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The F1 2021 driver market has officially been finalised, meaning we know exactly which drivers will be in Codemaster's F1 2021 video game.
Every year Codemasters give us the most accurate video game designed to replicate the real Formula 1 season. Although, 2020 through a bit of a spanner in the works, as the calendar and even driver lineup wasn’t fully replicated in game. No fault of Codemasters.
However, 2021 is upon us, the official 2021 Formula 1 driver lineup has been confirmed. Meaning Codemasters will be gearing up to give us sim racers all of the official 2021 drivers that we will be able to race with in the F1 2021 video game.
Below I’ll run through all of the drivers that are confirmed to be in the game, from Formula 1, Formula 2 and outside of this.
The 2020 Formula 1 season was one of the craziest on record, and not just because of the revised calendar.
During 2020, we entered F1 silly season before a single car had even hit the track. We had multiple driver lineup changes confirmed before the first race, meaning drivers such as Carlos Sainz spent the whole season racing for McLaren, knowing he would be at Ferrari the following year.
With this in mind, it did at least give Codemasters a rather large head start on finalising their internal driver lineup for the F1 2021 game!
Let’s run through all of the driver lineup changes that happened, and see who will be racing for what team in F1 2021.
Starting with Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas was confirmed early on in the season to another 1 year deal. This deal came before George Russell’s stand-in appearance. 2022 may be the year where Mercedes make a big driver swap, but for 2021 it’s business as usual.
As of writing this article, Lewis Hamilton still hasn’t signed a contract with Mercedes for 2021. Although it is an almost sure fire bet this announcement will come sooner rather than later.
Red Bull have had a tricky few years with their second driver spot. They’ve tried and ultimately failed to showcase Gasly or Albon’s ability, and have opted for Sergio Perez after a very good 2020 season.
Lining up next to Perez will be the familiar face of Max Verstappen, who will be hoping that 2021 will be the stage for his first true title challenge.
McLaren hope to continue their rise through Formula 1’s mid field, and announced early that their driver lineup would include Daniel Ricciardo. Lando Norris will continue to hold his seat after a solid 2020 season.
Newly re-branded Aston Martin, made a bold statement when they parted ways with Sergio Perez, and instead bought in former F1 champion Sebastian Vettel. Alongside Vettel, Aston Martin have kept on Lance Stroll who struggled throughout the last season.
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) January 7, 2021
Alpine F1 is the second new name for 2021. Formally known as Renault, Alpine F1 have bought onboard fan favourite Fernando Alonso. The introduction of Alonso, states a serious intent to improve for 2021, where they were beaten to third place by only a few points.
Estaban Ocon retains his seat for 2021 after a season where he failed to make inroads alongside Ricciardo.
Ferrari is a team which will want to forget 2020, and look forward to this upcoming season. They have a new engine, and a new driver in Carlos Sainz. Charles Leclerc has impressed over the past two seasons at Ferrari and will stay on to lead the team in to a new era.
AlphaTauri had a good year, with the return of Pierre Gasly, and his first race win driving them forward in the lower mid field. Alongside Gasly is an F1 rookie for 2021 with Yuki Tsunoda. Tsunoda had a good year in Formula 2, where he could have won the championship if it wasn’t for a few unlucky races.
Alfa Romeo is one of the few teams who are keeping the exact same driver lineup for 2021. They will keep both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Haas is the first team to bring a completely new lineup to the F1 2021 grid. Haas is introducing two F1 rookies, who spent last year competing in Formula 2. Both Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin will be driving in Haas colours in 2021.
Rounding out the grid, Williams have also kept the same driver lineup for the 2021 F1 season. Both George Russell and Nicolas Latifi return for 2021.
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez
Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo
Lance Stroll, Sebastian Vettel
Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso
Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz
Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda
Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi
Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin
George Russell, Nicolas Latifi
Codemasters have tended to include the previous years Formula 2 drivers in their new video games. In F1 2019, we saw the 2018 Formula 2 grid, and with F1 2020 we saw the 2019 Formula 2 grid at launch.
This means that we can fairly expect to see the 2020 Formula 2 season in this years game. Codemasters have already released a 2020 patch for F1 2020, which adds in the whole 2020 Formula 2 grid.
Codemasters could simply port these assets over to their new game. Including the 2021 Formula 2 grid as a free update further in to the year is possibly the most likely scenario.
As for the F2 2020 grid, these are the drivers that we know should be in-game.
Mick Schumacher, Robert Schwartzman
Callum Ilott, Guanyu Zhou
Yuki Tsunoda, Jehan Daruvala
Nikita Mazepin, Luca Ghiotto
Marcus Armstrong, Christian Lundgaard
Nobuharu Matsushita, Felipe Drugovich
Louis Deletraz, Pedro Piquet
Dan Ticktum, Sean Gelael
Jack Aitken, Guilherme Samaia
Guiliano Alesi, artem Markelov
Roy Nissany, Marino Sato
The above two lists are for drivers that are confirmed to have a seat for the F1 2021 season. But there are also a whole host of other drivers that Codemasters could look to incorporate into the F1 2021 game.
The drivers market played a huge role in the F1 2020 career mode, so we would expect it to make a full return in F1 2021.
In the previous F1 game, Codemasters included all of the Formula 1 and Formula 2 drivers and that was it. They also included former F2 driver Anthoine Hubert. Hopefully he will continue to be included in future video games.
In F1 2021, Codemasters could go above and beyond and expand upon the driver market.
As we saw during the 2020 Formula 1 season, some drivers fell ill, and were temporarily replaced for certain racers. Drivers such as Niko Hulkenberg and Pietro Fittipaldi both stepped in for multiple races.
This could provide Codemasters the opportunity to include both of these drivers in the driver market. They could utilise a similar system to other sports games like FIFA and MADDEN, where players without contracts are still included in game under the label “Free Agents”.
We know Codemasters do have Niko Hulkenberg on file, as he was included in the F1 2019 video game. Meaning it wouldn’t be too hard for Codies to add him in to the upcoming F1 2021 game.
On top of these two drivers, it would be nice if Codemasters looked towards Formula 3. The F3 feeder series includes a huge selection of young drivers with a lot of potential.
Other racing games such as the MOTO GP series include a whole host of feeder series. With Codemasters including Formula 2 cars for the first time in F1 2019, hopefully they will look to expand their offering to Formula 3 as well.