Long-anticipated season starts with Bahrain GP

The longest season in F1 history, with 23 races, is all set to kick-off when cars roll out for the first free practice at the Bahrain GP on Friday. After only three days of testing allowed, there’s a lot of performance still left to be extracted from the fastest cars in the world when they take to the F1 racetrack on Sunday.

The F1 paddock is abuzz with anticipation and changes to teams and rosters

The F1 paddock is buzzing with the noise that this might finally be the year that sees the end of Mercedes’ F1 domination, given their lackluster show in testing. Their team bosses as well as the drivers have admitted that the rear of the car is not as planted as they would like.

However, Mercedes are known to downplay themselves at the start of the F1 season, only to come out all guns blazing when it counts. They certainly have the talent and the expertise for it.

However, Red Bull looks like a team hungry for redemption. They had almost perfect pre-season testing and looked strong on both long and short run pace.

“They’re going to be a different machine or animal this year with, I think, a really good, strong line-up for two drivers and a really good car.” said Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull have always had a good F1 car but this time they might finally overcome the Mercedes challenge.

The surprise in pre-season testing, though, was Red Bull’s second team, Alpha Tauri. They’ve looked like they would give tough competition to the front runners in the mid pack.

Yuki Tsunoda was second on the time sheets in testing, and even though this has little relevance, the black and white liveried car will be the one to watch in action.

A resurgent McLaren with a new Mercedes engine looked promising. This season could see them fight for podium places on a consistent basis and take the fight to Ferrari for third place in the F1 championship.

We have two rebranded teams in the form of Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point) and Alpine (formerly Renault).

Along with that, there have been considerable driver changes in the paddock. We’ve seen Danniel Ricciardo move from Renault to McLaren, Carlon Sainz move from McLaren to Ferrari, and the return of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso to Alpine.

Sergio Perez moved from Racing Point to Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari to Aston Martin and 3 F2 graduates have joined the paddock – Mick Schumacher (Haas), Nikita Mazepin (Haas) and Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri).

Published 26 Mar 2021, 01:33 IST

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