As Formula 1 enjoys its winter break, the industry has not missed a beat or stopped evolving with several new developments and interesting news to come out of the sport in the New Year.
Below is a brief summary of everything you have missed in the sport you love in 2021.
The Knight: Sir Lewis Hamilton
Formula 1 World champion Lewis Hamilton was knighted in the Queen’s Honours list for his excellence in the sport and his efforts to open it up to a greater minority, as well as for his strides to fight against racism and inequality.
In the last season he also used his platform and his tenacious voice to fight for the rights of the Black Lives Matter movement, and to bring awareness to the lack of support that minority communities receive in sport.
Williams giving up its independence?
Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited, currently racing in Formula One as Williams Racing, has built a reputation as one of the final independent racing teams in the sport. However, that reputation is now being called into question as they made deal with Mercedes to use their gearboxes from 2022.
Team principal Simon Roberts said in an interview that: “Williams is an independent team, but Formula One is always evolving, and as a team we must be agile to react to the current climate in order to put the team in the best position to be competitive on track.”
Earlier in the year, the team’s namesake owner and principal, Frank Williams and his daughter Claire Williams sold the outfit to Dorilton Capital in an effort to see the team reach its glory days.
This new merger with seven-time constructors champions Mercedes could be the start of the great team’s come back.
Drivers testing positive for COVID-19
Several drivers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the off season with McLaren driver Lando Norris testing positive while on holiday in Dubai.
Shortly after, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc too tested positive for COVID-19 in his hometown of Monaco where he is currently self-isolating.
Both drivers reported mild symptoms and that they are feeling “OK” apart from the obvious symptoms such as a lack of taste and smell.
Abiteboul leaves Renault
In a shocking new development reported this year, team principal of four years, Cyril Abiteboul will be leaving the Renault Formula 1 team as the leader ahead of the teams rebranding in 2021 as the French manufacturers sporting brand: Alpine.
Abiteboul thanked the team for trusting him “for many years, particularly with the relaunch and reconstruction of the team since 2016.”
No replacement has been announced since, however, the team are expecting the expertise of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso as he will drive for the team in the coming season commencing this March.
Delayed start and postponed races
The sport has had to delay its start to the season with races like Melbourne and China having to be postponed to a later date due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Formula 1 season will kick off with its first race in Bahrain from the 26th to the 28th of March and the Imola Grand Prix which was originally scheduled for April will be moved up to follow the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“We are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali said.