Twenty-three weeks (161 days) since its start, the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship season concluded on December 13 when the final checkered flag flew at Yas Marina Circuit following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. While another season of Formula One competition was stamped in the record books, this season has been like none others in recent years.
Initially set to commence in March, the 2020 Formula One season was also set to mark the start of a new era of motorsports competition, highlighted with 22 Grand Prix events on the schedule and the sport celebrating its 70th anniversary of the first Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. Instead, everything changed in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of this year’s F1 season and several Grand Prix events were cancelled.
Delayed for four months amid the pandemic, the season was able to make its highly anticipated start on the track in early July as new and familiar Grand Prix events along with old circuits made its way into a rescheduled calendar for a total of 17 events spanning six months.
Throughout the season, the competitors and teams competed as a unity amid the COVID-19 pandemic while also expressing solidarity against acts of social injustices. Along the way, new and familiar faces rose to the spotlight both on and off the track while the dynasty of a multi-time champion took another step into history. In addition, a number of competitors concluded their final seasons with their current teams, with some set to embark on new adventures with new teams entering a new season while others await their future plans.
With the 2020 F1 season concluded, here is a rundown of the teams and competitors that competed throughout this season as they look ahead to 2021.
Amid a pandemic year, there was no denying another dominating on-track season for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, which claimed its record seventh consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships (573 points) and placed its two drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, atop the Drivers’ standings. Since the first Grand Prix event of this season, the Mercedes team was in total control of the championship standings for the drivers and the constructors, winning all but four of 17 Grand Prix events and all but two poles throughout the 2020 season. Following their latest victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in late November, the Mercedes team surpassed the Williams Racing team for the third-most victories in F1 with 115. After eclipsing Ferrari’s previous record of six consecutive Constructors’ championships, Mercedes has an opportunity in making more history and extending their championship streak to eight, which would move them into a tie with McLaren for the third-most Constructors’ titles.
With 11 Grand Prix victories and another world championship added to his resume, Lewis Hamilton has taken another step towards history as he continues to shatter the record books following another dominating season with Mercedes. Compared to his previous championship seasons, this season was also like none other for the 35-year-old veteran from Stevenage, England, who started the season kneeling prior to every race and expressing solidarity towards the Black Lives Matter movement and against acts of racial injustices. It only took two races into the 2020 season for Hamilton to commence his run for the title when he won the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria, Austria, and claimed his first victory of the season. From July to September, he went on to claim Grand Prix victories at Hungary, Great Britain’s Silverstone, Spain, Belgium and Italy’s Tuscany while finishing no lower than seventh. After finishing in third place in the Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton went on to win the following Grand Prix events in Nürburg, Portugal, Imola and Turkey. Following his win in the Portuguese Grand Prix, Hamilton surpassed seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher and became the all-time Grand Prix wins leader with 92. Two races later, he clinched his record-tying seventh world championship with a victory in Turkey and tied Schumacher for the most F1 titles. Two days after claiming his 95th career victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton was unable to compete in the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19 symptoms. With Williams’ driver George Russell filling in at Bahrain, Hamilton was able to return the following week and cap off the 2020 season in third place in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Despite being absent for a single race, he walked away with the championship and with a 124-point advantage over teammate Valtteri Bottas, leaving him one title short of holding the most F1 titles of all time. Currently, Hamilton does not have a contract to drive for Mercedes for next season, though he intends on having a new contract with the team set by Christmas.
For a second consecutive season, teammate Valtteri Bottas opened a new season of Formula One racing by winning the season opener and he went on to finish in the runner-up spot in the final Drivers’ standings behind Lewis Hamilton. On this occasion, he settled behind Hamilton in the standings by 124 points compared to 87 last season. The 31-year-old veteran from Nastola, Finland, started the season with three consecutive podium results, including his win in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. He went on to win the Russian Grand Prix in late September and rack up seven additional podium results, including five additional runner-up results, for the remaining 14 events of the season. Throughout the season, he did not finish in the top 10 three times and he struggled during two Grand Prix events at Bahrain, which ended his title hopes for this season. Nonetheless, he concluded the season with a second-place result in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he also settled in second place in the Drivers’ standings for a second consecutive season. Currently, Bottas is set to return to Mercedes for the 2021 F1 season.
