The 2020 season turned out to be a crescendo of unforeseen twists and record-breaking acts, from the surprise return of historically relevant tracks to young talents working their way up to their maiden race wins, podiums and pole positions.
Pierre Gasly’s shocking win at Monza has to be the epitome of 2020-certified craziness, triggering further burning questions on what the remaining three races have in store.
MotorLAT’s editors came together to debate on who is going to be Formula 1’s next race winner, be it in 2020 or 2021. After Lance Stroll missed out on a potential Turkish GP win, we now discuss which driver could become Formula 1’s rising star in a short while.
From Lando Norris to George Russell, a number of bold predictions surfaced regarding our beloved youngsters. However, I would personally bet on Sergio Perez. The Mexican’s outstanding Turkish GP performance definitely put him in the spotlight, given the lack of car updates on his single-seater compared to Lance Stroll. Perez’s proven loyalty to Racing Point was not enough to keep him chained to the seat, as the soon-to-be-rebranded team picked Sebastian Vettel as the face of its new project. With the Mexican still on the hunt for a seat for 2021, Red Bull is now endowed with a goldmine of reliability, solid performances and sponsors. Sergio Perez to Milton Keynes would definitely be a game-changing partnership, which would allow the supremely talented 30-year-old from Guadalajara to relaunch his career in a race-winning car. Just give him a top-team seat and he will do wonders!
Marika Laselva thinks Carlos Sainz can score his first win in 2021, but it is all down to Ferrari's form: "If there’s one driver to bet on, this is definitely Carlos Sainz: the Spaniard is the one who secured a Ferrari seat before the 2020 season even started. Carlos couldn’t imagine that the Maranello’s team form this season would’ve been that bad, with Ferrari struggling in the midfield, with zero victories on the board. The Prancing Horse has failed to deliver a winning car: the SF1000 has provided a lot of unresolved problems to Ferrari’s engineers, as the car has been conceived and designed around a “banned” power unit. A new engine can give Ferrari a little revenge on 2020, and, despite what everyone might think, Carlos can be very useful with the developing of the car. Ferrari will run in 2021 with one of its youngest drivers line up ever, but let’s not forget Carlos, actually 26, will start with the Italian team his seventh season in the Circus, with a baggage of experience in many different teams: Toro Rosso, Renault, McLaren. And in the Woking scuderia Carlos has contributed to the rebirth of a team which came out with broken bones from the marriage with Honda. McLaren has shown since 2019 his strength in the midfield, with Carlos conquering two podium finishes, in Brasil last year and in Monza. The Spaniard is finally ready for the big jump in a top team: Ferrari has chosen him for his experience as well, but Sainz will unlikely be Leclerc’s second. And, if Ferrari makes the big jump in 2021, fighting at the level of Red Bull, we will even see the ex team mates fighting for podiums or victories. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz started their journey in Formula 1 together in Toro Rosso, and it would be very nice seeing them fight again at the same level, with the Spaniard chasing his first victory. Sainz can be the next one to join the club of F1 race winners, but Red Bull still has the power to change the Spaniard destiny: what if a strong, experienced and talented Mexican joins Verstappen?"
Sarah Otele believes in early signs of rebirth from Ferrari in 2021, which make her opt for Carlos Sainz as her bet, too.
“In the hybrid era, Ferrari and Red Bull have battled for the second step of the championship. In their head-to-head, the Scuderia is leading Red Bull by 4 to 3 in the constructors' championship, so it’s highly likely the next maiden win comes from a driver among their ranks. The Scuderia have signed Carlos Sainz, and Red Bull is yet to announce whether they will keep Albon or sign another driver. Even though I would be inclined to bet on Perez considering his strong results, it is still an hypothetical scenario, so I will put my money on Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard is having a convincing stint at McLaren, by consistently beating his teammate Norris. His team currently stands 4th on the constructors’ leaderboard, so Sainz is doing the job by being 7th. Besides, Ferrari’s fall from grace is expected to come to an end, as reports say the Scuderia is developing a new power unit for next season on the bench. The new Maranello’s powertrain will adopt some solutions designed for the 2022 project and should recover around 30 bhp compared to their 2020’s engine.Moreover, Red Bull did not make a huge jump compared to their 2019 level of performance, but it is actually Ferrari who went backwards with their engine. With the reds back to form in 2021, I anticipate the combination of Sainz’ consistency with a competitive car to produce the 110th GP winner in F1”.
