Over recent seasons there has been a tendency within Formula 1 to group particular teams into separate ‘classes’. This has been due to the large differences in performance between particular groups of teams.
For example ‘Class A’ has tended to consist of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, with a second group, termed as ‘Class B’, behind them which was made up of the remaining teams within the championship.
This has however changed over the last few seasons with Ferrari having effectively dropped out of ‘Class A’ and into ‘Class B’ while the shifts in performance in ‘Class B’ has seen it fracture where a third class has appeared from 2019 onwards.Embed from Getty Images
Taking a look at the current 2021 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship it isn’t too difficult to see that there are the early signs of perhaps three to four distinct groups having formed.
For example ‘Class A’ very much consists of Mercedes and Red Bull with McLaren and Ferrari behind forming a second group of their own. Even further behind Ferrari there appears to be a third class involving AlphaTauri, Aston Martin and Alpine with a final fourth group being made up of Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas.
Despite these ‘distinct’ groups there does appear to be the ability for some teams to move between classes, depending on performance at particular tracks. A recent example is that of Alfa Romeo and Williams who were both in contention of scoring points at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Likewise, despite there currently being a 26 point gap between Ferrari in fourth and AlphaTauri, the latter, certainly in qualifying, has shown that it has the pace to be mixing and fighting with McLaren and Ferrari. Should AlphaTauri get more luck and execute its races more cleanly it could claw its way closer towards McLaren and Ferrari, and in turn away from the likes of Aston Martin and Alpine.Embed from Getty Images
Added to all of this is Haas who have looked, and will no doubt continue to look, as if they are in a completely separate class of their own at the back of the grid. This as the American team sacrifices their 2021 performance in order to focus on the 2022 car, which will be designed and built around a new set of technical regulations.
All of the above are just some examples as to why the 2021 Constructors’ Championship will be interesting to follow throughout the rest of the season. There are numerous possibilities of these four groups at times merging together or fracturing further depending on factors such as when teams stop developing their 2021 cars, as well as the luck and execution of strategy during a race.
There is also the possibility, taking into consideration the budget cap and 2022 regulations, that groups become set for the rest of this season. Perhaps the most likely example of this is the top two teams of Mercedes and Red Bull who some would expect are likely to gradually pull away from the rest.Embed from Getty Images
As if there weren’t enough interesting storylines in Formula 1 in 2021, as can be seen above there are plenty of factors that will make it intriguing to see how this season’s Constructors’ Championship evolves throughout the year.