Formula 1 news: At last, well, not exactly, but it’s with a heavy heart that I tell you this – the 2021 Formula 1 season has ended. Been a real pleasure. Such magnificent racing, such close battles, such surprising results. Genuinely doubt we will get to see it again next year.
Speaking of 2022, all ten teams stayed at the Yas Marina Circuit for the mandatory Young Driver’s Test. That’s including Fernando Alonso, mind you. He’s young at heart.
Nonetheless, I bring you a sort of recap of how things unfolded over the past two days. But first, let’s understand how the teams functioned in the test.
All ten teams took part in the test, and all ten teams fielded one regular and experienced driver and one young driver in the driving seat. The regular drivers drove the mule cars, essentially the modified versions of the 2019 cars adapted to suit the bigger tyres, brakes, and suspension. The young drivers drove the 2021 cars.
Formula 1 news: Which driver drove for which team
Pirelli offered two sets of the C1 compound, two sets of the C2 compound, four sets of C3, six sets of C4, and four sets of the softest compound up for grabs, the C5. Over the course of two days, all the drivers had to gather as much data as possible before the 2022 cars are introduced.
Mercedes drafted in George Russell, the team’s 2022 driver, alongside current FE Champion, Nyck de Vries. Ferrari brought in Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Antonio Fuoco, and Robert Shwartzman.
As for Red Bull, it was Juri Vips, Max Verstappen and Checo. McLaren had Pato O’Ward, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. Alpine thought of Oscar Piastri when it came to giving him some outing in the current crop of F1 cars, before handing the car to regular drivers in Nando and Ocon.
Red Bull junior Liam Lawson drove for AlphaTauri, before Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly took over. Sebastian Vettel suffered some hydraulic issues in his Aston Martin which halted his progress, but the team also drafted Lance Stroll and simulator driver Nick Yelloly.
Valtteri Bottas was finally allowed to test for Alfa Romeo, and he had his new teammate Guanyu Zhou for company. As for Williams and Haas, Logan Sargeant drove for Williams on both days but Haas had Robert Shwartzman, Mick Schumacher, and Pietro Fittipaldi.
The crazy 2021 season wasn’t over until the final lap of testing
The weirdest thing happened on Wednesday – on pure pace (just kidding), Robert Shwartzman in the Haas of all cars, finished P1, half a second ahead of Norris.
Speaking of Lando, the Brit tested a new LED lights system on the rear wheel covers of his McLaren machine, something that Pirelli F1 Chief Mario Isola thinks could be beneficial for marketing purposes in the future.
“There was an idea to put some LEDs into the wheel covers, to use these wheel covers also for marketing purposes, that means you can display any kind of message. You can display the position, you can display logos, you can display the lap time in qualifying or something like that. There are many possibilities. You have the technology, so it’s easy to program what you want to display.”
Apart from this, it was a rather straightforward session for all. And with this, the 2021 F1 season has officially come to a close. The circus returns to Barcelona for official pre-season testing by end of February in brand-new 2022 cars. So long, F1 action.