From the outset, we must recognize the efforts of the leaders of Formula 1 to have been able to put in place a strict protocol to relaunch its activities in July.
The pandemic forced the postponement and cancellation of a good number of stopovers in the spring, so much so that at one point there was concern that the season would not take place altogether.
But we managed to save it by limiting travel, organizing double programs and visiting circuits that were not initially planned. To prevent any spread of the virus, most of the events were contested behind closed doors.
It is therefore mission accomplished for F1, whose schedule included 17 stopovers (out of the 22 scheduled at the start) spread over 23 weeks. By limiting access to the paddock area to team members, officials and the media, we have created an effective bubble.
In total, out of some 76,000 tests, carried out from the first race, presented in Austria, until the last, held on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, only 78 were positive, according to the most recent census.
Of these, three pilots contracted COVID-19, namely Lance Stroll, Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton, who had to leave their steering wheel on one or two occasions.
Alone on his planet
Since it is about the Briton, we award him our first star. A choice that very few observers will dispute.
Not only did Hamilton break Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins this year, he also tied his mark of seven world championships. Hamilton drives the best car on the grid, it’s true. But his team-mate and runner-up, Valtteri Bottas, was 124 points behind in the final standings.
Max Verstappen, our second star, wanted to deliver a clear message by winning the last Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi. If the mechanics of his Red Bull hold up, he could end Mercedes ‘dominance in 2021. The Dutchman finished third in the Drivers’ Championship, just nine points behind Bottas.
Recruited by Red Bull?
Speaking of Verstappen, the identity of his teammate next year is still not known, but, according to several reliable sources, including journalist Ted Kravitz, of the Sky Sports network, it is indeed Sergio Pérez who would inherit this coveted steering wheel at Red Bull. Confirmation would be given this week. Alexander Albon would remain with the organization as a test pilot. The Mexican Sergio Pérez, our third star, had the best course of his career, finishing fourth in the drivers’ championship. And this, even if he missed two tests and was the victim of two heart-breaking dropouts at the end of the season. Racing Point did not extend their contract in favor of Sebastian Vettel.
At the foot of the podium
They are not among our medalists, but they find themselves at the foot of our podium. We have appointed Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri). Honorable mention goes to George Russell, who came close to victory when he was given a car (Mercedes) to match his talent at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain.
Poor Ferrari and Vettel
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was like Ferrari’s season: pitiful. So well that it ranks 6e (out of 10) in the constructors’ table, whereas she had been runner-up, behind Mercedes, in the three previous years. This is his worst result in 40 years. And for only the third time in its history (1973 and 1992), the Scuderia has not led a single round this year. Vettel, meanwhile, ended a six-year association with Ferrari by completing one of the worst seasons of his career: no wins, only one podium and the 13e place in the drivers’ classification. The four-time world champion has not reached the last round of qualifying (Q3) in his last 13 appearances.
Hard on Canadians
Despite two appearances on the podium and a leading position, Quebecer Lance Stroll was not convincing at the wheel of a Racing Point which was nevertheless very competitive. For his part, in his rookie season, his compatriot Nicholas Latifi played an extra role behind the wheel of the worst single-seater on the field and has certainly not shown that he has his place in F1. By the way, Williams have not scored any points this year in the championship, for the first time since 1976.