From Ferrari to Valtteri Bottas, Listing the Major Disappointments of 2020 F1 Season

Published 01/02/2021, 9:39 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Red Bull’s Alexander Albon arrives ahead of the Sakhir Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


The 2020 F1 season was largely positive that provided a learning curve to teams, drivers, and the FIA. However, there are two sides to a coin, and a few of them fell below expectations.

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So, what and who were the blots on an otherwise successful season?

Ferrari F1 and Sebastian Vettel

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Easily, the most disappointing aspect of F1 in 2020 was the form of Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel. While the pre-season testing did give a hint of the SF1000’s struggles, nobody could have predicted that it would get so much worse.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (R) ahead of the Grand Prix FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The team’s decision to let go of their former messiah did not help the matters one bit either. From then on, their relationship further deteriorated, and it showed on the track. While Charles Leclerc salvaged some pride for Ferrari, it was not enough for a team with championship hopes.

Pirelli

The sole tire manufacturers need to pull up their socks. They are attracting criticism from the drivers on a consistent basis, and their inability to develop new and better compounds since 2018 hasn’t made things better.

The negative backlash peaked at Silverstone, after both Mercedes cars and Carlos Sainz’s McLaren suffered a dramatic tire puncture. Hamilton even crossed the checkered flag on three wheels!

Alexander Albon

Another one at Red Bull who bit the dust. It was a sorrowful tale for the Thai driver who looked so promising towards the end of the 2019 season.

Though his 2020 season might have turned out differently if not for one particular crash. The incident is from the season-opening race in Austria.

While contesting with Lewis Hamilton for the second position on fresher tires, the Brit took him out. This spun him out to the back of the grid. What could have been a possible win resulted in major heartbreak for him, and he never looked like the same driver again.

Russian F1 Race

The Grand Prix in Sochi is not really a race that fans look forward to in the F1 calendar. This season, however, it was a real eyesore. Its cause is also not helped because fans were spoilt for on-track action with the return of iconic races like Turkey and Imola.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 27, 2020, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during a press conference after he finished in third place in the race FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES *** Local Caption *** SOCHI, RUSSIA – SEPTEMBER 27: Third-placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talks in a press conference after the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 27, 2020, in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

In Toto Wolff‘s words, this is down to the almost non-existent element of risk that these modern-day tracks offer.

“I’ve been always very vocal about that I disagree with the direction that we have taken with racing on oversized supermarket car parks,” said Wolff.

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Valtteri Bottas

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One may wonder as to why a driver who finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in the drivers standing is in this list. However, the Finn makes it not just because of his ability to challenge his more imperious teammate but also his one-time replacement, George Russell.

Bottas is on thin ice at Mercedes, and it won’t take a genius to figure out that the next season might be his last with the Silver Arrows.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after qualifying in second position Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili

So, these were the highlights of 2020, albeit in a not-so-positive sense. The bright side for all of them, except Albon, is they have a chance to put it right next season.

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Bharat Aggarwal

710 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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