The 2021 Formula 1 season is here, with the Bahrain Grand Prix kicking things off this weekend. I must admit, it’s weird not having the Australian Grand Prix as the first race of the season. Staying up until 2AM to watch it live was just starting to become a tradition.
But, we’re in a weird world, so the F1 schedule is weird too.
These are 5 things I’m looking forward to this season.
1. Mick Schumacher Is Here
My F1 fandom began when Michael Schumacher was driving for Ferrari, right before he won his five-consecutive World Championships. So, yes, for the last couple of years I have been tracking the progress of his son, Mick, knowing he’d eventually end up in Formula 1.
I was watching the second practice session yesterday and noticed on the timing screen that Mick’s name was abbreviated to, “MSC”. Every other driver’s abbreviation is the first three letters of their last name.
So, I looked up the meaning behind this and found out that Michael had gone by “SCH” until his brother, Ralf, entered Formula 1. At which point, Michael’s name on the timing screen changed to, “MSC”, to tell them apart.
Mick is doing this to continue his dad’s legacy. I might cry.
As you may or may not know, Michael was in a skiing accident in 2013 and hasn’t been seen in public since. Information about his health has been kept pretty quiet.
Mick was Formula 2 Champion last year and earned a seat with Haas this year. That means he’ll likely be at the back of the pack most of the time, but I can guarantee that every fan will be cheering for him.
It’s only a matter of time until he’s driving for Ferrari.
2. Sebastian Vettel Is Free
The four-time World Champion went to Ferrari in 2015, thinking he’d be destined for more championships. It didn’t happen. He won 14 races in six years with Ferrari. To put that in perspective, Vettel won 13 races with Red Bull in 2013.
This season he has a fresh start with a new team.
Vettel will be racing for Aston Martin, formerly known as Racing Point, formerly known as Force India.
The Aston Martin rebrand means there will no longer be two bright pink cars on the track. Honestly, I liked them. They had big, “Move it or lose it” energy. It was like a Pepto-Bismal bottle on wheels. Imagine seeing that in your side mirrors.
Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea – indeed! Sorry.
Vettel’s car is
a weird shade of green this year, so at least he’ll stop seeing red – hopefully.
I think fans have this weird thing where they just want to see Vettel happy. Or maybe that’s just me.
He gets mumbly in his post-race interviews when things aren’t going well. So, that’s how I’ll be tracking his happiness this season.
3. Is Ferrari Fast Again?
If you ask a non-F1 fan to name a race car, they’ll probably say Ferrari. With that kind of recognition, you can’t be slower than half the field, like last year.
Mercedes has been running away with championships since 2014, but at least Ferrari was putting up a fight…until they weren’t.
Charles Leclerc is locked in long-term with the team. The Golden Boy from Monaco isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Carlos Sainz is his teammate this year. Whether it’s by coincidence, or not, his career has sort of mimicked Fernando Alonso’s. At least in the sense that he’s driven for the same teams.
Honestly, I think Sainz needs to come out of the gates with some big results. To me, I think it’s inevitable that Mick Schumacher is driving for Ferrari within the next 3-4 years.
If Sainz wants to be his teammate, and still drive for Ferrari, then he has to outperform Leclerc over the next few years. Even then, it might not be enough.
So, we’ll see if Ferrari has got some speed back this season. For the sake of competition, I hope they do.
4. Is The Field Tight?
Based on the results from the second practice session yesterday, 16 cars were within 1 second of each other. Yes, I know it was practice and the lap times don’t tell the whole story, but I feel like 16 cars being that close in practice is rare.
If this information is to be trusted, it could mean we’re in for a season where Qualifying isn’t so predictable. It could mean that the cars are closer during the race, which means more opportunities for overtaking.
We might see mayhem and who doesn’t love MAYHEM?
This is what I want. I want as many cars travelling at the same speed as possible. I don’t want tiers, where Mercedes is out front, with two teams behind them, four teams behind them, and the rest getting lapped.
Let’s have some funky results on the race track.
5. Fernando Alonso Is Back
Formula 1 is better with Fernando Alonso in it. He is back this year, racing with Alpine, formerly known as Renault.
To be honest, I don’t like the rebrand. The blue, red, and white car isn’t doing it for me.
I just want a yellow Renault on the track, is that too much to ask for? Actually, just go back to the 2005 Renault – light blue and yellow. That’s the car Alonso won two championships in.
Way off topic, but since I’m talking about the colour scheme on cars – the green on the Ferrari this year is a bit odd.
Anyway, a starting grid with the names, Alonso, Raikkonen, and Schumacher, is like a time machine to 2004. I am not complaining. I’ll probably tweet that, so no one steal it.
I will end this post with a rapid fire edition of things I’m looking forward to/hoping for:
- Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo making each other laugh
- Fans in the stands?
- The inevitable return of Nico Hulkenberg
- Yuki Tsunoda – 5’2, 20 years old, lightning-quick
- Seeing something and thinking, “That’ll be great on Drive to Survive“
- Red Bull and their two legitimate drivers pushing Mercedes
- Less predictability
- New feuds and rivalries
If you’re not a Formula 1 fan, I suggest checking out Drive to Survive on Netflix. It is phenomenal and may just turn you into a fan.
Uh, I guess I should’ve said that at the beginning. Because if you’re not a Formula 1 fan, you probably didn’t make it to this part of the post.
Here’s hoping for a great season!
What are you looking forward to this season?