Settling in the runner-up position in the 2020 Formula One Constructors’ standings with 319 points is the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team, which claimed its highest-points result in the standings since claiming second place in the Constructors’ standings following the 2016 F1 season. Despite trailing Mercedes throughout the season, Red Bull Racing, coming off its second season powered by Honda engines, rallied from double retirements in Austria to record two victories and 24 top-10 results throughout the season. With a win in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to cap off this season, Red Bull Racing aims to close the gap to Mercedes and return as world champions since winning four consecutive titles in 2010-13.
If there is a current competitor on the grid who emerges as a potential championship threat for the 2021 season, it is Max Verstappen, who is coming off his sixth season in F1 competition. When the 2020 F1 schedule was re-drafted and the season opener was moved to the Red Bull Ring in early July, the 23-year-old Verstappen aimed to start the season on a strong note and with an advantage after winning the previous two Grand Prix events in Spielberg. Instead, his season started off on a low note when early electrical issues sidelined him. He rebounded from his early misfortune by finishing on the podium in the next six Grand Prix events. During this streak, he recorded the first victory of the season for himself and Red Bull Racing in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit in August. For the next nine Grand Prix events, he recorded four additional podium results, but sustained four retirements, which allowed Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to run away with the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships for the 2020 season. While he did not claim his first F1 title, he recorded a dominating victory in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the pole, a victory which allowed him to conclude the season in a career-best third place in the Drivers’ standings with 214 points and provide a potential preview of his run for the 2021 title.
Following his late but superb on-track audition with Red Bull Racing last season, Alexander Albon was given a full-time ride with Red Bull for the 2020 season with hopes of extending his strong performances and taking the next step in challenging for victories and podiums on a regular basis. His season started off, however, on a low note when he was involved in a late incident with Lewis Hamilton, where Hamilton spun Albon while he was in position of recording his first podium result. Since then, he went on a six-race streak of finishing in the top 10, with his best result being fourth place at the Styrian Grand Prix in July. A week after finishing 15th at the Italian Grand Prix, Albon prevailed over a late battle with Daniel Ricciardo to capture his first podium result in the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello Circuit with a third-place finish. With his accomplishment, the 24-year-old Albon became the first Thai F1 competitor to achieve a podium result. During the next five races, however, he finished no higher than seventh place as he sustained a retirement and two results outside of the top 10. He rebounded during the final three races of the season by finishing in the top six on the track. Among his late accomplishments included his second career podium result in the Bahrain Grand Prix with a third-place result and finishing in fourth place in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In the end, Albon concluded his sophomore season in F1 in seventh place in the Drivers’ standings, one spot better than his rookie season, with 105 points. Despite a strong finish to this season, Albon’s F1 plans for next season remains uncertain.
With Mercedes and Red Bull emerging as the two front-runners of the 2020 F1 season, it was also a victorious season for the McLaren F1 Team, which achieved two podium results and finished in third place in this year’s Constructors’ standings with 202 points following a strong consistent season for drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris. The result marked McLaren’s return to the top three in the Constructors’ standings for the first time since 2012 and following a year-long battle against names like Racing Point and Renault. It also snapped McLaren’s seven-year span of finishing no higher than fourth place in the Constructors’ standings. With the McLaren Group coming off a new long-term investment deal into McLaren Racing from MSP Sports Capital, an American sports investment group, and switching from Renault to Mercedes engines for 2021, McLaren, winner of 12 Drivers’ championships and eight Constructors’ championships, aims to return as race winners and world champions in the coming years in F1 competition.
Following a strong 2019 season with McLaren, Carlos Sainz Jr. started this season on another strong note by finishing in fifth place in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. The 26-year-old native from Madrid, Spain, backed it up by finishing ninth in the Styrian Grand Prix while also recording the fastest lap of the race and finishing ninth again the following Grand Prix at Mogyoród, Hungary. During the next four Grand Prix events, Sainz’s best result was sixth place at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, his home track. The lowlight during the stretch was failing to start the Belgian Grand Prix during to a power unit issue. He rallied back in early September by collecting his second career podium result at Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, where he notched a career-best second place behind race winner Pierre Gasly. Despite retiring the following two Grand Prix events at Tuscany and Russia, Sainz concluded the season by finishing in the top 10 for the remaining seven events. In the end, he contributed to McLaren finishing in third place in the Constructors’ standings as he settled in a career-best sixth place in the Drivers’ standings with 105 points. Despite a successful two-year run with McLaren, Sainz is set to join Scuderia Ferrari for the 2021 F1 season.
