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2021 Formula One World Championship

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2021 FIA Formula One
World Championship
Previous: 2020 Next: 2022
Support series:
Formula 2 Championship
FIA Formula 3 Championship
Porsche Supercup
W Series

The 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship is a planned motor racing championship for Formula One cars which will be the 72nd running of the Formula One World Championship.[a] It is recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body of international motorsport, as the highest class of competition for open-wheel racing cars. The championship is due to be contested over twenty-three Grands Prix, which will be held around the world. Drivers and teams are scheduled to compete for the titles of World Drivers' Champion and World Constructors' Champion respectively.

Lewis Hamilton is the reigning World Drivers' Champion, having won the 2020 World Championship at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.[1] Mercedes is due to be the defending World Constructors' Champion, having taken a record seventh consecutive title at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.[2]

Entries

The following constructors and drivers are currently under contract to compete in the 2021 World Championship. All teams will compete with tyres supplied by Pirelli.[3] Each team is required to enter at least two drivers, one for each of the two mandatory cars.[4][5]

Entrant Constructor[6] Chassis Power unit No. Driver name Ref.
Switzerland Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C41[7] Ferrari[8] 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen [9]
99 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Italy Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda AlphaTauri-Honda TBA Honda[10] 10 France Pierre Gasly [11]
22 Japan Yuki Tsunoda [12][13]
France Alpine F1 Team[14] Alpine-Renault A521[15] Renault E-Tech[14] 14 Spain Fernando Alonso [16]
31 France Esteban Ocon [17]
United Kingdom Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team[18][19][20] Aston Martin-Mercedes TBA Mercedes 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel [21]
18 Canada Lance Stroll
Italy Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow Ferrari SF21[22] Ferrari 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc [23]
55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. [24]
United States Haas F1 Team Haas-Ferrari TBA Ferrari[25] 9 Russia Nikita Mazepin [26][27]
47 Germany Mick Schumacher [28][29]
United Kingdom McLaren F1 Team McLaren-Mercedes MCL35M[30] Mercedes[31] 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo [32]
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris [33]
Germany Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team Mercedes TBA Mercedes 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas [34]
TBA TBA[b] [36]
Austria Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16B[37] Honda[10] 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez [38]
33 Netherlands Max Verstappen [39]
United Kingdom Williams Racing Williams-Mercedes TBA Mercedes[40] 6 Canada Nicholas Latifi [41]
63 United Kingdom George Russell [42]
Source:[43]

Team changes

McLaren announced that they would change from using Renault power units to ones built by Mercedes, resuming the McLaren-Mercedes partnership that ran between 1995 and 2014.[31] Racing Point will become known as Aston Martin. The name change was brought about by the team's part owner Lawrence Stroll investing in the Aston Martin marque.[44] Renault will become known as Alpine, taking on the name of Renault's sportscar brand.[14]

Driver changes

Mick Schumacher is contracted to make his debut with Haas.

Four-time World Drivers' Champion Sebastian Vettel left Ferrari at the end of the 2020 Championship after racing with the team for six seasons.[45] Vettel's seat will be taken by Carlos Sainz Jr., who left McLaren.[24] Daniel Ricciardo moved from Renault to McLaren, where he replaced Sainz.[32] Ricciardo will be replaced by double World Champion Fernando Alonso, who will drive in Alpine's first season, having last raced in 2018 for McLaren.[16]

Vettel is due to move to Aston Martin, where he replaces Sergio Pérez.[21][46] Pérez, who had previously signed a contract to drive for Aston Martin's predessor, Racing Point, until 2022,[47] is due to move to Red Bull Racing where he replaces Alex Albon. Albon is due to be Red Bull Racing's reserve and test driver for the 2021 season.[38] Pérez is set to become the first driver since Mark Webber in 2007 to join the team without being previously a Red Bull Junior Team member.[48]

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, who had raced for Haas since 2016 and 2017 respectively, left the team at the end of 2020.[49] 2020 Formula 2 Champion Mick Schumacher – the son of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher – is due to take one of the seats at the team,[28] while the other will be filled by Nikita Mazepin, who finished fifth in the Formula 2 Championship.[26][50]

Yuki Tsunoda, who finished third in 2020 Formula 2 Championship, will graduate to Formula One with Scuderia AlphaTauri, replacing Daniil Kvyat. Tsunoda will become the first Japanese Formula One driver since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.[12]

Calendar

Nations that are scheduled to host a Grand Prix in 2021 are highlighted in green, with circuit locations marked with a black dot. Former host nations are shown in dark grey, and former host circuits are marked with a white dot.

