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F1 2021: Driver line-up, launch and test dates

The 2021 Formula 1 season is drawing near, with just a month until the cars hit the track for the first time at pre-season testing.

That test, which will last just three days, will be held in Bahrain on March 12-14 (Friday-Sunday). Testing had previously been scheduled to take place at the traditional venue of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but because of the pandemic it has been relocated to Bahrain.

The Middle Eastern island will also play host to the opening race of the season after the Australian Grand Prix was postponed to later in the season.

But before that, we’ve got the traditional launch season which sees the teams pull the covers off of their “new” cars. This year is a little different in that the cars will largely look identical to those of 2020. The FIA ruled last year that in order to save costs, teams must carryover much of their car to 2021, although there are still some changes you can look out for.

Of course we’ll see livery tweaks and new sponsors, and that’ll be the most visual change, but there are some technical tweaks such as a diagonal cut in the floor, as well as changes to the brake ducts and rear-diffuser. Teams can also tweak their aerodynamics.

So there’s limited car changes, but plenty of other changes! Practice sessions have been cut to 60 minutes. Racing Point is now Aston Martin and Renault becomes Alpine. Fernando Alonso returns, Daniel Ricciardo moves to McLaren, Carlos Sainz to Ferrari and there’s new rookies on the grid too!

Here are the key dates and confirmed grid for the 2021 Formula 1 season.

2021 Formula 1 Launch Dates

Team Car Date
McLaren MCL35M February 15
AlphaTauri AT02 February 19
Alfa Romeo C41 February 22
Ferrari SF21 February 26
Mercedes W12 March 2
Williams FW43B March 5
Alpine A521 TBC
Red Bull RB16B TBC
Aston Martin TBC TBC

2021 Driver Line-up

2021 Formula 1 Calendar


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