After a lot of action on the driver market last year, the majority of teams have changed at least one new face in their line-ups for the 2021 F1 season.
But who is going into the new championship with the best pairing? Have your say in this weekend’s debate.
The 2021 F1 team mates
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Hamilton is now empirically the most successful driver ever in terms of race wins. Only Michael Schumacher is a match for his titles record – and that could change this year. Mercedes are yet to officially confirm his presence on the 2021 grid. That should be a formality, albeit an expensive one.|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen||Sergio Perez||In a departure for Red Bull, the team has looked beyond its young driver programme to bring experience into its line-up. Perez therefore becomes Verstappen’s fourth team mate in as many years.|
|McLaren||Lando Norris||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren will be looking to recreate the harmonious and successful partnership of Norris and Sainz as Ricciardo arrives to replace the latter.|
|Aston Martin||Lance Stroll||Sebastian Vettel||The team formerly known as Racing Point dropped their top points-scorer of the past six seasons to bring in Vettel, alongside the owner’s son Stroll. Vettel is looking to reinvigorate his career following an awful final season at Ferrari.|
|Alpine||Esteban Ocon||Fernando Alonso||Two-times champion Alonso returns and will likely be no less a formidable force than before. Ocon took a while to get back up to speed on his return last season following a year out.|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Hiring Sainz to replace Vettel was a huge statement by Ferrari, who insist he and Leclerc will have equal treatment from the start of the season.|
|AlphaTauri||Pierre Gasly||Yuki Tsunoda||Following a poor half-season at Red Bull in 2019, Gasly thrived on his return to this team, and took a shock win at Monza. He is partnered by 2020’s top Formula 2 rookie Tsunoda.|
|Alfa Romeo||Kimi Raikkonen||Antonio Giovinazzi||While Mercedes have the sport’s most successful driver, Alfa Romeo has its most experienced competitor, plus the steadily improving Giovinazzi.|
|Haas||Mick Schumacher||Nikita Mazepin||The only team on the grid with an all-rookie driver line-up. Schumacher arrives with Formula 2 and Formula 3 titles to his name – and what a name it is. Mazepin has not won a junior-level title but covered extensive testing mileage with Mercedes.|
|Williams||George Russell||Nicholas Latifi||Russell’s one-off appearance at Mercedes last year generated much excitement as he proved a match for Bottas. Latifi lagged some way off his team mate’s pace in his first season.|
There are a lot of exciting new line-ups in the 2021 field which I’m looking forward to seeing in action: Alonso’s return alongside a promising rookie who underperformed last year; Ricciardo, who had a very strong 2020, teaming up with the improving Norris at McLaren; Red Bull’s break with convention to bring Perez in alongside the immense talent that is Verstappen; Ferrari’s gamble on the young – but not inexperienced – pairing of Leclerc and Sainz.
But, realistically, the champions’ line-up has to be seen as a cut above their rivals. Hamilton showed last year he’s at the peak of his abilities. Bottas is a capable and sometimes underrated team mate and race winner, and while it’s hard to imagine him suddenly turning the tables on Hamilton, I might have said the about Nico Rosberg five years ago.
Mercedes have the best driver line-up for 2021 assuming, of course, that Hamilton does sign up as he is widely expected to. But the shake-up among their rivals brings the possibility that may change over the course of what promises to be a fascinating season.
Which F1 team has the best driver line-up for 2020? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.
Which F1 team has the best driver line-up for 2021?
- Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (23%)
- Red Bull: Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez (40%)
- McLaren: Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo (15%)
- Aston Martin: Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel (1%)
- Alpine: Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso (1%)
- Ferrari: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr (19%)
- AlphaTauri: Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda (1%)
- Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi (0%)
- Haas: Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin (1%)
- Williams: George Russell and Nicholas Latifi (0%)
Total Voters: 341
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Debates and polls
- Which of 2022’s four lost F1 drivers will return to the grid in the future?
- Was Verstappen’s penalty for Hamilton collision correct?
- Does Pierre Gasly deserve to be one penalty away from a race ban?
- Did the FIA get Red Bull’s penalty for 2021 budget cap breach right?
- Was Russell’s five-second penalty for Sainz collision the right call?