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F1 2021


Greboth
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Formula 1 in 2021 is the year that shouldn't have happened, this was supposed to be the first year of the new regulations but due to the pandemic, it was decided to carry over last years cars with a few changes.  The 2 most note worthy changes are the introduction of the cost cap in an attempt to stop the big teams out spending and out developing the independents.  The second, is a restriction on the size and shape of the floor - this has been introduced in an to reduce some of the cars downforce, estimated to be about 10%, in an attempt to have the tyres last as some failures last year were due to excessive loading.

 

2021 Calendar

28 March – Bahrain (Sakhir)

18 April - Italy (Imola*)

2 May - Portugal (Algarve)

9 May – Spain (Barcelona)

23 May – Monaco (Monaco)

6 June – Azerbaijan (Baku)

13 June – Canada (Montreal)

27 June – France (Le Castellet)

4 July – Austria (Spielberg)

18 July – United Kingdom (Silverstone)

1 August – Hungary (Budapest)

29 August – Belgium (Spa)

5 September – Netherlands (Zandvoort)

12 September – Italy (Monza)

26 September – Russia (Sochi)

3 October – Singapore (Singapore)

10 October – Japan (Suzuka)

24 October – USA (Austin)

31 October – Mexico (Mexico City)

7 November – Brazil (Sao Paulo)

21 November - Australia (Melbourne)

5 December - Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)

12 December - Abu Dhabi (Yas Island)

 

So 2021, can Hamilton break further records and become an 8 times champion? Can Mercedes win an 8th constructors championship in a row? Pre-season testing looked a bit shaky for Mercedes, is this the year Red Bull finally challenge? How will Perez cope at Red Bull; will he be a good second driver for them? How good, and reliable, are the Honda engine upgrades?  Will Ferrari recover any pace after their dismal year in 2020? How will Sainz cope with the pressure and how will he rank against LeClerc? Will Vettel now out of Ferrari and in to an Aston Martin regain his mojo? Will McLaren manage 3rd in the constructors again? Is Ricciardo and Norris going to be one of the best driver pairing in years? The Schumacher name returns to F1 but how will he fare in the Haas? Will Haas or Williams score any points this year?

 

So many questions and 23 races to find out the answers.

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Race 1/23

Bahrain - Sakhir

 

When was the track built?
Ground was broken for the Bahrain International Circuit in December 2002. Like the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, the developers had a blank, sandy canvas to work with, and with that fashioned the technical, 5.4km track designed by Hermann Tilke.

When was its first Grand Prix?
It was 2004 when the drivers first lined up under an unusually cloudy sky for the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. The race was dominated (like many in 2004) by the two Ferraris, with Michael Schumacher winning out from Rubens Barrichello, while the crowds were also treated to a fantastic dog-fight between the Jaguar of Mark Webber and the Renault of Fernando Alonso.

What’s the circuit like?
You can usually expect great racing and decent amounts of overtaking in Bahrain, while the drivers have to contend with wind, racing under floodlights and the difficulty of finding a decent set-up with the wide temperature fluctuations between sessions. The track’s most challenging point is the tight, downhill, off-camber Turn 10 left-hander, while the fast run through Turn 12 is another highlight, allowing the racers to really feel their cars coming alive.

 

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For all the questions I posed in the OP it is going to be an interesting opening weekend this year especially finding out the true pace of Mercedes and Red Bull.  I can't decide between predicting Mercedes having sorted their car and being 0.5-1 second ahead or a Red Bull 1 - 2 come the chequered flag.

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I was really hoping to see a resurgence this year for McLaren but they seem to be very inconsistent.

 

Definitely a good one for the challengers to get a jump on Mercedes too as Lewis can be a slow starter, even if Bottas has won the last 2 first races of the season.

 

Hoping to watch a lot more F1 this year!

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So the FIA is going perform additional checks to "routinely and randomly select one car at each Event...for deeper disassembly, conformity checks and checks of software and systems"

 

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So who do we think the FIA are suspicious of to implement such a thing? As by the sound of it, these inspections will be both more thorough and more often than normal.  Currently McLaren have their fancy floor but this surely would have been (mostly) agreed as legal leading up to the season.  There's a rumour that Mercedes have something up their sleeves to do with cooling and allowing them to run a higher power so maybe Merc given engine modes have been banned.

