23 Grand Prix in one Formula 1 year – more than ever. Despite the corona pandemic. An Englishman who wants to make history with his eighth title. A Spaniard who is returning … and yes, there is a Schumacher again. Everything you need to know to kick off the weekend.
What’s new this year
There are no major changes to the cars. The teams only developed the cars from 2020 further. What is new is a well-known face: two-time world champion Fernando Alonso drives for Alpine. Incidentally, the former Renault racing team is not the only one with a new name and new outfit. Racing Point became Aston Martin. Sebastian Vettel is now driving there, Sergio Perez has switched to Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo is accelerating for McLaren instead of Renault after Carlos Sainz Junior switched to Ferrari instead of Vettel.
New to the racing calendar – and not without public discussions – is Saudi Arabia. Something else is new in 2021: There are two safety cars. Aston Martin and Mercedes provide it this time. Once green, once bright red. They take turns.
- 8 – Lewis Hamilton can become the sole record holder with his eighth world title ahead of Michael Schumacher.
- 23 – Races are to be held this season. More than ever in Formula 1. In 2020, 17 took place due to the corona pandemic.
- 352 – If all 23 Grand Prix are actually driven in 2021 and Kimi Räikkönen also takes part in all of them, the Alfa Romeo driver would increase his best start value to 352.
- 553 – Days have passed since Sebastian Vettel’s last Formula 1 victory for Ferrari in Singapore 2019 at the season opener in Bahrain.
- 854 – Days have passed since Fernando Alonso’s last Grand Prix of returnees from the Alpine region after his Formula 1 break.
- 15’138 – Days (or: 41 years and 162 days) Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Räikkönen is the most experienced driver at the first Grand Prix of the season in Sakhir.
Four of them have achieved 13 drivers’ titles. Lewis Hamilton: 7 World Cup successes, Sebastian Vettel 4, Fernando Alonso 2, Kimi Räikkönen 1. They are fan favorites, guys with rough edges, sometimes more, sometimes less. Hamilton, the record champion together with Michael Schumacher, who, in addition to his sporting insatiability, has long been characterized by his struggle for justice, against racism and for more diversity. Vettel, who wants to start again after seven untitled years at Aston Martin. Raikkonen, who can still boast of being the last Ferrari world champion, and Alonso, who once finished Michael Schumacher’s triumphant drives with Renault. Together, Hamilton (36), Vettel (33), Alonso (39) and Räikkönen (41) are 149 years old.
Mick Schumacher is undoubtedly the most prominent driver who will celebrate his racing premiere in Formula 1 in Bahrain. The only debutant is Michael Schumacher’s son, who turned 22 last Monday, but not. Nikita Masepin, also 22 years old, will compete with him in the Haas team. Last season they were opponents in Formula 2, which Mick Schumacher won. The Russian has often made a name for himself through negative headlines, father Dimitri is a billionaire and co-sponsor of the Haas team. Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda, a talent from Japan, joins Alpha Tauri. The 20-year-old made it from Japanese Formula 4 to Formula 1 in just three years.
Sebastian Vettel’s retirement from Ferrari set things in motion. In order for the 33-year-old to be able to accelerate at Aston Martin, Sergio Perez had to leave the former Racing Point team. In the end, however, the Mexican found a job that Vettel already had: Perez switched to Red Bull, where Alexander Albon was out of the race after a disappointing season. Vettel’s place at Ferrari will be taken by Carlos Sainz Junior this year, while Australian Daniel Ricciardo moved from Renault to McLaren for the Spaniard.
Where to watch the races
At SRF, long-time Formula 1 commentator Michael Stäuble and, for the first time, Michael Weinmann took turns in live reporting in 2020. Former Formula 1 driver Marc Surer also appeared as an expert in selected races. It is still unclear whether this list will remain in place for 2021.
Swiss television will broadcast the qualifying sessions and races live up to and including 2022.
Pull out the agenda: the racing calendar
Poll: Who will be world champion in 2021?
Who will win the world title?
And if you have read this far, then there is a tip on your own as a reward