but I still think he’s been overly roughly treated by many in their armchairs, albeit I admit he has definitely made some mistakes that were significant. Others though, were less so. Charles made some too.

          I just also happen to believe that the Ferrari car, in spite of some saying is somehow better/faster than Mercedes, is indeed not, never has been quite there over an entire season, and has left SV playing catchup much of the time. And that changes how one has to drive. Taking risks while front runners are controlling everything from there. Put another way, I imagine SV sitting as we speak quite confident in what he has done and why…what were his truly stupid mistakes and what ones were more understandable…feeling quite capable of turning things around and is stoked about getting in the new car to start to reverse his fortunes. The last thing he is thinking or feeling is that he might as well retire, as Leclerc is hammering him, and he’s lost it, and otherwise might as well just be Leclerc’s number two, etc etc as the comments go about him lately. Rather he is, for sure, well aware of CL, even teaches him by Charles’s own account, but is also aware he is a 4 time WDC and is rich and famous doing what he loves and will likely just be grateful that he has yet another season in F1 to really show some stuff. He’s not permanently low about his lows, unlike his detractors on the net.

          You know, this guy deserves respect as a 4 time WDC and there is a good chance that Ferrari would have been worse off without him in terms of missing his input and experience. I think there is some percentage of chance that without SV they (the car) would not be at the level they are and may have been surpassed by RBR by now all other things being equal. There is some chance Charles not only has Seb to thank for the educational detailed reviews after their driving sessions, but also for the very car with which he has been able to excite us and compete, including against Seb.

          1. @robbie @david-br Very interesting comments. Thanks.

            I think Mercedes are very clever in the way they biggie up the competition, dropping a lot of pressure on them. I agree, I don’t think the Ferrari car has ever been close to being better than the Merc.

            As for Vettel, you may be right on all accounts, it will be interesting to see. I definitely can be counted as one of those who has become fixated on his demise in the sport. I should rethink this and I will.

          2. @robbie @shimks The fact we still don’t really know who the top driver is at Ferrari is, at least, evidence of Vettel’s persistence. His courage and commitment isn’t in doubt and certainly helped him win 4 titles. There’s no question he’s made a lot of mistake the past 3 years, though, and put himself and the team under additional pressure. Ferrari must be in a real dilemma. They’ve got two fast drivers, but there’s a real risk of them taking points off each other this season, even crashing again, and neither seems likely to back down and accept second driver status.

    25. Kimi might be interested into try the 2021 cars before deciding to retire.

      I also that if it happens might be a potential interesting indication about 2021 cars.

    26. Hamilton will stay for the possibility of 8 titles. The real question is whether Mercedes will stay. If Hamilton leaves and Mercedes stays, Verstappen will replace Lewis.
      Vettel will stay if he can win a title with Ferrari, otherwise I see him headed back to RBR. Verstappen or Ricciardo will replace him.
      Kimi will retire at the end of 2020.
      Unless Grosjean has some major turnaround and adds consistency to his occasional quick performances, he’s out after 2020 if not before.
      Kvyat will be out replaced by Hulkenberg.

    27. Why do I get this error while logged in? “Failed To Verify Referrer”

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