 

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Well that was an interest qualification yesterday, Mercedes looked more stable than in testing but it would appear slower than Red Bull.  It's going to be fun finding out if Red Bull have the race pace too or will Mercedes overhaul them.

 

Then there's the question of how Red Bull have done this, is it the changes to the aero regulations or has Honda, with their new engine, finally come good?  If it's the engine, then with an engine freeze until 2025 this could make an interesting 4 years.

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Poor Vettel has no luck, his qualifying lap was caught up in a yellow flag incident I think so he didnt get to post his best time. 

 

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10 minutes ago, phil bottle said:

Looks to me like driver error from Lewis 46 seconds into the lap where he gets his turn into the corner slightly wrong. What you reckon @Greboth?

 

 

 

 

It's a tricky one, the mistake certainly didn't help though Verstappen set 3 purple sectors so I don't think Hamilton would have gotten pole even without the mistake.  Especially as he's sector 3 time was slower than his PB too.

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What a first race that was! It was great actually because we popped on to try and play Valheim and then ended up watching the F1 race together with @Plumbers Crack , @TurboR56Mini , @crispymorgan  and @RenFengge ! Whilst it stopped me playing cos of frames, if i can do it again i'll try because it was definitely enjoyable watching the race and talking to people about it at the same time.

 

Hamilton played a blinder I thought as Verstappen clearly had the car to win that race. Superb 4th place for Norris and another stellar drive from Perez from the pit lane to get 5th. Those remaining laps kept creeping down tensely as Verstappen ate away at Hamilton's lead. Unfortunately for Max I think Hamilton cleverly defended his position to the point where Max pushed too hard on the wrong section of the track to takeover first whilst off the track. Having said that, that was the most mature i've seen Verstappen regarding him giving the place back as quickly as he did. I think we all expected him to drive Lewis off the track but fair play. Its only one race in the season and a long way to go.

 

Did I miss where Gasly went btw? His Qualy pace was lightning and then he completely dropped off in the race! Granted I missed the start unfortunately.

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21 minutes ago, GazzaGarratt said:

 

Did I miss where Gasly went btw? His Qualy pace was lightning and then he completely dropped off in the race! Granted I missed the start unfortunately.

 

He ran into the back of someone and knocked off his front wing so dropped back getting a new one.  It was a shame as he qualified well and was on for a good result.

 

A lot to take away from this race

 

Tsunoda in the other Alpha Tauri had a strong race for his first ever race in F1.  Early days but a driver to keep an eye on.

 

Vettel....It was a shame he got penalised but didn’t really drop him back to many places.  It was starting to look like he got his mojo back with his fight with Alonso then he goes full retard and hitting Ocon especially as he tried to blame Ocon too.

 

Haas - oh God they look bad! They’ve said this year is a write off as they’re focusing on next year but if they’re this bad at the opening race it’s going to be a tough season.  Mazepin, or Haasaspin as he’s now known, really showed why he’s a pay driver.

 

Perez smashed it and if he can keep it up he’ll be a solid second driver which could put Bottas under some pressure.  Bottas had a hard time keeing ahead of the Red Bulls at times so without Merc’s advantage it could be difficult.

 

It looks like it’s going to be a tight season up front.  You’d have to say Hamilton has the advantage as he’s got less pressure of winning his first title and knows better how to deal with the pressure of fighting for a championship.  The technical side of the development fight is always interesting too.

 

Lots to look forward too, just a shame the next race is 3 weeks away 😞 

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34 minutes ago, Greboth said:

Vettel....It was a shame he got penalised but didn’t really drop him back to many places.  It was starting to look like he got his mojo back with his fight with Alonso then he goes full retard and hitting Ocon especially as he tried to blame Ocon too.

 

Man, he could've got points but he really did lose it with Ocon didn't he?! Nice to see Aston Martin do well though....albeit we have to see their sponsor Congizant on a regular basis *body shudders hearing the word*

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  • 3 weeks later...

What a race Imola was! Right decision to bring the track back over a year ago and the race was certainly one to not miss!

 

Hamilton showed he was human by making a mistake that ultimately cost him the win as he would've caught Verstappen imo. Max run a strong race and that start was something to stand up and applaud, although I was expecting Perez to outshine him, especially in the rain! Somehow he just wasn't on form and really suffered badly as the race went on.

