Wacky Predictions for 2021: Perez fired, podium fights and Abu Dhabi madness!

Wacky Predictions for 2021: Perez fired, podium fights and Abu Dhabi madness!

01-01-2021 16:00

Happy new year! Every year here on we look ahead to the next year in Formula 1 and think about what would happen if we were to direct the craziest movie of all time. This year we've got driver transfers, fights on the podium, mid-season retirements and much more! Remember, this is entirely fictional and we doubt any of this will happen in real life, and make sure to leave your own alternate storyline in the comments section. You can click here for the 2019 and 2020 versions of the alternate season if you like!


We get a first look at the new cars for 2021, with Renault taking everyone by surprise as we’ve all forgotten they’re now called Alpine. The new livery looks good, but people still call them Renault until at least August. Despite forgetting about Alpine, everyone is ready for the release of Aston Martin’s car for 2021. However, the British manufacturer seems to have mixed up the F1 car and the new James Bond car, with lasers and machine guns on the front and an ejector seat for the driver. Sebastian Vettel is furious, but admits Aston Martin are still more organised than Ferrari were in 2020.


After all the excitement of the car reveals, F1 news is a bit quiet for a month in February. Nevertheless, Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Lando Norris keep everyone entertained by bringing back their sim racing streams, after the popularity they gained last year. Alex Albon asks if he can join. The other drivers are keen to let the former Red Bull driver in on the action but Helmut Marko says no, telling the Thai that he isn’t allowed to drive on the real track so he can’t on the virtual one. Poor Alex.


Formula 1 action finally gets back underway and fans are ready for the first practice session in Australia. Suddenly, Michael Masi announces the whole weekend is cancelled, to keep up with 2020 tradition. Masi believes that the action on track in 2020 was so good and now he’s become superstitious, hence the cancellation of the Albert Park event. The backlash is so huge, Masi is forced to quit and the race is back on. Despite initial joy at the race going ahead, fans are soon wishing they hadn’t bothered as Lewis Hamilton takes the win ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.


The Vietnamese Grand Prix is replaced at short notice by the first South African Grand Prix since 1993 and Formula 1 is widely praised for returning to the continent. Teams, fans and sponsors are all happy that F1 has finally returned to being a true global sport, but one person who isn’t happy is Lance Stroll, who is almost eaten by a lion on a safari tour. Despite the scare in the wild, Stroll returns to the exciting Kyalami track to secure a fourth podium in F1 after a clash between the Red Bull drivers. Everyone blames Max Verstappen for turning across Sergio Perez, but the bosses at Red Bull deem the incident the Mexican’s fault, so they fire him and promote Yuki Tsunoda. Daniil Kvyat returns to Alpha Tauri.


The European leg of the season begins with the Spanish Grand Prix, but does anyone care? Fans decide that society has moved past the need for the Circuit de Catalunya, giving the race terrible viewing figures after another snoozefest. Of course, F1 decides the only logical thing to do is renew the contract of the race in Barcelona for the next five years. Monaco makes a welcome return to the calendar after missing out in 2020 and the race is an absolute classic, with Charles Leclerc taking his first win of the season in his Ferrari after a defensive masterclass, holding off teammate Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton for a famous home victory.


Daniel Ricciardo looks enviously at his old team as Alpine as Fernando Alonso scores a podium in Azerbaijan, before Esteban Ocon emulates his teammate the following week in Canada. Meanwhile, Ricciardo has struggled to get to grips with his McLaren, hasn’t smiled since China and has scored just two points all season, courtesy of a P9 finish in Bahrain. Determined to ruin Alpine’s home race at Paul Ricard, Ricciardo pits in front of Ocon and ‘accidentally’ goes into his old pit box, blocking Ocon and ruining his race. On his exit from the pitlane, the Australian swerves into Alonso as he’s being lapped, putting the Spaniard into the barriers and ensuring Alpine end the French Grand Prix with zero points. Cyril Abiteboul is furious with his former driver and Ricciardo earns himself a five-race ban. He’s replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, who is becoming F1’s super-sub for all occasions.


With the COVID-19 pandemic more under control than ever in the UK, thousands of fans flock to Silverstone to see if Lewis Hamilton can win yet another British Grand Prix. But, after a strong start to the season, Mercedes seem to have lost all of their pace and Hamilton qualifies tenth, finishing eighth. McLaren see an upturn in form and Hulkenberg impresses. The German looks set for third, but a last lap engine issue confirms his F1 podium jinx, as he is passed by Sebastian Vettel. Mick Schumacher scores his first points in Formula 1 with a strong drive to P9 and Kimi Raikkonen decides he’s bored of F1 and retires mid-season, never to return to the F1 paddock. Alfa Romeo announce that Nico Hulkenberg will replace the Finn, before being reminded Hulkenberg is already filling in for Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren, so they give Callum Ilott the drive for the rest of the season.


