F1 teams: 2021 season preview of the cars and drivers


All you need to know about the F1 2021 season including driver line-ups, key personnel and what to watch out for

2021 F1 Testing

The 2021 Formula 1 grid

Grand Prix Photo

The biggest Formula 1 season of all-time, 23 races in a little over nine months, 2021 promises to be an intriguing year.

Lewis Hamilton is aiming to become the most successful F1 driver outright, with the prospect of an eighth Drivers’ Championship elevating him above Michael Schumacher and out in front by himself.

Red Bull is looking like the closest challenger to Mercedes with the best chance of bringing the current era to a close and end the run of domination for the Silver Arrows.

Daniel Ricciardo has moved to McLaren as the team aims to continue its resurgence to the front of the F1 pack while two-time world champion Fernando Alonso takes his place at Alpine.

Ferrari is expecting a boost in performance versus last year from its 2021 power unit and the Schumacher name is back in Formula 1 as Mick Schumacher makes his debut at Haas.

Here is everything you need to know for the 2021 Formula 1 season.


Click here for full F1 2021 calendar



Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2021 F1 preseason testing

Mercedes W12

HQ: Brackley, UK & Brixworth, UK

Team Principal: Toto Wolff

Key staff: James Allison (technical director), James Vowles (motorsport strategy director), Andrew Shovlin (trackside engineering director)

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas


Mercedes enters the final season of the current rules period undefeated, taking every single championship since 2014. Will 2021 be a repeat? It might be a battle as the team did not enjoy the usual metronomic start to the season, posting the least mileage of any team during testing. The W12 looks to be a bit more of a handful for its drivers versus its predecessor, but the team hasn’t won seven-consecutive championships for no reason. Any issues it’s currently facing will surely be ironed out sooner rather than later.

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Red Bull

Red Bull RB16B

Red Bull RB16B

Red Bull Racing

HQ: Milton Keynes, UK

Team Principal: Christian Horner

Key staff: Adrian Newey (chief technical officer), Helmut Marko (head of driver development programme)

Drivers: Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez

A team that usually ends the season on a high note, Red Bull appears to have finally carried some of that speed into the new year. Max Verstappen topped pre-season testing and the RB16B looked to be much more stable than the previous iteration that made the rear end unpredictable. Those ill-handling traits look to have been ironed out with the changes in regulations, and with the addition of Sergio Perez, the team looks like it might be a title threat to Mercedes from lights out.

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MCL35M 2021 McLaren Racing


McLaren Racing

HQ: Woking, UK

Team Principal: Andreas Seidl

Key Staff: Zak Brown (CEO), Andrea Stella (Executive director, Racing), James Key (Technical director)

Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris

McLaren was one of the teams that left pre-season testing happiest of all. The team looked like it had migrated from Renault to Mercedes power seamlessly and showed promising pace on all three days. Daniel Ricciardo finished his morning sessions in the car fastest of all so appears to have also acclimatised to new surroundings right away, and Lando Norris has consistently built on his previous performances; 2021 is looking promising for the papaya crew.

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Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, AMR21


Aston Martin Racing

HQ: Silverstone, UK

Team Principal: Otmar Szafnauer

Key Staff: Lawrence Stroll (Chairman), Andrew Green (Technical director)

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll


The team courted controversy with its Mercedes lookalike last year, and the 2021 AMR21 has continued that philosophy of design. Aston Martin uses a low-rake concept like Mercedes though on first appearances, this might be a point against it. The high-rake cars looked much more comfortable with the new regulation changes during testing. With the addition of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to its toolbox and a new factory under construction, the team under Lawrence Stroll means business.

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Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team


Alpine F1 Team

HQ: Viry, France & Enstone, UK

Team Principal: None

Key Staff: Laurent Rossi (Chief executive officer), Marcin Budkowski (Executive director), Davide Brivio (Racing Director), Pat Fry (Chassis technical officer)

Drivers: Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon

Much has been made of Alpine’s unique F1 management structure. With the departure of Cyril Abiteboul and the hiring of Davide Brivio from Suzuki’s MotoGP team, the team says it is fine without a traditional team principal at the helm. Can it manage the returning Fernando Alonso though? The two-time champion makes his comeback in 2021 after Daniel Ricciardo’s departure to McLaren. The Australian grew disillusioned with the long-term project Renault had promised him; will the Spaniard be patient at Alpine?

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Carlos Sainz, SF21


Scuderia Ferrari

HQ: Maranello, Italy

Team Principal: Mattia Binotto

Key Staff:  Laurent Mekies (Racing director), Enrico Cardille (Chassis performance chief), Enrico Gualtieri (Power unit performance chief)

Drivers: Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz

2020 was the worst season for Ferrari in over 40 years. The team slumped to sixth in the standings with just three podium finishes all season. The team suffered a fairly toxic atmosphere with Sebastian Vettel racing knowing he was out of the team at the end of the year, but the team’s main issues stemmed from its private settlement with the FIA over its power unit. This year, the team says its data suggests it has made gains in terms of top-end speed versus last year, and the arrival of Carlos Sainz could further re-energise those at Maranello.

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Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02



HQ: Faenza, Italy

Team Principal: Franz Tost

Key Staff: Jody Egginton (Technical director)

Drivers: Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda

AlphaTauri is another team on the up and was one of the stronger packages throughout pre-season testing. Pierre Gasly rebounded from his demotion from Red Bull to become a first-time F1 winner at Monza last season, and the addition of Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda makes for a promising line-up this year. Tsunoda has enjoyed a rapid ascent in the single-seater world, rising from Japanese F4 to F1 in just five years. He finished testing second fastest after some rapid times on the final day.

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Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo C41


Antonin Vincent / DPPI

HQ: Hinwil, Switzerland

Team Principal: Fréd Vasseur

Key Staff: Jan Monchaux (Technical director)

Drivers: Kimi Räikkönen & Antonio Giovinazzi


One of just three teams to field an unchanged line-up in 2021, Alfa Romeo has stuck with what it knows for the new season. Its focus is very much on the 2022 regulation changes and it says it did not want to deal with the challenges of welcoming a new driver in a crucial year for development. The experience of Kimi Räikkönen will likely be vital, but so too is the promise of more power from the Ferrari engine.

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Haas F1 Team VF21, Nikita Mazepin


Haas F1

HQ: Kannapolis, US & Banbury, UK

Team Principal: Guenther Steiner

Key Staff: Simone Resta (Technical director)

Drivers: Mick Schumacher & Nikita Mazepin

The return of the Schumacher name to Formula 1 is one of the key stories heading into the new season. Mick Schumacher took the F2 title last season but could be in for a tough debut year. Haas has made its intentions clear already and has already switched full focus to 2022. The car has received limited upgrades since the beginning of the 2020 season but fresh investment from Dmitri Mazepin and new title sponsor Uralkali could turn Haas’s fortunes around.

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Williams FW43B


Williams Racing

HQ: Grove, UK

Team Principal: Simon Roberts

Key Staff: Jost Capito (CEO), Jenson Button (Senior advisor)

Drivers: George Russell & Nicholas Latifi


2021 is the first full season without a Williams family member at the helm of Williams Grand Prix Engineering. Instead, Simon Roberts has taken over as team principal with Jost Capito returning to F1 as team CEO after a brief spell at McLaren in the past. Dorilton Capital has high hopes for the team but any major improvements are unlikely until 2022. George Russell was a star performer last year, and with both Mercedes drivers out of contract at the end of the season, a drive at the top team looks there for the taking.

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