Many of us in the 944 world keep an eye on Formula 1 Racing – and if you don’t, no problem! The 2021 Season starts in a few weeks, and Chris Duffy, our resident online PCA iRacing Series racer, had a few thoughts in advance of this season’s kickoff in Bahrain. So here it is…from Chris Duffy…
They say if you’re going to make predictions, you should do it in public, so that you’re sure to audit your predictions later. That’s how you get better at predicting.
So here we go, constructor’s and driver’s championship results for 2021, with comments.
1) Mercedes: I mean this is a given, right? I don’t think the domination will be quite as strong, but it’s another Merc year. Toto leaves as team principal at the end of the season, maybe even by mid-season.
2) Red Bull: They get *much* closer to Merc this year but still finish second. They have a surprisingly difficult time fighting with –
3) McLaren: MCL looks like a legit contender for second place most of the season, but doesn’t have the follow-through required to finish it.
4) Aston Martin (Green Mercedes): Turns out last year’s Mercedes isn’t better than McLaren’s solution after moving to Mercedes power. McLaren has been dealing with Renault, and, well, engineering done with limited resources yields better solutions.
The real battle will be for positions 5-7. These are all a toss-up, but they are presented in the order I think will happen.
5) Ferrari: They’re gonna tell us they have it all figured out, and that they are fast again. They aren’t. Also, this will be the best intra-team rivalry you’ll see all year, because Carlos isn’t going to let Leclerc by.
6) Alpine (Blue Renault): New colors, new money, renewed commitment from the parent company, new team principal – lots of distractions. They aren’t slow – they put up a good fight against Aston and Ferrari – but they make mistakes.
7) AlphaTauri: There will be flashes of brilliance, but they will be hampered by rookie mistakes and mechanical failures due to using used Red Bull parts.
8) Williams: Williams’ new owners have had time to move in. Mercedes knows they are going with George next, so they will be helping out however they can, and the new money won’t hurt. At times, they will be higher up the order, but eventually they will settle in towards the back, because they will realize they should be using their new resources on *next* season, not this one.
9) Alfa Romeo: There are too many problems at Ferrari for Ferrari to care at all about Alfa.
10) Haas: Haas has already said that they’ve *already* halted development on the 2021 car to focus on 2022. So they are using one of the worst cars from last year, this year, with an all-rookie, “pay” driver lineup. Gunther himself has said they expect to not do well.
1) Hamilton (Merc): Not by as much as previously, but yes, another championship. He leaves driving at the end of 2021. It becomes obvious he’s on cruise control.
2) Bottas (Merc): Bottas also leaves Mercedes at the end of 2021. He’s closer to Lewis this year and he will talk about that, a lot, blind to the fact that he didn’t get better – Lewis got worse.
3) Perez (Red Bull): Verstappen out-qualifies Perez, but Perez keeps the points close thanks to his consistency in the race. This goes right down to the wire. Perez pips Verstappen by 2 points in the last race of the season.
4) Verstappen (Red Bull): Oh boy is he upset about this. That’s okay, he learns a lot from Perez. Depending on the equipment next year, he could be a world champion.
5) Norris (McLaren): The second upset on the list, Norris beats Ricciardo, barely. Norris has a bit of a break-out season.
6) Ricciardo (McLaren): You’d think he’d be upset, but he isn’t. He’s just happy to be in a fast car again. He has some *really* good runs, but Norris ends up being more consistent.
7) Leclerc (Ferrari): Charles does well for Ferrari a few times, when the stars align. Those few good-point hauls pull him up the list
8) Stroll (Aston): Lance gets the good parts, learns from Vettel, and largely stays out of trouble.
9) Sainz (Ferrari): Carlos has a hard time adapting to an F1 car with no power, and ends up on the losing end of team contact a couple times.
10) Vettel (Aston): Vettel has difficulty adjusting, and Aston doesn’t give him what he needs. That said, he still gets to beat Ferrari sometimes, and that’s all that matters.
11) Ocon (Alpine): Esteban is a consistent finisher for Alpine and maybe even has a couple flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately the car lets him down fairly often.