Like Sainz, teammate Lando Norris had a productive on-track season that started off on a bright note when he captured his maiden podium result in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. Though he initially crossed the finish line in fourth place, the 21-year-old native from Bristol, England, benefitted from Lewis Hamilton being penalized five seconds on the track due to being involved in a late incident with Alexander Albon to finish 4.8 seconds behind Hamilton and move into third place on the track, thus becoming the third podium sitter in F1 at age 20 years, seven months and 22 days. Throughout his sophomore campaign in F1, Norris achieved 13 top-10 results, including the final five events of the 2020 season and two fastest lap times in two Grand Prix events with only one retirement. Like Sainz, Norris contributed to McLaren finishing in third place in the Constructors’ standings as he settled in ninth place in the Drivers’ standings, two spots better than his rookie season, with 97 points. Unlike Sainz, Norris will remain as a McLaren F1 competitor for the 2021 season.
If there was a team that fought through adversity and intimidated McLaren for third place in the Constructors’ standings all the way to the final checkered flag of the season, it was the BWT Racing Point F1 Team. In the team’s second full-time season as Racing Point, the team achieved an abundant of on-track success amid challenges and a disappointing start to this season. The low moment for the team occurred in July when protests coming from Renault were launched over the team’s use of brake ducts not designed by Racing Point themselves and copying the ducts used by Mercedes in 2019. In between back-to-back Grand Prix events at Silverstone, United Kingdom, the team was fined €400,000 and docked 15 points in the Constructors’ standings after Renault’s protests were upheld. In addition, Racing Point’s two drivers, Sergio “Checo” Perez and Lance Stroll, were absent from a Grand Prix event after testing positive for COVID-19 symptoms. Their absences allowed veteran Nico Hülkenberg to fill in as a relief competitor for a total of three races. Amid the challenges throughout the season, Racing Point remained in contention to emerge as the third-best team in 2020 while achieving its first victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix with Perez. While the team achieved a total of 24 top-10 results between its two-car lineup, late on-track issues during the Grand Prix events in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi left Racing Point behind McLaren as the third-best team in 2020 by seven points. Nonetheless, the fourth-place result in the Constructors’ standings (195 points) marks the team’s best best points results since the 2017 Formula One season when the team competed as the Sahara Force India F1 Team. With the 2020 season concluded, Racing Point is set to rebranded as Aston Martin F1 Team for the 2021 season.
In his 10th season as an F1 competitor, Sergio “Checo” Perez is coming off a career-defining season that currently leaves him uncertain of his status for next season. The 30-year-old veteran from Guadalajara, Mexico, started the season with three consecutive results in the top 10. His season, however, was placed in jeopardy when he was absent from the following two Grand Prix events at Silverstone due to testing positive for COVID-19 symptoms. During his absence, Nico Hülkenberg filled in, where he failed to make the starting grid for the British Grand Prix but rebounded with a seventh-place result in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Returning in mid-August for the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Perez rebounded with a fifth-place result. From Spain in August through the Turkish Grand Prix in November, he went on a nine-race streak of finishing in the top 10 and collecting an abundant of points. During this span, he achieved his first elusive podium result since 2018 in the Turkish Grand Prix after coming home in a career-best second place behind the champion Lewis Hamilton. By then, however, it was confirmed that Perez will not be remaining with Racing Point for the 2021 season, though he initially inked a three-year contract extension with the team following the 2019 season. After retiring in the final laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix due to an engine failure and while having a podium spot within his grasp, Perez returned to Bahrain International Circuit with vengeance and won after rallying from an opening lap incident to claim his maiden F1 victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix and in his 190th career start. With his first F1 victory, Perez became the 110th different competitor to win a Grand Prix event and the first Mexican competitor to win a Grand Prix event since Pedro Rodriguez made the last accomplishment in the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix. His final ride with Racing Point, however, ended on a low note during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when an early technical issue sidelined the Mexican. Despite the bitter conclusion, Perez achieved a career-best fourth place in the Drivers’ standings with 125 points. Currently, his racing plans for next season are unknown.