On the other side of the McLaren garage, Lando Norris proved to be a potential number one attraction for the future. His impressive last-minute performances convinced Krystelle Limgenco to lay a wager on Norris becoming the next F1 race winner.
“Lando Norris currently sits 8th in the driver’s standings with 74 points. For the first time in his career, he was on the F1 podium on the third step in the very first race of this season. He was given a moniker, “Last Lap Lando” as he was running fourth just behind Lewis Hamilton who had a 5s penalty added to his time post-race, encouraged Lando to do a final lap to get within the 5s gap. Which he was able to achieve with just 0.2s to spare. This gave hope for both himself and Team McLaren. Sadly, since then, luck has not been on Norris’ side as he had not had the same amount of success throughout the rest of the season.For the following season, Norris will be pairing up with a veteran of the sport Daniel Ricciardo. There will be a huge amount of responsibility for the young driver with hopes of being up to the test. Perhaps Norris will be the next driver to win his maiden F1 victory with the addition of a Mercedes-powered engine”.
Usman Ahmed defends Lance Stroll, whose reputation carries a heavy stigma linked to the wealth of his father. Putting his financial background aside, the Canadian has the talent and the means to score his maiden win in 2021 owing to the resources put into thr Aston Martin project.
"If we look at the stats of the so called ‘pay driver’ of F1 - Lance Stroll, it will be evident that they are more than impressive, to not only highlight his actual potential but his talent as well. But due to the fact that his dad owns the team, his achievements are often overshadowed. Its shouldn’t be a doubt that if someone will extend the list of all time F1’s Grand Prix winner’s list it will be Lance Stroll. It’s not so long ago that we saw the Canadian driver score his first pole position in the changing and tricky conditions of Turkish GP and moreover, how smooth and calm his start of the Grand Prix was and how he controlled the race up until he had the unfortunate tyre graining issues due to the front wing damage, which heavily compromised his second half of the race. Even the pay drivers’ junior category stats and achievement alone are enough to put him in the likes of drivers like George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly, as he has emerged through the junior formula series after beating drivers like George Russell Callum Ilot and Mazepin. With rebranding of Racing Point to Aston Martin next year and Sebastian Vettel joining the team it will be matter of when rather than if for Lance Stroll to score his F1 race win of many to come".
Silvia Giorgi goes bolder with her prediction, picking George Russell. Hoping for more eventful races like the one at Monza, the Briton might have a shot to dream big.
“The 2020 Formula 1 season has been characterised by many surprises, both in tracks and in young drivers wins. The last events are proving that the youngsters are ready to bloom and catch their own win. Which driver has all that it takes to catch his first career win in Formula 1? George Russell has the talent and the personality to make it, and to make it quite quickly. What the Briton does certainly miss is a good car. The Williams driver spent the last years in the feeder formulas collecting one good result after the other and Mercedes have already eyed him. George arrived in Formula 1 as a young Silver Arrow’s opportunity but the team he entered, Williams, did frustrate the quality of his driving. Talking about talent, George is a shiny one as he proved battling on the back of the grid and settling a good number of overtakes, he lead with class his Williams when it slipped on the track. The head is the right one, as he always shares his enthusiasm, he takes the responsibility of his mistakes and has the right stubbornness to go on and do the best to catch the best possible result.He can definitely be the next driver to score a win, but with a car like that- let’s be honest- he needs an unexpected race just like Monza for Gasly. In a turbulent twist of faith, he could make his capacities shine and lead his single-seater to a well-deserved first place, which could help him improving his chances to be chosen as Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes”.
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