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ADITYA GOKHALE | 3rd March 2021

As the 2021 season draws closer, we take a look at the top 5 things that we’re looking forward to see. Well, the top 5 things I’m looking forward to see.

Without further ado, here’s me driving my points home.

5. The Sainz-Leclerc rivalry at Ferrari

Carlos Sainz’s relationship with his former McLaren teammate, Lando Norris was always that of brothers. However, everybody including myself is predicting that the same won’t be the story at Ferrari. Carlos and Charles are both drivers who always look to improve and couldn’t care less, at least on the surface if it is their teammate between them and their goal.

We’ve seen this with Vettel and Charles with their multiple clashes while at Ferrari. We’ve also seen this with Sainz while at Renault and Toro Rosso.

It’ll be an interesting watch in 2021 to see if their rivalry will help them reach great heights or implode, with their rivalry hurting Ferrari further.

It’s going to be a heated one

4. Ricciardo and Norris, enough said

Ever since it was announced that Daniel Ricciardo would be joining Lando Norris at McLaren in 2021, Formula 1 fans were frothing at the opportunity of seeing two of the funniest and most charismatic drivers on the grid in the same team. However, Ricciardo has announced that the fans shouldn’t expect too much of the duo as they are professionals before anything else who want to compete at the top.

However, with a duo as box office as them, there are no doubts that we can expect some quality content in the future. However, on the track, it will be interesting to watch how these two deal together as Danny will be looking to get back challenging at the top as one of the elite drivers, while Lando will be looking to prove he can be much more than a second fiddle and hold his own.

Only time will tell how this unfolds.

3. Can Williams finally aim higher?

Williams are one of the few classic teams left in F1. However, they have been dwelling at the bottom of the standings for the last 3 years. In 2021, Williams will be looking to put some distance between themselves and the bottom of the standings.

With the Williams family bowing out in the middle of the pandemic-affected 2020 season, US based financing company, Dorilton Capital rejigged the team by injecting them with the funds to ensure they mean business. However, Dorilton will be looking for instant improvement from the Oxfordshire-based roster, otherwise they will be sold off, probably as a B-team for another constructor.

Operations have been eased at the factory for Williams as they have struck a deal with Mercedes for the supply of most legal parts. What is expected is this will also save up some dough for the development of the rest of the car.

It’s your time to rise above, Williams.

2. Driver Vs Car at Red Bull: Sergio Perez

Ever since Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull Racing in 2018, the second seat at the team has been somewhat cursed, with Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon both struggling to match the high flying Dutchman, Max Verstappen. While Max has been there and thereabouts with the Mercs, his teammates have been stuck fighting the midfield. However, with the signing of Sergio Perez, the shortcomings of his predecessors may come to light even more.

Checo has a lot of experience and this will be a litmus test of the RB16B as, if he is unable to tame the beast, it will be made clear that it wasn’t a problem with Albon and Gasly but rather the car’s instability that led to their short terms at Red Bull.

1. Can Honda finally help Red Bull win the title?

Ever since Honda’s return to F1 in 2018 with Toro Rosso, they have been on a steady rise back up to the top. However, for Red Bull in 2020, that was a stopcork in their hopes to challenge the Mercedes duo as a bout of unreliabilty ruled Max Verstappen out in 5 of the 17 races, causing him to bow out of the title fight. However, Verstappen still finished only 9 points off Valterri Bottas and the biggest positive came at the Yas Marina Circuit in the last race of the season. Honda has already announced they won’t be continuing in F1 as an engine supplier after 2021 and there will be a massive push at the Honda factory to bring forward all the upgrades planned for 2022 and beyond.

Honda will also be looking to improve their energy recovery as their engine’s intellectual properties will be picked up by the Red Bull team and used through to 2025, due to the engine freeze in 2022. It’ll be very interesting to see if Honda’s ERS woes can be put aside, in their last season in F1, to help Red Bull to end Mercedes’ 7-year winning streak.

Is this year their year?

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