The main prizes are divided. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have prolonged their world titles and the focus of the racing stables is shifting to 2021: new round, new opportunities. With cars that do not deviate from the current Formula 1 cars due to cuts and postponement of the new regulations.
Therefore, the F1 teams will focus on the i in the near future. This includes the traditional chair dance around the scarce cockpits. Who stays where he sits? Whos moving? Who stops? Where are vacancies? The most exciting question concerns Max Verstappen. Whos gonna be his teammate?
Red Bull Racing has three options: Alex Albon, Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg. The latter had already said goodbye to the king class, but was summoned when Lance Stroll and Pérez were felled by corona. The retired 33-year-old German has had conversations with Verstappens team leadership, but is still in a state. “I hear it. They have my number.”
For Hülkenberg it is a golden opportunity to score his first F1 podium spot. Red Bull flirts with the Hulk because the team leader thinks that an experienced driver is better able to break Mercedess hegemony. Hülkenberg would also be a fine adjutant to help Verstappen win the world title.
For the moment, Verstappens moderately performing teammate Albon gets the benefit of the doubt. “We want Alex to succeed and do everything we can to help him,” says team boss Christian Horner. Albon was instructed by him to dispel all doubts about his position during the races in Portimão and Imola, but in both Grand Prixs the Thai-British driver again performed under the standard.
With one stage spot, Albon scores miserable this year, yet Red Bull sources say that he will be given more time to prove himself. That sounds surprising, but on closer inspection it is easy to explain.
Due to the dominance of Mercedes and the dip at Ferrari, Verstappens racing stable is sure of the second place in the World Championships for manufacturers. The corresponding millions in prize money are in. Pierre Gasly was slapped last year because the fight with Ferrari was in full swing. Such panic football is not necessary now.
Red Bulls patience is frustrating for Pérez. The 30-year-old Mexican, who has to make way for four-time champion Sebastian Vettel at Racing Point, is in the waiting room against his will.
“ Its very annoying that I still dont know if my F1 career is coming to an end. Not ideal, but I expect Red Bull to make a decision soon. That should be, too. The season is almost over and I want to think about my future too.”
Pérez, still good for a surprising second place in Turkey on Sunday, tried to get a foot in the door at Williams, but got zero on probation: the British racing stable continues in 2021 with George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.
Even with the ailing Haas, Pérez seems to be fishing behind the net despite its Mexican sponsor millions. The team has two vacancies due to the farewell of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, but reliable sources report that the successors have already signed. Haas is involved with Russian billionaire son Nikita Mazepin and the current Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher, son of Formula One legend Michael.
“ Any team that has not yet committed drivers is an option,” says Pérez about his chances in the F1 labour market. But in many racing stables he doesnt stand a chance.
Top team Mercedes continues with the tandem Hamilton-Bottas, unless the British World Champion decides to hang his helmet on the willows. Hamiltons scribble under a new contract, however, seems like a formality. “I love this sport and want to continue on the path that has been set. More victories, more titles and even better together.”
Ferrari is also occupied. Charles Leclerc gets company there by Carlos Sainz. Sainzs vacancy at McLaren is filled by Daniel Ricciardo. In turn, the Australian ex-teammate of Verstappen is succeeded by Fernando Alonso, who returns to the Renault Nest where he won his world titles. Alfa Romeo continues with veteran Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Remains: Alpha Tauri, formerly Toro Rosso. The racing stable where Max Verstappen made his F1 debut wants to once again throw a young driver into the deep end. Formula 2 driver Yuki Tsunoda has already finished his test drive.
Team boss Franz Tost summarizes why the 20-year-old Japanese will become Pierre Gaslys teammate next year. “Fast, no spider, no crash. Yuki immediately felt at ease and did very well.” Daniil Kvyat can therefore prepare himself for his farewell to Formula One.
All cards on Red Bull seat
So Pérez puts all his cards on the coveted seat next to Verstappen “I talked to Williams, but that didnt turn out andI dont want to put words on it anymore. I dont say anything about conversations I have. Thats private.”
Perez takes into account that he loses the fight with Albon and Hülkenberg. “I see what happens in the next few weeks. If necessary, a sabbatical is an option. If I have to stop unexpectedly, Ill do it with my head raised. I am proud of my career and consider ten years of Formula One a privilege.”