Not a lot happens at the Hungarian Grand Prix, although Alpine continue their good form with a double podium as Charles Leclerc takes his second victory of the season. F1’s stars use the three-week summer break to take a holiday. Lewis Hamilton goes to Miami, Carlos Sainz spends a few weeks in his sunny home city of Madrid and Valtteri Bottas goes cycling somewhere. On return from their time off, Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon go head-to-head for victory in Belgium. Ocon dives down the inside of his rival into Les Combes, forcing the Red Bull driver off the track. Verstappen spins out and can only recover to finish fifth. Enraged, Verstappen seeks out Ocon on the podium after the race and ruins the Frenchman’s maiden win, punching him as he lifts his trophy. The disgraced Dutchman is issued a three-race ban, meaning he will miss his home race at Zandvoort.


There’s riots at Zandvoort. The home fans are not happy about Max Verstappen’s ban and they’re even more furious about his replacement, with Nico Hulkenberg making the move from McLaren to Red Bull as Daniel Ricciardo returns. The FIA announce the event will go ahead despite the protests, with Dutch fans spending time on the lovely beaches at Zandvoort rather than watching the race, giving us a reminder of 2020 with no fans in the stands. They miss a classic however, as Lando Norris becomes F1’s latest first-time winner with a masterful drive as the favourites struggled with tyre temperatures. Lewis Hamilton was back to winning ways and in the hunt for title number eight after victory in Italy, holding off Carlos Sainz, who finishes second at Monza for the second year in succession. The Russian Grand Prix rounds off the month, but even in a crazy season such as this, nothing happens.


F1 prepares for the busiest month of the season, with four races squeezed in. George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, without points in 2021, take advantage of a Singapore circuit designed perfectly for their car and both drivers finally finish in the top ten, leaving Nikita Mazepin as the only driver yet to score points in 2021. The young Russian is furious at being last in the standings and demands a better car. He calls his dad and tells him that Haas need more money to develop a better car, but after an injection of cash from an unknown German investor, Guenther Steiner tells Mazepin to take his problem somewhere else, and fires him on the spot. After Max Verstappen’s return to Red Bull following his ban, Nico Hulkenberg joins his third team of the season, replacing Mazepin at Haas. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz trade victories in USA and Mexico as the title battle heats up, with several drivers in contention.


Drivers and fans are ready for one of the most exciting races of the year as F1 looks set to go to Interlagos for the Brazilian Grand Prix, but just one week before raceday, F1 announces the event will be moved to a street track in Rio de Janeiro. Nobody is happy with the decision, but F1 has a bit more cash, so the decision is made. The track features a sector along the famous Copacabana beach, but race organisers don’t take the tide into account when designing the track, meaning FP3 is cancelled due to a flooded circuit. Following the debacle in Brazil – where Daniel Ricciardo took his first victory in three years, F1 travels to Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Despite protests from fans, the race goes ahead and was a surprising success. The track was excellently designed and with Mercedes having their annual pit-stop implosion, Pierre Gasly came through to take the second unlikely win of his career so far.


As usual, the season ended in Abu Dhabi, with as many as five drivers in contention for the crown of 2021 Formula 1 World Champion. Lewis Hamilton arrived at Yas Marina confused, believing the season to already be over. To be far to the Brit, his season is usually wrapped up by the time F1 reaches the Middle East. His confusion lasted all weekend and as a result, Hamilton was no threat to the other four title contenders. In a resurgent Haas since Nikita Mazepin left the team, Nico Hulkenberg claimed pole, 11 years after his last, ahead of fellow title rivals Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso. Ferrari pitted Leclerc early, and Alpine decided to cover the undercut with Alonso. Little did they know, Daniil Kvyat had pitted under an early Safety Car onto hard tyres, and was set to go the whole race without another visit to the pitlane. Outraged at a repeat of his 2010 heartbreak, Alonso brought his car into the pits and retired to the Spanish sun immediately. Sainz and Hulkenberg were fighting out front for the title, and Sainz was clearly faster. The years of bad luck Hulkenberg had endured in F1 flashed before everybody’s eyes. The clash with Hamilton in Brazil 2012, hitting the wall from P2 at his home race in 2019, all those P4 finishes and all those broken promises of a golden future. Leading with a lap to go, the front right tyre burst on the number 27 car. It was over, but the lords of good karma decided Hulkenberg finally deserved some luck, and they ensured the gap to Sainz was just big enough for Hulkenberg to bring the car home for a maiden podium, a maiden win and a maiden title. Hulkenberg’s season was an incredible one, three teams, 13 P4 finishes and that glorious Yas Marina victory.

Well, that was quite a journey! If the real 2021 season is anything near as crazy then we’re in for a treat! What insane events would you like to see happen in F1 this year? Let us know in the comments! But for now, Happy New Year, wishing you all the best for an amazing 2021!

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