Weekly F1 Recap: Australia circuit changes, car launches & more

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Weekly F1 Recap: Australia circuit changes, car launches & more

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The first car launches took place this week, starting with the McLaren launch that left some fans disappointed. Changes to the Australian Grand Prix circuit have been announced as well, aiming to create more overtaking opportunities.

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February 2021








McLaren was the first team to unveil their 2021 car, showing the world their MCL35M on Monday. The launch left many fans disappointed by the lack of changes to the car, primarily stemming from the fact that the team’s livery is virtually the same as the 2020 car. McLaren were given exemptions for some of the sport’s restrictions on car changes ahead of 2021, as they had to make room for their new Mercedes power unit.

© Red Bull Content Pool

McLaren was not the only team to reveal their car this week. AlphaTauri released images of their new car on Friday. The team’s new livery is predominantly blue, with white along the bottom of the car. The car is called the AT02.

Although there were no other car launches last week, three teams did confirm their launch dates as the 2021 season rapidly approaches. Red Bull will launch the RB16B on February 23. Alpine (formerly Renault) will reveal their A521 on March 2. Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point) will show off their new car on March 3. This leaves only Haas who have yet to confirm a 2021 launch date.

While their car won’t be launched until March 5, Williams released a teaser video of their new FW43B completing a shakedown session at Silverstone. While the car was blurred in the video, the car does not appear to be wearing the white livery it ran last season.

The release date for season 3 of the Netflix series Drive To Survive has been confirmed to be March 19. The documentary series follows stories from within the F1 paddock, giving fans a glimpse behind the scenes of the sport. A statement called this season of the documentary “the most dramatic season to date”.

© Haas F1 Team

Since the Austrian water treatment company BWT entered the F1 scene with Racing Point in 2017, they’ve become well know for their pink car. But with Racing Point rebranding to Aston Martin and opting to run a green car, their BWT sponsorship ended. However, the pink cars may not be out of F1 just yet. Reports suggest that BWT has had discussions with both Williams and Haas. Notably, the Haas car was lacking sponsorships since their messy divorce with Rich Energy in 2019, with now only a big “Haas” logo printed on the sidepod of the car. This and the fact that the team have yet to confirm a launch date for their 2021 car have led some fans to believe that the a sponsorship deal may be in the works for the American-owned team.

Although Haas has yet to confirm their car launch date, they did confirm that Pietro Fittipaldi will be the Haas reserve driver for 2021. Last season, he participated in two races for the team in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, substituting for an injured Romain Grosjean after his late-season crash.

Sebastian Vettel has put 8 cars from his collection up for sale. Of the 8 cars, 5 of them are Ferraris, 3 of which he acquired while employed by the team. The list includes a 2002 BMW Z8 Roadster, 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series, 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, 2016 Ferrari LaFerrari, 2004 Ferrari Enzo, 1996 Ferrari F50, 2016 Ferrari F12TDF and 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale.

Changes to the circuit that hosts the Australian Grand Prix have been revealed. Some of the work to the Albert Park circuit has already been completed, including widening the pit lane by 2 meters, potentially allowing the circuit to increase the speed limit. A wider pit lane means that the pit wall now sits on the edge of the circuit, removing the grass that Daniel Ricciardo used to start his 2019 Renault debut in style.

The most notable change includes the removal of the turn 9/10 chicane. What was previously a hard braking zone into a tight right hander will become a gentle right turn leading into the quick turn 11/12 left-right complex. This will allow the drivers to carry more speed, which the event organizers hope will create a better overtaking opportunity in turn 13. The camber and entry angle of turn 13 will also be modified to help promote overtaking. This work is expected to be completed by July.

The circuit is also overdue for a complete resurfacing, which will be completed after the scheduled race in late-November. That will mark the first major resurfacing of the circuit since its F1 debut in 1996.

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About Wesley Branton:

Wesley is a motorsport journalist from Canada who fell in love with Formula One many years ago. His work has been featured in other major motorsport news publications.

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