Less than three months after the chequered flag dropped in Abu Dhabi in the final race last year, all of the 2021 Formula 1 cars have been unveiled.
Ferrari was the last to pull the covers off this year’s challenger, which it hopes will return it to fighting at the front.
However, the launch video was leaked an hour before being broadcast — just days after Williams was forced to pull its augmented reality launch when details of its new car were revealed early.
Not all of the 2021 cars are as they seem, with all teams hiding parts of their cars, or fitting dummy sections to frustrate rivals. The most sensitive parts won’t make an appearance before testing later this week, or even the first race.
Some teams, such as Haas, have simply shown their livery — the US team adopting the red, white and blue colours of its new Russian sponsor Uralkali.
Aston Martin has unveiled its 2021 car, marking a return to F1 racing after 61 years and Mercedes has shown off its W12, which it hopes will carry the team to its eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship. Red Bull has been the most secretive of all, with just a handful of pictures released.
Ahead of preseason testing starts this week, scroll down for images and details of all the 2021 Formula 1 car launches.
The Mercedes W12 is the follow-up to what was possibly the fastest F1 car of all time, and it’s likely to set the tone for the season.
The W11 was the class of the field and helped the team to a seventh consecutive Constructors’ Championship, an unprecedented run of domination. No pressure then to follow that up.
If Mercedes has succeeded on building on its performance, then there’s every chance that it will continue its winning streak, with an eighth championship for the team – and probably for Lewis Hamilton.
The team is confident: it says that it has fixed the MGU-K power unit element that suffered a number of failures last year, and — as with all teams — is being extremely secretive about the design of its rear floor, where it will be hoping to recoup the downforce lost by rule changes this year.
2021 Mercedes livery
Mercedes retains the black livery that it introduced in response to the Black Lives Matter protests last year, as continues to take action on equality. “We changed our livery last year because we wanted to publicly make a pledge for greater diversity and inclusion,” said Toto Wolff. “The black livery was a sign of our commitment and it was the start of a long process – a process which needs our continuous support.
“We have taken some promising steps over the past few months with programmes and initiatives that are aimed at various aspects of diversity and inclusion.”
As well as unconscious bias training for managers, Mercedes has a target of recruiting a quarter of new starters from under-represented groups for five years and is working with Lewis Hamilton on a joint foundation to improve diversity in motor sport.
Ineos retains its prominent red branding on the roll hoop but AMG logos replace the three-pointed stars on the engine cover — save for the single red one in memory of Niki Lauda and his contribution to the title-winning run of the team.
Last season, Dr Helmut Marko claimed the team had a championship contender on its hands with the RB16 and that it had to provide Max Verstappen with a championship-calibre car.
Unfortunately for the Dutchman and the Milton Keynes-based team, it didn’t quite pan out that way as it claimed just two race wins in 2020 having targeted five.
This year, the team will be able to build on the momentum it gained towards the end of the season as it out-paced Mercedes in Abu Dhabi, but we’ve been here before. Whether the team has unlocked a step in performance or if the champions just eased off the neck of its rival will become clear after the opening round of the season.
Red Bull launched its RB16B on February 23, and the team used up one of its filming days to conduct a shakedown at Silverstone ahead of pre-season testing.
There is hope within the team that a car “improved in all areas” will deliver a significant improvement on last year, which represented Ferrari’s worst season for 40 years.
Its sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship was a result of a power deficit compared to rivals; the team had to rebuild its power unit following a private FIA settlement ahead of the 2020 season.
This year’s unit was described by team principal Mattia Binotto as “completely new”, and it’s just the start of the gains that the team thinks it has made over the winter break. “The car has been improved in all areas where developments are permitted,” he said. “We must work in a determined and focused way, aware of where we were and where we want to go.”
2021 Ferrari F1 livery
It’s red, yes, but not as you know it. Ferrari liked the burgundy colour used to celebrate its 1000th race last year at Mugello so much that it has returned to the shade in 2021.
It’s a recreation of the colour used on the first car that Ferrari produced in 1947 — the 125S — and is noticeably darker than the scarlet colour used in recent years, with an even darker section around the rear wing.
The change also makes the new dash of lime green from its sponsor, the Philip Morris Mission Winnow brand, stand out even more. Elsewhere, there’s a new paintbrush-style font for the driver numbers.
The drivers’ names are written by the roll-hoop air intake, but will generally be too small for TV viewers to spot.
McLaren was the first team to reveal its 2021 challenger, as it heads into the new season with a new power unit having ditched Renault in favour of Mercedes.
It’s the first time since 2014 the Woking team has run Mercedes power, after a miserable three years with Honda and progression with Renault.
The team was granted special dispensation to modify its car and accommodate the new Mercedes power unit, as cost-saving measures introduce for this year severely limit the development of cars. Read our analysis of the 2021 McLaren design changes to see what has altered.
The launch was streamed from McLaren’s Technology Centre and featured new signing Daniel Ricciardo driving into the building shortly after Lando Norris.
In a form of team bonding, the pair were shown in a music studio collaborating on a new McLaren anthem, before the car was unveiled.
2021 McLaren livery
McLaren is sticking to its papaya and blue livery for this season, so you really need to see this year’s car next to the 2020 version to spot the differences. There’s an extra splash of blue on the nose, advertising British American Tobacco’s ‘A Better Tomorrow’ brand and the rainbow logo has been dropped from the halo, following F1’s announcement that cars will no longer carry the symbol.
