F1 is arguably the sport with the most cut-throat competition. Few manage to make a living out of professional racing, and even fewer make it to the pinnacle of Motorsports. Hence, drivers are under constant scrutiny in Formula 1.
But going into the 2021 season, who faces the most pressure?
Probably the driver under the most pressure to perform is Valtteri Bottas. But why is it so? After all, he took second place in the drivers’ championship. However, it doesn’t work like that in Formula 1.
He has the best car on the grid and others are targeting his seat at Mercedes like a shark.
The Finn is, by his own admission, very exhausted from competing and losing to Lewis Hamilton year after year. Given that his contract expires at the end of 2021, someone like George Russell could be in line to replace him.
He must, at the very least, give his team bosses a headache on that decision.
Ah! The curious case of Vettel, who is a four-time World Champion, but with his recent reputation in tatters. After finishing a measly 13th in the driver’s standings, he has his work cut out as he aims to rebuild his reputation as a serious title contender.
Given that he is replacing a beloved member of the team in Sergio Perez, he must replicate that trust.
Ocon’s teammate next year will be Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard is not so kind towards his younger teammates, and there’s really no need to say more as competing alongside Alonso will be tough for Ocon.
The Italian arguably does not deserve a place on the grid. He is underperforming, even though he matched an aging Raikkonen with his performances. But the driver with the most race starts is most probably retiring next year.
If Antonio does not deliver solid results, someone like Ilott or Schwartzman from the Ferrari Academy could send him into an early retirement too.
These drivers just had the best seasons of their respective F1 careers, earning them a significant promotion with these two top teams with championship aspirations.
However, Sainz and Perez are just seen as stop-gap solutions. With their teams openly flirting with the idea of soon adding younger talents in Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda, respectively. Hence, they must give the teams reason to at least delay the inevitable next season.
We can’t wait to hear ‘lights out and away we go’ in Melbourne and see which of these drivers actually thrives in 2021.