Like Perez, teammate Lance Stroll also achieved great success on the track in his fourth full-time season as an F1 competitor. Following an early retirement in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, the 22-year-old Stroll from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, went on a seven-race streak of finishing in the top 10 and collecting an abundant of points. By then, he was coming off his second career podium result after finishing in third place in the Italian Grand Prix in early September. The next five Grand Prix events, however, did not fall in Stroll’s favor as he suffered three retirements. In addition, he withdrew from competing in the Eifel Grand Prix in October due to testing positive for COVID-19 symptoms, which allowed Nico Hülkenberg to fill in for his third race as a Racing Point interim competitor. Stroll rebounded the following event on the schedule, Turkish Grand Prix, by capturing his maiden pole position and becoming the first Canadian F1 pole winner since Jacques Villeneuve made the last accomplishment at the 1997 European Grand Prix. He also was one of two F1 competitors not driving for Mercedes to win a pole position throughout the 2020 season. He went on to finish in ninth place during the main event. A week after flipping early in the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit, Stroll again rebounded by claiming his third podium result of his career, second of the season, in the Sakhir Grand Prix at Bahrain after finishing in third place, two spots behind teammate and winner Sergio Perez. He went on to cap off the season in 10th place in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and settle in a career-best 11th place in the Drivers’ standings with 75 points. With Perez departing, Stroll is set to remain with Racing Point that will be rebranded to Aston Martin.
Another team that contended for the third-place spot in the Constructors’ standings throughout the 2020 season was the Renault DP World F1 Team. Following a difficult 2019 season, Renault’s two-driver lineup, featuring Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, recorded a combined 24 top-10 results, six more than 2019, and three podium results along with two fastest time laps in two Grand Prix events, both with Ricciardo. The results, however, were not enough for the two-time world championship team to overtake McLaren and Racing Point in the Constructors’ standings, with Renault concluding the 2020 season in fifth place, equivalent to 2019, but with 181 points compared to 91 in 2019. Like Racing Point, Renault is set to be rebranded as the Alpine F1 Team for the 2021 season while sporting the French national colors of red, white and blue and compete with Renault engines. In addition, the team is excited to feature two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso as one of its two competitors for the 2021 season, which will mark Alonso’s return to Formula One competition since 2018.
For Daniel Ricciardo, his second season with Renault started off on a low note when he retired in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix due to overheating issues. Compared to last season and despite the season-opening retirement, the 31-year-old veteran from Perth, Australia, did not record another retirement for the remainder of this season. Instead, he finished in the top 10 in all but two of the remaining 16 Grand Prix events and achieved two fastest lap times in two Grand Prix events. By the end of September, his best on-track result was fourth place (twice). During the following Grand Prix at Nürburgring, Germany, Ricciardo achieved his first podium result with Renault after finishing in third place behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and runner-up Max Verstappen. The podium result was Ricciardo’s first since winning the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix and the first for Renault since the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Two races later, he achieved another podium result in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy after finishing in third place. Afterwards, he capped off the season with four consecutive top-10 results and finished in fifth place in the Drivers’ standings with 119 points, his best result in the standings since 2017. Despite a successful 2020 run with Renault, Ricciardo is set to open a new chapter to his resume in 2021 as he will become a McLaren F1 competitor.
After being left without a full-time seat for the 2019 season, Esteban Ocon began his comeback return in F1 this season when he replaced Nico Hülkenberg as one of Renault’s two competitors. The 24-year-old native from Évreux, France, started the season by finishing eighth in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. He then retired during the Styrian Grand Prix and finished 14th in the Hungarian Grand Prix before recording back-to-back top-10 results at Silverstone. Through the first 15 Grand Prix events of this season and entering the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ocon’s best on-track result was fifth place, which occurred during the Belgian Grand Prix in August. While he achieved eight top-10 results, he also sustained four retirements. Nonetheless, he managed to conclude the season on a positive note when he earned his maiden F1 podium result in the Sakhir Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit by finishing in second place in his 66th career start and behind ex-teammate Sergio Perez. A ninth-place result in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit following a late battle with Lance Stroll was enough for him to conclude the season in 12th place in the Drivers’ standings, the same spot he finished in following his previous full-time season in 2018 but with 62 points. Following an up-and-down season, Ocon is set to remain with Renault that will be rebranded to Alpine in 2021.
For the first time since the 2014 Formula One season, Scuderia Ferrari did not conclude an F1 season in the top three in the Constructors’ standings. Instead, the team, which has achieved 16 Constructors’ championships, 15 Drivers’ championships and 237 victories, settled in sixth place in the standings with 131 points, their lowest points result since finishing 10th in 1980. In addition, the team failed to win a Grand Prix event since the 2016 season. Since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, Ferrari struggled with pace and speed against the competition. Through the first half of the 2020 F1 season, the team only achieved two podium results with Charles Leclerc. While Leclerc improved with consistency in the second half of the season, teammate and former F1 champion Sebastian Vettel struggled throughout the entire season in finishing in the points for himself and the team. Following a difficult 2020 season, Ferrari looks to rebound and return to competitive form in 2021.
