Where F1's calendar shuffling hurts its new drivers
OPINION: Formula 1 endured major scheduling challenges thanks to the pandemic in 2020, but still managed to save its season. These difficulties remain in 2021 and create a tough knock-on effect for the championship's new arrivals
Sometimes, life needs something new, something different.
In 2020, one of the very few upsides to the hideous impact of the coronavirus pandemic was that, in terms of the schedule at least, Formula 1 had a dose of variety thrown in. Of course this came at a cost, for the championship's business model thrives on tracks and certain countries paying to host races, but it did provide a variance flavour. The Nurburgring, Imola and Istanbul returned, while Mugello, Portimao and the Bahrain 'outer loop' made first-time appearances.
The necessary changes to F1's schedule were painful as 'normality' evaporated, but the variation it provided reinforced its value - which applies across all of sport - as escapism. How excellent it was to wonder about what racing the Mugello's brutal nature would provide when F1 rocked up at the MotoGP paradise.
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Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?
The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship
Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone
Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle
Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.
Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman
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