Mercedes Domination Won’t Go Away, but F1 Fans Have a Lot To Look Forward To in 2021

From a Championship perspective, the 2020 season hasn’t been quite the title fight F1 fans would’ve hoped for. We’re only just past the halfway mark, but Lewis Hamilton’s seventh F1 World Championship looks set in stone. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely for anyone to really challenge the mighty Mercedes next year. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean another boring season in 2021.

With the homologation rules in effect and the revolutionary regulation changes pushed to 2022, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone if Hamilton romps to an 8th Championship and crosses the triple-digit mark in wins. As a result, the Silver Arrows are untouchable for the near future.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 6, 2020 AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly celebrates winning the Italian Grand Prix on the podium with second placed McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and third placed Racing Point’s Lance Stroll REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The F1 budget cap

That being said, 2021 is an exciting prospect for the teams that have delivered so often, when the big boys have failed. Yes, Formula 1’s midfield – the unsung hero in the pinnacle of motorsport that’s a world of its own, could revolutionize F1 next year.

While the major regulation changes aren’t coming in next year, F1 will enforce a budget cap in ’21. For those uninformed, F1 teams will have to adhere to a strict financial ceiling of $145 Million from next season. With outrageous car development costs gone, Mercedes and Red Bull have no choice but to cut down, giving teams like McLaren and Renault a chance to do some serious damage.

Charles Leclerc leads Stroll and Perez during the Tuscan Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy – September 13, 2020 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Some big changes

Will this turn the competition on its head? Maybe not. But the midfield finally gets a chance to push the top teams like never before.

Budget caps are exciting, but not game-changing. Bridging the gap to a team like Mercedes isn’t something that happens overnight. It could take years (as Ferrari has learned all too well) but that doesn’t signal the end of Formula 1 as a spectacle.

And that is where F1.5 steps in.

Racing Point and McLaren are set to shake things up in the midfield by virtue of some mammoth changes. Racing Point will become a works Aston Martin F1 team and Mercedes will power McLaren just like the old days.

Drivers often talk about the midfield being “tight”. With shoestring budgets and cut-throat competition, scoring every point makes all the difference. At the forefront of the midfield battle are three well established F1 teams with the common goal of breaking away from the pack and taking the fight to the likes of Mercedes.

Old Foes meet again

Renault, McLaren, and Racing Point have been bitter rivals for years now, but the stakes just got whole lot higher thanks to the teams’ upcoming driver lineups.

F1 Tuscan Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy – September 13, 2020 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Miguel Medina

Daniel Ricciardo heads to McLaren, Sebastian Vettel heads to Aston Martin, and Fernando Alonso, arguably one of the best F1 drivers, returns to Renault. For years, fans have wished to see the best of the best battle it out in cars that aren’t poles apart.

With equal machinery, F1 fans are in for a treat when Vettel and Alonso resume their storied rivalry on a level playing field. More importantly, the highly disputed driver vs car theory in F1 may finally end, assuming the aforementioned teams don’t fade away next season.

With mouthwatering battles and rekindled rivalries, 2021 cannot get here any sooner.