After achieving his first two Grand Prix events, 10 podium results and a fourth-place result in the Drivers’ standings last season, Charles Leclerc opened his second full-time season with Ferrari by finishing in second place in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix following a slow start. Following two results outside of the top 10, he claimed his second podium result of the season in the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, which was followed with a fourth-place result in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. He then sustained two retirements during the next three Grand Prix events, which diminished his hopes for the 2020 F1 title. From Tuscany, Italy in September through Sakhir, Bahrain in November, Leclerc rallied by finishing in the top 10 in seven consecutive Grand Prix events, with a best result of fourth place (twice). Despite his late consistent surge, he concluded the season on a low note by retiring in the Sakhir Grand Prix following an opening lap multi-car crash and finishing 13th in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. When the checkered flag flew and the dust settled, Leclerc concluded the season in eighth place in the 2020 Drivers’ standings, four spots lower than his first campaign with Ferrari, with 98 points, the highest-finishing competitor with double-digit points. The 23-year-old Leclerc from Monte Carlo, Monaco, is slated to remain as a Ferrari competitor through 2024.
Prior to this season’s start in July and during the pandemic, teammate Sebastian Vettel was thrown into the spotlight when it was announced that he will not be remaining with Ferrari following the 2020 season and following a six-year run with one of motorsport’s iconic names. When the season started, Vettel struggled with consistency and in keeping pace with the competition. Following the first half of the 2020 F1 season, nine races completed, Vettel’s highest-finishing result was sixth place, which occurred in the Hungarian Grand Prix in mid-July. In addition, he had achieved four additional top-10 results, but no podium results and two retirements. Vettel continued to struggle during the start of the second half of the season as he finished no higher than 10th place during the next four Grand Prix events. The following Grand Prix event in Turkey, Vettel captured his first elusive podium result of the season after crossing the finish line in third place. For the final three Grand Prix events of the season, however, he finished no higher than 12th place. In the end, Vettel capped off a long season of racing in 13th place in the Drivers’ standings, his lowest result since 2007, with 33 points. With his time with Ferrari complete, the four-time world champion from Heppenheim, West Germany, is set to join the Aston Martin F1 Team, rebranded from Racing Point.
Coming home in seventh place in the Constructors’ standings and the final team with triple-digit points (107) is the Scuderia AlphaTauri team. Rebranded from Toro Rosso and a sister team to Red Bull Racing, the team finished one spot behind from last season in the Constructors’ standings, but achieved a fair share of on-track success in 2020. The team’s bright moment was winning the Italian Grand Prix in September with Pierre Gasly, which marked the team’s first victory as AlphaTauri but second overall since winning the 2008 Italian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel while known as Toro Rosso. Throughout the 2020 campaign, the team’s two-driver lineup, featuring Gasly and Daniil Kvyat, achieved a total of 17 top-10 results and gained points in all but two of 17 Grand Prix events this season. The results, however, were not enough for the team to join the battle for the third-best team in the Constructors’ standings, but the team remains poised to be competitive on the track next season.
A year after being demoted from Red Bull Racing to Toro Rosso and achieving his maiden podium result at Brazil, Pierre Gasly experienced another first in his racing career this season. That first was his maiden Grand Prix win at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Italy in early September, where the 24-year-old native from Rouen, France, benefitted from an early pit stop and 10-second stop-and-go penalties handed to Lewis Hamilton and Antonio Giovinazzi to carve his way to the lead and hold off Carlos Sainz Jr. to score his first victory in F1 competition. With his accomplishment, he became the first French competitor to win a Grand Prix event since Olivier Panis made the last accomplishment in the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. He also became the 109th different competitor to win a Grand Prix event and the first competitor not representing Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull to win an F1 race since Kimi Räikkönen won the 2013 Australian Grand Prix while driving a Lotus. In addition to his win, Gasly achieved 10 top-10 results throughout the 17-race schedule, four fewer than 2019, while also sustaining three retirements. By finishing in eighth place in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he was able to conclude his junior season in Formula One in 10th place in the Drivers’ standings with 75 points. Following a productive 2020 season highlighted with his maiden F1 victory, Gasly is set to remain with AlphaTauri for the 2021 season.
