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
A RaceFans account is required in order to vote. If you do not have one, register an account here or read more about registering here. When this poll is closed the result will be displayed instead of the voting form.
Debates and polls
- Should Gasly have been penalised for first-corner tangle with Alonso?
- Should F1 replace Paul Ricard with Imola on its 2022 calendar?
- Who was to blame for Hamilton and Verstappen’s collision at Monza?
- Who should Alfa Romeo hire to partner Bottas in 2022?
- Should F1 have awarded points for its one-lap Belgian Grand Prix?