 

Bottas struggled hard and thats why I probably have some admiration for Hamilton in that race as he clearly showed people how to drive that car as he made his way back through the pack. The Bottas/Russell incident was a tough one to call - overall I think it was a racing incident but if you had to blame someone unfortunately it was Russell - albeit, Bottas did make a slight movement. Russell reacted to the twitch a little more than we would all have expected and thats when he touched the grass. Glad both were okay.

 

The star was clearly Lando. With the Ferrari's struggling to keep it on the track, his teammate left in the dust behind him, he was immense and getting round the track and also for a moment after the restart he looked quicker than Verstappen! Top effort and personally I was delighted to see McLaren back where they belong.

 

Finally, it wouldn't be an F1 race without good ol' Mazespin doing what he does best! 🤣

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another decent race yesterday. Portugal was bound to be less incidents although it was good to watch strategies unfold. Hamilton and Verstappen are really a stride ahead of others. You could see on a track that Bottas is extremely quick at, he just couldn't handle the pace and made costly errors to lose his places. It felt like Hamilton was in the zone this week and was pretty much unstoppable. Norris yet again driving phenomally well. Can't believe he's 3rd in the rankings, its super to see although I think he was abit unfortunate not to come higher because he had to switch to Mediums to cover the Sainz pitstop 1 lap before and then a few laps later people started to realise the Hard tyres were working slightly better than Mediums.

 

The last few laps got interesting to try and get the extra point from the fastest lap. Red Bull thinking lets try and knick the point, and then Mercedes covering with Bottas. I mean, Verstappen was probably a little unlucky to get his lap wiped as it looked millimetres but it was better to see stewards be consisitent at this race as they picked up every time it happened as opposed to previous races.

 

Definitely a great start with two manufacturers very competitive and seeing McLaren slowly edge themselves closer. Even Ricciardo had a great race after a really poor qualifying. I fear Ferrari are inevitably closer to pulling out of F1 though. They just look a distant memory of what they used to be back in the day. I'm not a personal fan of them but the sport needs them regardless.

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Yeah, yesterday was an alright race.  I think the DRS was a little too strong so it made overtaking in to T1  a little too easy but it was good to see Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas going wheel to wheel for the win.  One thing I couldn't work out for the fastest lap was why Mercedes didn't do it a lap later - it would have only given Bottas 1 lap to go for it but it would have prevented Red Bull and Verstappen going for it.

 

I agree about Norris too, he's doing very well in that McLaren though his 3rd in the WDC is bolstered by Bottas' and Perez's current lack of points.  So sadly, I don't think Norris will hold on to it but I can see him managing to bag 5th in the WDC behind the 2 Merc's and Red Bull's.  Ricciardo had a mare of qualifying but he made up for it the race and I think he could help McLaren get 3rd in the WCC again.

 

I don't think Ferrari will pull out though, they do GT racing but their big selling point is F1.  I think the world and markets would need to change drastically for them to actually pull out.  It is somewhat a shame to see them struggling but it's the nature of F1; pre Schumacher reign during the early 00's it was all McLaren and Williams for about 20 years.

 

Which does handily segway to Williams, I do find it a shame that they are struggling at the back and continue to do so.  Russell is qualifying so well but for one thing or another doesn't manage to convert that to race finishes.  Quali'd 11th I was really hoping he'd manage to sneak a place and score his first points but that car was horrible to drive for some reason.  I really hope that will the with the investment from Dorliton they can start to move forward.  I never thought I'd be happy that Williams are a midfield team but if they can get more in the mix with Alpha Tauri, Alpine and Aston Martin it would be great.

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Portimao was an ok race, but baring a few moments of excitement, I could have easily fallen asleep to the race. The width of the track on the straight all the way down to turn 1 is simply a bit ludicrous and with the DRS it made it almost impossible to defend from someone as you had the width of six M25s worth of space on either side so all anyone needed to do was just dummy one way and then switch back.

 

Bottas once again was the bridesmaid never the bride. Started off so well but as soon as he got into a period of managing tyres especially on the hards he just didnt have the pace. Getting done by Hamilton and Verstappen rattled him and I think he already knows his chances for this season are done. Fastest lap is a small consolation for a track where he has always been quick over one lap.

 

I think the low rake design of the Mercedes definitely helped at this track especially with the wind that was massively affecting the high rake cars like the Red Bulls and the Ferraris. Whilst all of the drivers were complaining about the track over the weekend, with its lack of grip and cold track surface temps, you could see that Red Bulls in particular, suffered badly with aero balance especially over the last couple of corners which hampered Verstappen getting close enough for a pass down the straight even with DRS.

