The opening race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ takes place this weekend, on Sunday 28 March, at the Bahrain International Circuit. Since 2013, Rolex has been a Global Partner and the Official Timepiece of Formula 1®, supporting its commitment to develop pioneering technology and expertise. For close to 90 years, Rolex has fostered long-term relationships with legendary events and remarkable individuals in motor sport, compelled by the continuous quest for improved performance and excellence.
Drawing on the parallels between Rolex and the pinnacle of motor racing, Rolex Testimonee and three-time FIA Formula 1® Drivers’ World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart* says: *“Formula 1 is a highly respected global series at the forefront of engineering – it’s a natural fit that Rolex is associated with the sport as the brand develops the highest form of technology that exists in watchmaking. Leaders in their respective fields, Rolex and Formula 1 share levels of excellence that are incredibly rare, making it a perfect partnership.”
The 2021 grid features a number of new and exciting driver line-ups, and with only three days of pre-season testing earlier this month, the teams have had less preparation time than usual. Previewing these changes, Rolex Testimonee and nine-time Formula 1® race winner *Mark Webber* says: *“Some very knowledgeable drivers have moved to experienced teams, such as Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren, Carlos Sainz at Ferrari and Sergio Pérez at Red Bull, it will be intriguing to see what they can extract out of these new partnerships. It is a massive opportunity for them all, and we’ll get to enjoy watching some tremendous intra-team rivalries. I’m also really looking forward to seeing whether Red Bull can come out of the gates fast and challenge Mercedes from the off – that will be fascinating.” *
Ahead of the extensive technical overhaul in 2022, this year’s regulations have remained consistent, with small but significant adjustments made to address downforce levels. The updates include modified, heavier tyres and revised aerodynamic rules, while the Friday practice sessions have been shortened to 60 minutes. Formula 1® continues its commitment to diversity and the next generation by adding the W Series – an all-female single-seater championship – to its 2021 support schedule, alongside Formula 2® and Formula 3®.
Following the season-opener in Bahrain, the Formula 1® paddock will travel to Europe, with the second round set to be held in Imola (Italy) in mid-April. Contingent on the global situation, the provisional 2021 season is scheduled to comprise a record-breaking 23 races. As demonstrated in 2020, the Formula 1® community continues to adjust and implement forward-thinking and robust solutions to ensure all Grands Prix™ take place safely, and with fans trackside where possible. Reflecting on the resilience and dedication of the sport, *Webber* says: *“We should be extremely proud of what Formula 1 managed to achieve last year – it set the benchmark. We made other sports look at us and how we operated with discipline, professionalism, desire and intensity to ensure races got under way in such a difficult environment. It was brilliant and we look forward to going again, with the same determination, energy and attention to detail.”*