Formula 1 good month, bad month: June 2021

James Elson charts the ups and downs of the F1 circus

Good month

Classic tracks up

F1’s classic tracks

The swoop of Aqua Minarale, the dive into Rivazza, the thrill of Piratella: Imola is the closest that bitumen gets to poetry. Surely the drama of ‘classic’ circuits beats that of the ‘Tilke Drome Tour’ in more recent years? More please.

Drive to Survive up

Drive to Survive 3

Purists should stop complaining: if you want a more ‘objective’ view, watch the season review DVD instead.

Aero regs up

The new aero regs

Downforce was trimmed by 10% this year in a bid to stop Pirelli tyres bursting with sheer pride at F1’s record-breaking speeds. Hang on though, what’s this? The new rules seemed to have had the convenient side-effect of… slowing Merc down. Title battle here we come.

Practice time up

Less practice time

F1 teams now have one hour less to practice on Friday, the result being more entertainment. No longer can Hamilton and co perfect their social media while waiting for the Haas road-sweeper to clean the track for them, they’ve all got to get straight out there. Watching the cars fight for every last bit of road is glorious.

F1 safety up

F1 safety

Latifi and Russell decided to do 150mph barrier safety inspections, using Mazepin and Bottas as launchpads. Both Grove cars are destroyed, but we almost take for granted that drivers walk away.


Bad month

Alpine down


Alpine’s avant-garde approach continues, with its ménage-à-trois management of Brivio, Budkowski and Meo imitating an early Jean-Luc Godard film: slow, ponderous and no-one really seems to understand what’s going on.

Haas down

Track limits

The track limits debate has reached nauseating levels. What became of gravel traps, punishment for a mistake and covering yourself in more gravel than glory? Sakhir’s run-offs may as well have extended into neighbouring countries (ignoring that Bahrain’s an archipelago).

Vettel down

Seb’s green pastures

Sebastian Vettel currently has the aura of a man who wouldn’t hire himself to drive for his own team. Vettel’s woes are compounded by the fact it appears Aston Martin has copied the wrong car, the new aero regs not being kind to the low-rake squads. It’s going to take more than a PR rebrand to fix this one…

Perez down

Curse of the second seat

What kind of curse did Ricciardo cast on the second Red Bull car? Bahrain self-shutdown, then catastrophe in Imola.

2021 F1 regs

2022 F1 rules change

We might just be in for a classic in 2021. What happens the next year then? A new rules change, likely leaving one genius team way out in front as the rest flounder, perhaps stopping any chance of a repeat title battle for years to come…