 

The Mercedes engine was definitely the one to have at this track, with Mclaren all weekend, and the Williams of Russell in quali, showing some ridiculous pace down the straight.

 

The thing to remember with this season is for a lot of teams (excl Merc and RB at this point of the season), they are putting little to no resources (Haas...) into this season as the regulations are going to change for next year and it would be prudent to concentrate a lot of your efforts on the next phase of the regulations. Start too late and you will pretty much write off the next 2-3 years as you will be playing constant catch up.

 

Thanks to the token development system, Ferrari couldnt actually do to much this year (new engine and a small bit of suspension work) and knew they would struggle, but they have made a massive step up from their troubles last year. The financial cap that has come in has also meant they have had to diversify their staff and operations rather then lay them off (big no no in Italien law i think), so expect them to do a massive push into GT racing with the new hypercars, but they wont be going away from F1 anytime 😉

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know how sleeping beauty felt after that race....well maybe not the beautiful part.

 

Monaco continues to always be about the Saturday and is the most interesting and exciting part as the drivers push in qualifying.  It was strange seeing Hamilton so far down given that Bottas wasn't really too far off his normal qualifying position.  Though his DNF and Hamilton being unable to make any advancement up the order has really swung both championships.  Though I think Monaco is a one off, Merc have rarely been strong there even when they've dominated the rest of the season.  So I think next race normal order will be resumed with them fighting for the front with Red Bull.

 

Ferrari were the surprise though, previous races it's been McLaren who've looked more like the third team.  I wonder if Ferrari were the reverse of Mercedes, and they'll drop down the order again when we go back to more 'normal' circuits.

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20 minutes ago, Greboth said:

I know how sleeping beauty felt after that race....well maybe not the beautiful part.

 

Monaco continues to always be about the Saturday and is the most interesting and exciting part as the drivers push in qualifying.  It was strange seeing Hamilton so far down given that Bottas wasn't really too far off his normal qualifying position.  Though his DNF and Hamilton being unable to make any advancement up the order has really swung both championships.  Though I think Monaco is a one off, Merc have rarely been strong there even when they've dominated the rest of the season.  So I think next race normal order will be resumed with them fighting for the front with Red Bull.

 

Ferrari were the surprise though, previous races it's been McLaren who've looked more like the third team.  I wonder if Ferrari were the reverse of Mercedes, and they'll drop down the order again when we go back to more 'normal' circuits.

 

I thought Aston Martin had a great result and props to Vettel.

 

Listening to an angry Hamilton on the radio when he realised he had been pitted too early and lost a place instead of gaining, just not his weekend.

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That's a good point, Aston did do better this weekend, especially Vettel who looks like he might have found some pace in his new team.  My opinion of Vettel varies constantly but he is a 4 times WDC so it would be a shame to see him stuck in mediocrity.

 

Ricciardo disappointed again though, after Spain I'd hoped he was on an upward trajectory as I think McLaren have the strongest driver pairing on the grid, only really challenged by Ferrari's pairing.  I suppose though, Monaco is a track where "you have to be one with the car" and if you're not then you are really going to struggle.

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  • 1 month later...

Last few races has been a real worry for Mercedes as we've watched Red Bull dominate from a power perspective. The French GP was a cracker and not much that Lewis could do in the end whereas yesterday Syrian GP was just domination in the end from Verstappen. Knowing Toto, you do expect them to work harder than ever to make it tighter ASAP.

 

What's more impressive is seeing Lando in his Mclaren fight really hard at the top spots to hold 4th in the championship and for a brief moment, George Russell was on fire in his Williams. Sitting 8th and would've caught Alonso if he didn't start having problems with his car overheating. Such a shame for him and Williams. Can't wait to see them pushing hard over the next few races into the top 10 if they can keep it up.

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57 minutes ago, Greboth said:

What a quali from Norris and Russell!!!! Great results for them both and hope Russell can finally get some points.

 

I came here to say the same thing as they both did amazing laps! And to think Norris was fastest in the first sector and on the last corner he was actually ahead of Verstappen!

 

Would love to see them both score points and keep both the Ferrari drivers far behind them but not sure how long they can keep their race pace down.

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