Elsewhere, the changes really are minimal, although the design is likely to change before the first race. There’s a large empty space on the engine cover and no Mercedes logo as yet, for a start.
Renault becomes Alpine for 2021, with the French manufacturer morphing into and taking the name of the company’s competition division.
The team released images the rebranded car in Alpine colours for the first time on March 2 ahead of testing.
The return of Fernando Alonso to the Enstone team he won both of his world championships with is one of the major narratives heading into the 2021 season, but the team will have to make a major step if it is going to provide him with a race-winning car this year.
Another fifth-place finish in the constructors’ standings was a disappointing result for the French outfit having appeared to make gains on rivals midway through 2020.
If you painted last year’s Racing Point green, then it would look like this year’s Aston Martin AMR21: an evolution of last year’s competitive package.
A new bulge in the side of the engine cover is similar to the one that’s appeared on the 2021 Mercedes and is needed to accommodate some of the developments to the Mercedes engine that the teams share.
Aston Martin has also been able to upgrade the suspension that it takes from Mercedes, adding the 2020 version to the car without having to spend its development tokens.
Sebastian Vettel’s arrival at the team will help underline the start of a new era for the Silverstone-based team after it put together an impressive season in 2020 that included a race victory.
If it can replicate the form it showed last season, the return of the Aston Martin name to Formula 1 will be a success in its first year back.
2021 Aston Martin livery
As expected, Aston Martin has adopted a green livery, reminiscent of the colour its cars ran during grands prix in 1959 and 1960. Its continued sponsorship from BWT sees it retain a pink stripe in the colour used by the water treatment company.
2021 Aston Martin AMR21
Although AlphaTauri initially showed off its 2021 livery, the team revealed its 2021 car on track at Imola with a shakedown of the AT02. The car featured the cut away floor mandated by new regulations to cut downforce levels as well as a redesigned front nose cone.
Both Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly were present to give the ’21 car a brief run out before the team heads to Bahrain for testing next month.
The team scored a surprise victory last season at Monza and will be hoping it can build on that in 2021. A short online reveal included a brief fashion show for the AlphaTauri label and a revised livery for the car
Japanese driver Tsunoda will partner Gasly at the team in place of Daniil Kvyat after a very impressive rookie season in Formula 2 last year.
2021 AlphaTauri livery
White-rimmed wheels and more matte blue paint are the big changes on this year’s AlphaTauri, as the team starts its second season. The two-tone white and blue livery remains, but there’s more emphasis on the darker colour, which now covers the nose and front wing. Head-on, it’s a very different look to last year’s white front end.
AphaTauri is once again the dominant sponsor, with few others to clutter the design. Only the red of Honda diverges from the colour scheme, which gives the engine manufacturer prominence in its final season.
The car was launched on Pirelli’s hard compound, white-striped tyres that match the colour scheme: the team will be forced to choose substance over style with the softer yellow and red compounds when the season begins.
2021 AlphaTauri AT02
One team with an unchanged line-up is Alfa Romeo but the team will be hoping the 2021 car is an improvement on last season’s effort.
The team launched its 2021 car in Warsaw, Poland with a theatric display ahead of the winter test in Bahrain.
Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi both achieved points finishes in 2020 but the team will be hoping its successor can push them closer to the midfield pack.
2021 Alfa Romeo C41
It hasn’t been a quiet winter break for Haas, as the return of the Schumacher name to F1 attracted headlines.
Mick Schumacher’s team-mate Nikita Mazepin has come under sustained criticism for a social media video he posted, showing him groping a woman. Team principal Gunther Steiner described the video as “abhorrent” but has also come under fire for not revealing how the team dealt with the actions of the young Russian.
Meanwhile, the new Haas livery has been unveiled in the Russian colours of new sponsor Uralkali — owned by Mazepin’s father. This sidesteps the current ban on Russian athletes competing under the flag of their country, following the Sochi 2014 doping scandal at the Winter Olympics.
The requirement for Mazepin to race under a neutral flag is unlikely to cause too much of a headache for the organisers of the podium ceremonies, as Haas has slipped away from its promising 2018 form in which it ended the season fifth in the championship as 2020 was its worst season to date with just three points accumulated.
This year looks to be even tougher, with Steiner saying that the American team has stopped work on the 2021 car and has no planned upgrades, with all of its focus on the 2022 season where new regulations offer the team its best chance of closing the gap to rivals in front.
Its rookie driver line-up may make things even more difficult in the short-term but backing from Uralkali could help the team get out of its struggles as it continues to work on and invest in its 2022 car.
2021 will be the first full F1 season in which Williams is without a Williams family member in control as the Dorilton Capital takeover in 2020 has given the team a new lease of life for the future.
The new era continues this year with the FW43B and the team has unveiled a radically new livery for the new season.
Team principal Simon Roberts stated last year that the fresh funding will allow the team to operate near the upper limits of the budget cap rules that come into effect this year.
“We are looking at what we can do and we now have the finances behind us to do that,” he said last season. “But it’s not a given. We will only spend money and invest where it makes sense.”
One area that will have been focused on is the floor, which will be different for each team this year with new rules designed to slow the cars down to keep the Pirelli tyres in safe conditions.
It’s an area that Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson believes will allow the team to close the gap to the cars in front.
“It is a major change to the floor, particularly that area close to the rear tyre, an area where we suspect we’re not class leader, so hopefully for us, it’s less of a hit than some of those other teams.”