Formula 1 returns for 2021 – Daniel Ricciardo in orange, Fernando is back, is Mercedes sandbagging?

Well it seems so long between the crazy 2020 Formula 1 season that saw a heap of races cancelled and a very European look to the world championship due to COVID-19. Flash forward to the beginning of 2021 and a very early call was made to move Melbourne from the

Well it seems so long between the crazy 2020 Formula 1 season that saw a heap of races cancelled and a very European look to the world championship due to COVID-19.

Flash forward to the beginning of 2021 and a very early call was made to move Melbourne from the beginning of the calendar to towards the end of the calendar to hopefully allow some certainty about the event going ahead.

The driver market for 2021 was a bit crazy with Fernando Alonso announcing his return to the grid for Renault (now Alpine Racing), Daniel Ricciardo going to McLaren after two not so great years with Renault and Lewis Hamilton’s lengthy contract negotiations which were just a tad unneseccary, but after the performance of George Russel in his seat last year, was probably done to bring some attention back to him.

Daniel Ricciardo to McLaren

Daniel’s move to McLaren would have seemed far off just a few years ago but with the outfit changing to Mercedes engines and coming in third in the 2020 constructors championship, the timing for a move to McLaren couldn’t have been better. Ricciardo has made no secret that he wants a championship drive and if he needs to play some musical chairs to get there, well so be it.

With 2021 being a transition season into new regulations, the former Perth resident has been quoted as saying “I think this is my best chance to acehive what I’ve said all along is my goal and that is a world championship.”

“McLaren feels like the best chance for me to be able to do that with the way they’re progressing.”

“I’m not here to just say I got to F1. I wanted to be world champion and I still do.

The pairing of Ricciardo and Lando Norris is potentially a publicists dream, however Ricciardo poured cold water on the suggestion that they could be a “meme power couple” despite being two of the funniest guys in the paddock in recent times. This clip from pretty much sums up the behaviour of the two since Lando joined the field.

Did Ricciardo make the right move for 2021?

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No (0%, 0 Votes)

I’ll just sit on this fence right here (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Fernando Alonso returns …

Of all the people to return, 39 year old Alonso was probably not high on the list of who we’d expect to return to Formula 1. His career has been a mixed reaction of either legend or pain in the butt to have on the team. He was involved in the infamous crashgate at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix where his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr was ordered to crash deliberately. Lewis Hamilton and Alonso traded barbs in the 2007 season. Espionage scandals, delaying Hamilton during qualifying in Hungary resulted in tensions between the teammates and their crews. 

Eyebrows were also raised when he was allowed to compete in the Young Driver’s test at Barcelona denying an actual young driver the chance to test. This event is usually there for up and coming drivers to get a chance to get behind the wheel of an F1 car. Not for old timers to blow out the cobwebs.

The 2005, 2006 champion was chasing the triple crown with an Indy 500 win required to win either of the two versions of the triple crown (Indy 500, Le Mans, Monaco Grand Prix is the first with the second being Indy 500, Le Mans and F1 drivers championship), however had a string of bad luck in the IndyCar car which was run by the McLaren racing team.

Was Mercedes Sandbagging?

Every year in the “Mercedes” era of F1, they turn up to testing and the car performs average, the commentators and media get ALL excited that the tide is changing for the champions and then they go on to blitz the field from race 1.

So is this year any different? The team did 140 laps of testing on the final day with Valtteri Bottas putting in 86 laps and Leiws Hamilton 54. The best lap time for Bottas was 1:32.406 and Lewis was a 1:30.025. Don’t let those times fool you, over the 3 days they both put in better and worse “best times”.

Max Verstappen from Red Bull put in a 1:28.960 for the fatest time of the 3rd day with an Alpha Tauri, Ferrari and an Alfa Romeo finishing ahead on the timing before the Mercedes of Hamilton. Hamilton’s best time of the testing was on the third day, so is he really 5th fastest? 

Speaking ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix to open the 2021 season, Toto Wolff had this to say: 

“It feels like we have spent quite some time in Bahrain recently, and with mixed fortunes. Overall, it was a tricky three days of testing for us. The W12 wasn’t as stable, predictable or planted as some of our rivals. Red Bull looked strong on both the long and the short runs, but as always with testing, it’s difficult to be certain of true performance.”

“The only thing we know for sure is that we must prove our ability to react. From the moment the third day of testing finished, we got our heads down and started to figure out how we can return to Bahrain in stronger form in just a few days’ time.”

“While these cars share some parts from their predecessors, there have also been significant rule changes to interpret and overcome. We have also had to change the way we work in response to the cost cap. But as we have found before, it’s from the difficult moments that we learn the most.”

“This team’s biggest strengths are our people and our values, and after a tough test, I know that we can fight back stronger. I’m looking forward to getting this new and exciting season underway, seeing the progress we can make and how we fare in Bahrain.”

We’ll let you make your own mind up!

Is Mercedes Sandbagging?

Yes (100%, 1 Votes)

No (0%, 0 Votes)

Why are they helping with floods? (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 1

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The Bahrain GP kicks off from Friday 26th March with the race on Sunday 28th March.



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