The 2021 calendar consists of twenty-three events, subject to the confirmation of the third round due to take place in May, the reinstatement of the suspended São Paulo Grand Prix contract,[51] the confirmation of the revised calendar by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, and permissive COVID-19 regulations set by local governments and Formula One Group.

Round Grand Prix Circuit Race date
1 Bahrain Grand Prix Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir 28 March
2 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Italy Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola 18 April
3 TBA TBA 2 May
4 Spanish Grand Prix Spain Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Montmeló 9 May
5 Monaco Grand Prix Monaco Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo 23 May
6 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit, Baku 6 June
7 Canadian Grand Prix Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montréal 13 June
8 French Grand Prix France Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet 27 June
9 Austrian Grand Prix Austria Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 4 July
10 British Grand Prix United Kingdom Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone 18 July
11 Hungarian Grand Prix Hungary Hungaroring, Mogyoród 1 August
12 Belgian Grand Prix Belgium Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot 29 August
13 Dutch Grand Prix Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort 5 September
14 Italian Grand Prix Italy Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza 12 September
15 Russian Grand Prix Russia Sochi Autodrom, Sochi 26 September
16 Singapore Grand Prix Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore 3 October
17 Japanese Grand Prix Japan Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka 10 October
18 United States Grand Prix United States Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas 24 October
19 Mexico City Grand Prix Mexico Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City 31 October
20 São Paulo Grand Prix[c] Brazil Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo 7 November[d]
21 Australian Grand Prix Australia Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne 21 November[e]
22 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Saudi Arabia Jeddah Street Circuit, Jeddah 5 December[f]
23 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi 12 December[g]
Sources:[52][53][54]

Calendar expansion and changes from 2020 to 2021

Liberty Media, the sport's commercial rights holders, announced that there would be scope for the 2021 calendar to expand beyond the planned twenty-two races of the 2020 calendar.[55] The sporting regulations were amended to allow for a maximum of twenty-five Grands Prix per year.[56]

  • The Dutch Grand Prix is due to be revived,[57] with the race scheduled to take place at the Circuit Zandvoort.[58][59] The race will mark the first time the Dutch Grand Prix has been run since 1985. The Dutch Grand Prix had been included on the 2020 calendar, but was cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[60]
  • The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is due to make its debut, with a night race to be held on a temporary circuit in the city of Jeddah.[61] Further plans to move the Grand Prix to Qiddiya in 2023 were also made public.[62][63] The race is scheduled to take place at night, the third venue to host a night race after the Singapore and Bahrain Grands Prix.[h]
  • The Vietnamese Grand Prix would have made its debut, with the race scheduled to take place in the capital Hanoi on the Hanoi Street Circuit. The Vietnamese Grand Prix had been included on the 2020 calendar, but was cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[64] The Grand Prix was dropped from the 2021 calendar because of the arrest on corruption charges of a Hanoi's People's Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung, a key official responsible for organising the race.[65]

Further changes to the calendar are planned following the disruption to the 2020 championship brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic:

Liberty Media was also reported to have come to an agreement in principle with race organisers to host a second race in the United States. Plans to hold the race at a circuit in Miami Gardens were unveiled.[76][77] A second proposal to move the Brazilian Grand Prix from São Paulo to a new circuit in Rio de Janeiro was also suspended.[78]

Calendar changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The original calendar that was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council included the Chinese Grand Prix, which was due to take place on 11 April. However, the event was postponed due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, which was originally intended to be a one-off Grand Prix in 2020, was retained in its place. Additionally, the Australian Grand Prix, which had been due to take place on 21 March as the inaugural Grand Prix of the championship, was postponed to 21 November because of the pandemic. The dates for the São Paulo, Saudi Arabian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix were changed to accommodate this.[54]

Regulation changes

The 2021 championship was due to introduce significant changes to the regulations, including the sport's governance, car designs and the sporting rules but these were delayed in March 2020 in response to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[79] These rule changes will instead be introduced in 2022.[80]

Financial regulation

The championship is due to introduce a budget cap, with teams limited to spending a maximum of $145 million per year.[81][82][i] Teams will be required to use more commercially available materials and to submit their annual expenditure.[83] Some teams argued to further reduce the budget cap to $100 million, citing concerns that the long-term financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the future of as many as four teams.[84][85] Formula One managing director Ross Brawn stated that the sport's intention is to reduce the budget cap further in the coming years.[82]

