We predict the 2021 grid! Hamilton retiring, Schumacher debuting?

24-08-2019 15:39
by Adam Newton
General
We predict the 2021 grid! Hamilton retiring, Schumacher debuting?

Earlier this week, we tried to predict the grid for next season, so now we're going to go one step further and have a go at guessing what the grid will look like in 2021! Before you read this, I recommend you check out our 2020 predictions here, as some things we've gone for in 2021 were affected by our 2020 predictions. As always, let us know what you think in the comments below!

Mercedes – Esteban Ocon and George Russell

Hold fire, I can already see your angry comment asking where Lewis Hamilton is. In this prediction, we can see Hamilton calling it a day after 2020, as he matches Michael Schumacher’s title record and beats the German’s win record. This leaves Mercedes to promote George Russell to partner Esteban Ocon, forming a very talented and youthful duo capable of taking on anyone. We did consider a move for Max Verstappen for Mercedes, but we think they’ll stick to their own talents.

Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc

All change at Mercedes, no change at Ferrari! Leclerc is their man for the future, and although Vettel may not be at his best in 2021, he’ll still only be 34 when the season starts, and could be the perfect foil for a developing Leclerc, similarly to how Kimi Raikkonen was for Vettel in the last few years.

Red Bull – Max Verstappen and Alex Albon

In our 2020 predictions, we had Valtteri Bottas partnering Verstappen, with Albon at Toro Rosso. However, we believe that Red Bull will want to stick as closely as possible to their ethos of promoting their young drivers, and in 2021 we may well see a return of Verstappen and Albon as teammates. This would make sense as Albon is arguably the best product of the academy since Verstappen himself, and they could form a formidable partnership at Red Bull to challenge at the top.

McLaren – Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris

McLaren have had a great 2019 and have their two drivers locked in for next season already, so we can see things staying exactly how they are in 2021, providing the team continue on their recent upward curve. Sainz has proven himself as a great driver this season and Norris is one of the most exciting young talents around, meaning that McLaren will want to keep hold of them both as they look to become a race winning team once again.

Toro Rosso – Patricio O’Ward and Juri Vips

Here we go, the first look into the world of rookie drivers for 2021. Red Bull’s young driver program is looking a bit thin for 2020, but by the time 2021 rolls around, there should be some good candidates to jump in the Toro Rosso. Mexican O’Ward was signed up to the development squad earlier this year after some decent performances in IndyCar and is supposed to be one of the most talented youngsters outside of Formula 1 and its traditional feeder series. Whilst you may have heard of O’Ward, Juri Vips is perhaps a name many of you won’t know. The Estonian 19-year old is currently racing in Formula 3, sitting second in the championship, and is highly thought of in the motorsport world to be a star of the future. This prediction could be wrong, but it sounds exciting if it comes true!

Renault – Daniel Ricciardo and Guanyu Zhou

Ricciardo joined Renault this season with the hopes that the French team could become a top team in 2021, so it’s very likely he will be sticking around for the rule changes. In our 2020 predicted grid, we had Pierre Gasly at Renault, but we believe that Renault will put trust in their youth system and sign up impressive Chinese youngster Guanyu Zhou. Renault’s academy is in a pretty good place right now, with Jack Aitken, Antoine Hubert and Zhou all starring in F2 right now. Realistically, any of these could be in line for an F1 drive, but we’ve gone for Zhou as he’s the youngest of the three and has arguably been the most impressive in F2 this season, despite not securing a victory yet. Additionally, there’s the business side to think about, and Renault having a Chinese driver could really open a market for their road cars.

Alfa Romeo – Pierre Gasly and Mick Schumacher

We had Gasly at Renault last season, but with Renault’s young talent, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him ousted from the French team. However, the young Frenchman is certainly good enough for a Formula One drive, so we’ve got him down to join Alfa for 2021. Joining him will be Mick Schumacher. Michael’s son has made a good impact on F2 this season, winning a race in Hungary, but is not ready for the big time in 2020. Another solid season in F2 and perhaps a title challenge and he could easily be in F1 for 2021.

Racing Point – Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez

I think it’s a pretty well considered opinion that as long as Lance Stroll’s father Lawrence is in charge of Racing Point, Lance will have a seat there, so we’ve gone with the Canadian to stick with Racing Point for 2021. Also staying is the reliable Mexican Sergio Perez. He brings good sponsor money and know the team inside out, so unless his form really dips off for the second part of 2019 and 2020, we don’t see him going anywhere.

Haas – Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg

This is the pair we picked for Haas in 2020 and if Haas are on the grid in 2021, they’ll probably want to stick with a proven line-up, and these two are just that. Reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi is an option but we think that Haas will want to stay true to experience to help them stay alive if money is tight.

Williams – Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvyat

Predicting a grid like this is a bit of a jigsaw, and this is what we’re left with for Williams. But if you think about it, this kind of makes sense! Bottas started his career with Williams and after some time at the top, he may decide to go back there, especially if they’ve made steps back into the midfield. Daniil Kvyat will be too old to stay with Toro Rosso for another year, and with Albon beating him to a Red Bull see him looking elsewhere for a drive, which leaves him at Williams! We did consider Nicholas Latifi, who was in for 2020, but Kvyat is a proven talent and if Williams want to progress back up the grid, they’ll need drivers with true pace.

So, what do you think? All wrong, or spot on? Maybe we’ll revisit this in 18 months’ time to see how accurate (or inaccurate) we were. Let us know in the comments below which changes you would make to our line up!

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