As an eventful 2020 Formula 1 season came to an end in Abu Dhabi, attention already began to turn to the 2021 season.
The effect of COVID 19 saw huge changes to the F1 calendar in 2020 but organisers and schedulers can take great credit for their efforts to have completed a working schedule.
With 23 races in the provisional calendar for 2021 however, a sense of normality looks to be returning to Formula 1, for drivers and fans alike.
How long it will be before fans return to trackside to watch the action remains to be seen but with travel regulations seemingly eased for the elite in Formula 1, the future of the sport appears to be in no immediate danger.
As always, the first race of the season is due to be held in Melbourne in March and with time ticking to lights out in Australia, here is a betting guide to the 2021 Formula 1 season:
Hamilton to make it 8?
Following his comfortable 7th title win during 2020, very few would bet against Lewis Hamilton securing a record-breaking 8th Formula 1 World Championship win.
His Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas continues to play second fiddle to Hamilton in the team structure and his shaky performances towards the end of the 2020 season will only add more kudos to the argument that Hamilton is well placed to be victorious once more.
Hamilton’s favouritism is Well represented by the odds as he has already been installed as the 1/2 favourite to lift the title once more for Mercedes.
Bottas looks to be a longer shot at 10/1 with some sportsbooks, as faith appears to have been lost in his ability to challenge Hamilton in a like-for-like car.
Taking it to the Max
With Mercedes the shrewd bet to lift the Constructors Championship come the end of the 2021 season, attention naturally turns to who else on the grid can usurp Hamilton’s dominance.
Max Verstappen has long been the great hope for Red Bull and despite an indifferent season, he managed to finish second in the Driver’s Championship and his end of season win at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is still fresh in the memory.
Red Bull were vocal in their struggles to produce a top level car at the start of 2020 and they will be hoping to put that right and give Verstappen the tools to sustain a challenge this season.
The young Dutchman is 7/1 to win his first Formula 1 World Championship title and he looks to be the front runner of the chasing pack currently.
The demise of Ferrari as a challenging team seemingly went under the radar in 2020 and they will be looking to get back into podium challenging positions as quickly as possible.
Charles Leclerc will be promoted to lead driver in 2021 and many have high hopes for him, and Sebastien Vettel departs the team to be replaced by Carlos Sainz Jr.
When it comes to F1 racing stock, both Leclerc and Sainz have some of the very best in the history of the sport and they will be hoping to embark on a new dawn for the Italian giants.
Leclerc is 25/1 to win his maiden World Championship title and with Sainz further back at 40/1, they look to have plenty of improvements to make in the off-season.
Best of the Rest
Red Bull have their top driver established in Max Verstappen but with Alexander Albon yet to be signed up for 2021, question marks still remain over who will battle it out with Verstappen.
McLaren meanwhile look to have a strong squad assembled with Daniel Riccardo and Lando Norris on board and few would bet against those guys making it onto podiums next season.
Aston Martin have the look of a new team, with Lance Stroll and Sebastien Vettel behind the wheel whilst Haas have the youngest line-up on the grid, with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin sure to want to make a name for themselves.