Compared to Gasly, teammate Daniil Kvyat had an up-and-down season in his sixth campaign in Formula One. A year after collecting a podium result in Germany and 10 top-10 results, the 26-year-old native from Ufa, Russia, opened this season with two retirements and finishing no higher than 10th place (twice) through the first seven Grand Prix events in 2020. He rallied during the following three Grand Prix events in Monza, Tuscany and Russia, his home country, by finishing in the top 10. Following a two-race slump in Germany and Portugal, Kvyat recorded a season-best fourth-place result in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in November. For the final four Grand Prix events of the season, however, Kvyat finished no higher than seventh place as he settled in 14th place in the final Drivers’ standings, one spot lower than last season, with 32 points. Currently, Kvyat’s F1 plans for next season remain uncertain.
Finishing in eighth place in this year’s Constructors’ standings with eight points is the Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen team. Compared to last season, where the team opened the season with four consecutive top-10 results, the team opened the 2020 campaign with a single top-10 result, which occurred in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix with Antonio Giovinazzi. Throughout the season, Alfa Romeo’s two-car lineup struggled to gain points and run towards the front. In total, the team secured a best on-track result of ninth place (three times) and five top-10 results, which was enough to emerge as the first team with single-digit points ahead of Haas and Williams (eight). Despite a difficult 2020 campaign, the team will retain its driver lineup, featuring Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen, for the 2021 season.
The 2020 Formula One season marked a career low for Kimi Räikkönen, the 2007 F1 champion, as he recorded a career-low four points, two top-10 results and a final result of 16th place in the Drivers’ standings. Through the first nine races of this season, the 41-year-old veteran from Espoo, Finland, finished no higher than 11th place on the track. He was originally in position of battling for the lead and the win in the Italian Grand Prix in September until he faded in the late stages and finished in 13th place. During the second half of the season, Räikkönen managed to collect his first top-10 result and pair of points in the Tuscan Grand Prix in September. Four races later, he picked up another ninth-place result in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in November. Since then, his next highest result on the track was 11th place. In the end, Räikkönen tied teammate Giovinazzi as the highest-finishing competitor in the Drivers’ standings with single-digit points. With the 2020 season concluded, Räikkönen will remain as an Alfa Romeo F1 competitor next season.
Following a difficult freshman season in Formula One, Antonio Giovinazzi started off the 2020 season on a stronger note by finishing in ninth place in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. It was not until the Eifel Grand Prix in October, however, until the 27-year-old native from Martina Franca, Italy, picked up his second top-10 result of the season (10th place) as he suffered two retirements during the first 10 Grand Prix events this season. He managed to pick up his third top-10 result of the season in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in November following a 10th-place result. Since then, Giovinazzi struggled with pace. In the end, he concluded the season in 17th place in the Drivers’ standings, equivalent to the 2019 season, but with four points, 10 fewer than his rookie season. Like Räikkönen, Giovinazzi will retain his seat with Alfa Romeo in 2021.
Emerging as the next-to-last team scored in this year’s Constructors’ standings is the Haas F1 team, which achieved a career-low three points in its fifth season in competition. Like last season, the Haas F1 Team struggled with their VF-20 and keeping pace with the competition. It took three races into the 2020 season for the team to achieve their first points of the season with Kevin Magnussen finishing in 10th place in the Hungarian Grand Prix in mid-July. Since then, the team picked up two additional points to this season with Romain Grosjean finishing in ninth place in the Eifel Grand Prix in October. Mired within their on-track struggles were 10 retirements, including a harrowing accident in the Bahrain Grand Prix that left Grosjean injured and sidelined for the remainder of the season. While the Haas F1 Team equalized their result in the Constructors’ standings from last season (ninth place), the team achieved a career-low three points. With the 2020 season complete, Haas is set to feature a new two-car lineup for the 2021 season, featuring Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, and Nikita Mazepin from Moscow, Russia.
