With the 2021 Formula 1 season getting underway this weekend in Bahrain, SWL profiles all the teams competing in this year’s championship, and McLaren and Aston Martin are certainly two teams to watch, with the battle for third place well and truly up for grabs.
Only Ferrari have won more in Formula 1 than McLaren, winners of eight Constructors’ Championships and 12 Drivers’ Championships since entering the sport in 1966.
Lewis Hamilton, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost are some of the iconic names to have won the title with McLaren, though the team hit its lowest point during the mid 2010s as they repeatedly struggled to make any real impact.
However, under the guidance of CEO Zak Brown the team has improved noticeably since the end of 2018.
Having finished sixth in the Constructors Championship back in 2018 the team finished third in 2020 with an impressive 202 points, with only Mercedes and Red Bull surpassing them.
Drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris both picked up a podium finish, alongside consistently finishing in the points, and both finished inside the top ten in the Drivers’ Championship.
Sainz has moved to Ferrari this season but Norris is staying for a third season and will be joined by the experienced Daniel Ricciardo, in what is arguably the most popular driver line-up with F1 fans.
Ricciardo brings seven race wins and 31 podiums with him, and will be hoping for further success having achieved just two podium finishes during an underwhelming two-season spell at Renault.
A notable change for McLaren this year is that they are returning to the Mercedes engines that they used from 1995-2014, having used Honda and Renault engines since then.
Though they will probably be off the pace set by Mercedes and Red Bull, another strong season seems likely and they are perhaps the favourites to take that third spot.
One of the most iconic car manufacturers of all time, the Aston Martin name returns to Formula One after a 61-year absence.
The team, rebranded from Racing Point, launched in March with a star-studded ceremony that saw the reveal of arguably the most stylish car in this year’s line-up.
In team owner Lawrence Stroll and team principal Otmar Szafnauer, Aston Martin are anchored by two of the most ambitious men in the sport, who will be hoping to build on a successful 2020.
Racing Point’s ‘Pink Mercedes’ proved controversial with other teams in 2020, though a 15-point deduction did not prevent them from finishing fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 195 points.
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and picked up his first-ever win at the Sakhir Grand Prix, whilst Lance Stroll finished in a career-best 11th and picked up two podium finishes.
Stroll, son of team owner Lawrence, returns in 2021 though Perez has been replaced by a legend of the sport in the form of Sebastian Vettel.
Four-time world champion Vettel had a torrid time during his final couple of seasons at Ferrari and will be hoping for greater consistency in a team that proved much more reliable last season.
Aston Martin will continue to use Mercedes engines, just as they did when called Racing Point and Force India, and they will likely be strong contenders to be the ‘Best of the Rest’ behind the top two teams.
As well as building on the now-departed Perez’s victory, finishing third will be their goal this season.
You can check out all of SWL’s Formula 1 coverage here.
Featured image credit: Emperornie via Flickr CC BY-NC-N2 2.0