12) Gasly (AlphaTauri): The car just generally isn’t fast, but, he gets to be the experienced driver who decimates an incoming rookie teammate every single week. That’s good, he needs some time on the other side of that coin. Begins to consider rides outside the Red Bull ecosystem for 2022.
13) Alonso (Alpine): Fernando’s triumphant F1 return is really just a way to secure him for development of the 2022 car. His race craft is fine, but his race pace is generally terrible. Since he’s doing 2022 development, he’ll also be getting the experimental parts – which will break. Occasionally he’ll be in front of faster cars, watching them try to pass him will be entertaining.
14) Russell (Williams): Fights further up the list for the first half of the season. Drops towards the back during the second half, because Williams changes their focus to the 2022 car.
15) Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo): Shows up to the track every week. Finishes races most of the time. Just way slow.
16) Tsunoda (AlphaTauri): Lots of rookie mistakes, gets out-qualified and out-raced by his teammate every week, rumors of dropping him come out. Of course, the rookie isn’t the problem. The problem is he’s being compared to Gasly, an experienced GP winner.
17) Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo): Realizes that his ‘hobby’ has become boring. Retires at the end of 2021.
18) Latifi (Williams): Doesn’t score a point all season. Still manages to be classified above the Haas drivers.
19) Schumacher (Haas): Could be good if we saw him driving a real F1 car. Unfortunately, until then, we just don’t know. Crashes more than expected. Battles with Latifi and Raikkonen most of the season, DNFs classify him lower than them.
20) Mazepin (Haas): Makes friends with Kimi. Shows up to practice drunk at one point. Has PR problems. Blames poor performance on everything else. Gets retained for 2022, because Haas doesn’t know how to fire drivers, and this one is bringing money.
21) Grosjean (Haas): Romain runs Monaco in place of Mazepin, who showed up drunk to Thursday practice. He was in Monaco anyway, because he’s not running the Indy 500. He finishes the race well out of the points, but that doesn’t matter. The last drive in Formula 1 the Frenchman has is on the streets of Monaco.
So there you are. The 2021 Season in a nutshell. What do you think?
I haven’t watched a single F1 race since about 2018, it just got too ridiculous. Nowadays I only watch pre 1990 F1 on Youtube. Reading your predictions confirms my feelings that I haven’t missed anything!
BTW, I love your blog!
We enjoy the personalities…after all, it is an “entertainment business.” If I want to see real racing, I go with the amateurs at one of the local short tracks or an SCCA or PCA Club Racing weekend. That is where the passion is.
You missed quite the season in 2020 though! Agreed that in this generation, racing and the results have been super boring, but good lord were there some phenomenal racing in 2020!
100%… Now what do you think the real chances are of Porsche entering F1 again in 2025, and would it be with McLaren, Williams, or Red Bull?
2021 feels like a placeholder year. I’ll be following, but really looking forward to 2022 to shake things up a bit.
I think that you are correct in that 2021 will be a placeholder until 2022 and the new regs. It should be interesting, though, from the aspect of the driver changes in the mid-field – Vettel, Ricciardo,, Alonzo and Perez in particular. All are very good, very capable drivers, but moving to different teams and different cars that are basically the same as last year’s cars – but unfamiliar – should be a fun watch. I am also interested to watch Williams and George Russell – again, just a fun watch to see if he can move up the list, even get some points. All in preparation for 2022.
As in any entertainment-based sport, the fan has to care about the players, and in this case, the drivers and team personnel. Watching Toto Wolf consistently make good decisions – and a bad one once in a while – is entertaining. Watching Bottas try to catch Hamilton without crashing him is also fun. Kimi is always fun, especially the interviews. “Kimi, what happened? I crashed. Watch the video.” It will be a shame when he retires from F1, and we are in agreement that he would not make the transition to the broadcast booth.
There are many who just got bored with F1 and don’t watch, and that is fine. I used to like to watch the guys from NASCAR, but not any more – I lost interest in the people as the “old guys” cycled out. But now that they are on more road courses, I will take a look at those races. Again, its about your interest in the personalities, not necessarily the actual races.
So now you have my two cents.