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Formula 1’s driver chaos, explained
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 leads the field at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on December 01, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Enlarge / There’s a game of musical chairs happening in F1 right now. (credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The 2020 Formula 1 season has already guaranteed it will be unlike any other in the 70 years since they started keeping score of the championship. By now, we should have had six races completed, with the Monaco Grand Prix a week away. Instead, we have no races on the books yet, but we do have provisional plans for a slightly abbreviated season that’s supposed to kick off on July 5 in Austria, then cross the globe a further 18 times before wrapping up in Abu Dhabi on December 13. The absence of any on-track action hasn’t meant things have been quiet, though

The team bosses have been hard at work, arguing with each other and the sport’s governing body about finally implementing cost caps that could level the playing field (a little, hopefully) between the three very, very rich ones (Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull) that win everything and the other seven. And this week has seen quite the game of musical chairs as drivers are switching things up for 2021, which all got started with the sudden news that four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel’s days as a Ferrari driver are over. Let the silly season begin.

Vettel hangs up his red suit

Vettel’s rise through the F1 ranks was meteoric. He impressed the world when he stood in for an injured Robert Kubica at BMW in 2007, then impressed everyone even more the following year when he scored Toro Rosso’s first and only win to date at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. The following year he was in a Red Bull car and finished second in the points at year’s end. 2010 was his first world championship with Red Bull, and he took the crown again in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

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