With a single point recorded throughout this season, Kevin Magnussen recorded his fewest points in an F1 season since recording seven in 2016. His lone highlight in 2020 was finishing in 10th place in the Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring in mid-July, the third event of the season, and recording the first point of the season for himself and Haas. Since then, his next highest result throughout the 2020 season was 12th place (twice) as he struggled to earn consistent results. In addition, the 28-year-old native from Roskilde, Denmark, sustained seven retirements throughout the season and he concluded the season in a career-low 20th place in the Drivers’ standings. Following six full-time seasons in Formula One, four with Haas, Magnussen is set to compete in the 2021 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Like Magnussen, teammate Romain Grosjean endured a long 2020 season that came to a late conclusion. Through 14 of 17 Grand Prix events this season, the 34-year-old veteran who competed under the French flag finished no higher than ninth place, which occurred during the Eifel Grand Prix in October. His next highest-finishing result throughout the 2020 season was 12th place (twice) as he sustained two retirements. Grosjean’s season took a harrowing turn during the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix in late November, when he made contact with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat, spun and collided into the barriers in Turn 3 at full speed. The impact split Grosjean’s Haas VF-20 in half, where the driver slipped through the upper section of the barrier with the front half of the car and with flames being ignited following the crash. Miraculously, Grosjean was able to extract himself from the wreckage without any assistance before receiving on-track treatment and being transported to the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital by helicopter for further treatment for burns on his hands. After spending three nights in the hospital, he returned to Bahrain and his paddock to be with his team and greet the medical and track/safety workers, among which included Dr. Roberts and medical car driver Alan van der Merwe, who saved his life. While he did not compete in the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix, he ultimately decided to conclude his five-year run with Haas early to focus on his recovery and health. With Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, filling in as a relief Haas competitor, Grosjean capped off the 2020 season in 19th place in the Drivers’ standings with two points. He currently has no racing plans lined up for 2021.
Finally, the Williams Racing team capped off the 2020 campaign in last place in the Constructors’ standings with zero points. The team started the season on a promising note when Nicholas Latifi finished in 11th place in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. Throughout the season, the team’s best result on the track was 11th place (four times) while also sustaining seven retirements. The team’s low point of the season occurred in early September when Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams Racing, and the Williams family ended their 43-year involvement with Formula One following the Italian Grand Prix. The team was acquired by Dorilton Capital, an American investment group, for €152 million while remaining as Williams Racing and based in the United Kingdom. While the team’s two-driver lineup, featuring Latifi and George Russell, came close in recording a single point at certain Grand Prix events, the team ultimately settled in 10th place (last) in the Constructors’ standings for a third consecutive season.
For much of the 2020 Formula One season, George Russell, dubbed as a future star in F1, was nowhere towards the front. The 22-year-old native from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England, achieved best results of 11th place (once) and 12th place (twice) while also sustaining four retirements through the first 15 Grand Prix events of this season. Then came an opportunity of a lifetime in the Sakhir Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit when Russell was selected to drive for the championship-winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in place of the champion Lewis Hamilton, who was absent due to COVID-19 symptoms. During his one-race absence from Williams, British-Korean racer Jack Aitken made his F1 debut in place of Russell. Starting the race on the front row along with Valtteri Bottas, Russell dominated the event. During a pit stop sequence in the late stages, however, Russell’s road to victory was stalled when a mix-up in the Mercedes’ pit lane over the tire installments for Russell and Bottas resulted with Russell making another pit stop to have the correct set of tires installed on his car. Dropping back to fifth place, Russell wasted no time carving his way back to the front as he worked his way back into second place Sergio Perez. Just as he had the pace and victory within sight, everything changed when he was forced to make a late unscheduled pit stop due to a left-rear tire puncture. Returning back on the track, he ended the race in ninth place. While he earned his first three points in Formula One racing and established the fastest lap during the race, he was left dejected over the late issue that cost him his first F1 victory. Despite returning to Williams the following week and finishing in 15th place in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Russell concluded the season in 18th place in the Drivers’ standings, two spots better than his rookie season. He is also due to remain with Williams Racing for the 2021 Formula One season.
Unlike Russell, teammate Nicholas Latifi is coming off his first full-time campaign in Formula One racing, where he replaced veteran Robert Kubica. The 25-year-old rookie from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, recorded a strong 11th-place result in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. He picked up two additional 11th-place results throughout the season while also sustaining three retirements. In the end, Latifi was the lone full-time F1 competitor to not record a single point throughout the 2020 F1 season as he concluded the season in 21st place in the Drivers’ standings. Like teammate George Russell, Latifi will return for a second full-time campaign in F1 with Williams Racing in 2021.
With the 2020 F1 season complete, the drivers and teams are currently in off-season before returning for the start of the 2021 Formula One World Championship season on March 21 at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit for the Australian Grand Prix, the first of 23 Grand Prix events slated on the provisional schedule.