The value of the budget cap is set for twenty-one races; each additional race increases the budget cap by $1 million, and vice versa: each race removed from the scheduled twenty-one race calendar deducts the budget cap by $1 million.[86] However, the budget cap does not include marketing budget, driver's salary and the salaries of the team's top three executives. There will be additional restrictions put in place dictating how prize money can be spent.[87] The cap will only apply to expenditure related to car performance, which will remain in place until 2026.[86] In the event that a team breaks the financial regulations, the team can be penalised in a combination of three separate ways. For a procedural violation teams will be fined on a case-by-case basis. Teams can be given a range of punishments for exceeding their annual budget which include being deducted championship points, having reduced testing time, a race ban, or—for the most severe cases—disqualification from the championship.[86]

Technical regulations

Teams will be limited in what components can be modified for the 2021 season,[88] with this requirement introduced to ease financial pressures on teams brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.[89] However, some changes will be mandated by the FIA, including adjustments to outer floor that are designed to reduce downforce levels.[90] Teams can also apply for special dispensation to make changes, most notably in the case of McLaren who were given permission to modify their car to accommodate the switch from Renault to Mercedes engines.[91] This prompted the FIA to introduce a token system whereby teams will be given a series of tokens which can be exchanged for the introduction of specific component upgrades.[92][93]

The "dual-axis steering" system developed by Mercedes in 2020 is banned starting from 2021.[94] The dual-axis steering system allows the driver to adjust the toe of the front wheels to optimise mechanical grip by pulling or pushing on the steering wheel.[95]

Sporting regulations

Teams will be required to allow a driver who has competed in fewer than two Grands Prix to replace one of their race drivers in a Friday practice session over the course of the season. Whilst these rules are intended to give a chance to more non-Formula One drivers to test a Formula One car, the wording of this rule means that teams satisfy the requirement if one of their regular drivers is in their rookie season.[96][97]

Following Mercedes' tyre error during the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, where George Russell was given front tyres allocated to Valtteri Bottas during a pit stop, the FIA has adjusted the rules on tyre usage; drivers using mixed compound sets or using sets allocated to another driver on their cars will be permitted to complete two laps before the driver must pit to correct the error before facing a penalty. Under the previous rules, drivers could be disqualified as soon as such error had occurred.[98]

The race time limit for red flagged races will also be reduced from 4 hours to 3 hours.[99]

Race weekend structure

For the 2021 season the schedule of a race weekend is due to be revised. Under the pre-existing regulations a race weekend spans four days with the Thursday before the race being reserved for media and promotional events and scrutineering; however, under the new regulations all of Thursday's events will be moved to the Friday morning with the times between Friday's activities being reduced. Cars will be under parc fermé conditions following the end of free practice three instead of qualifying, further restricting teams and drivers making major changes to setups ahead of the race.[100]

The 2021 W Series for female drivers has been added to the list of support racing series alongside Formula 2, Formula 3 and Porsche Supercup. The 2021 W Series season will start at Circuit Paul Ricard where it will be a support event for the French Grand Prix in late June and will end in Mexico City in late October, supporting the debut of the Mexico City Grand Prix.[101] Formula 2 and Formula 3 will support Formula One on alternate weekends, rather than the same ones as a cost saving measure.[102]

Notes

  1. ^ In the history of Formula One, Formula One regulations were first introduced during the 1946 Grand Prix season. These were adopted for every race in 1948, and were formally organised into a Championship in 1950.
  2. ^ Lewis Hamilton is currently listed on the provisional 2021 entry list as driving for Mercedes, but he has not signed a formal contract to drive for the team yet.[35]
  3. ^ Grand Prix subject to the reinstatement of the contract between race organisers and the Formula One Group.
  4. ^ The São Paulo Grand Prix was originally due to take place on 14 November, but was rescheduled due to the postponement of the Australian Grand Prix.
  5. ^ The Australian Grand Prix was originally due to take place on 21 March, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. ^ The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was originally due to take place on 28 November, but was rescheduled due to the postponement of the Australian Grand Prix.
  7. ^ The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was originally due to take place on 5 December, but was rescheduled due to the postponement of the Australian Grand Prix.
  8. ^ The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a day-to-night race.
  9. ^ Teams had originally agreed to a budget cap of $175 million per year,[83] but this figure was revised to $145 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[81][82]

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