Jenson Button has returned to Williams in a senior advisory role after agreeing a multi-year deal.

Button was given his Formula One break by Williams 21 years ago when he was handed a drive for the 2000 season.

The 41-year-old Briton went on to be crowned F1 world champion during his time with Brawn in 2009 and retired in 2016 with 15 race victories to his name.

Button now returns to Williams, who were sold to American private investment firm Dorilton Capital last year as the Williams family ended their 43-year-old involvement in F1.

He will be tasked with passing on his experience at grands prix, while also attending team events in the United Kingdom.

Englishman Button said: "I am so delighted to once again be able to say that I've signed for Williams. Back when I was 19 it was a moment that changed my life and, despite the fact it was over 20 years ago, I already feel like I never really left.

"Sir Frank Williams showed faith in me which I will be eternally grateful for and I am incredibly excited to have the chance to come back and help the team as it strives once more for success."

Incoming Williams Racing chief executive Jost Capito said: "Bringing Jenson back on board is another positive step to help us move forward as a team both on and off track. Jenson has always been a friend of the team and so it is great to welcome him back into the Williams family.

"Back in 2000, Sir Frank saw the promising talent Jenson had as a driver and gave him his first opportunity in F1. He more than fulfilled that initial promise throughout a glittering career that culminated in world championship glory.

"More recently, he has shown his acumen in both the business and broadcasting worlds and remains a widely respected figure in the paddock."

Alpine have appointed Davide Brivio, the former boss of MotoGP team Suzuki Ecstar, as their racing director.

Renault announced the departure of team principal Cyril Abiteboul on Monday ahead of their rebrand to Alpine for the 2021 Formula One campaign, and now they have added new blood.

Brivio was linked to F1 after quitting his post with Suzuki Ecstar, who won the team and rider championships in last year's MotoGP season.

An Alpine statement read: "Davide Brivio joins Alpine F1 Team as racing director.

"We are delighted to confirm Davide Brivio will strengthen our team ahead of the 2021 Formula One season. His specific role and responsibilities will be announced in the coming weeks.

"Davide will report to the Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

"Davide joins Alpine F1 Team with a wealth of experience and success following more than 20 years in the MotoGP world championship.

"We look forward to welcoming Davide as we start the next stage of our Formula One journey."

Alpine's driver line-up is made up of Frenchman Esteban Ocon and former two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has tested positive for coronavirus, the team have confirmed.

The 23-year-old was already isolating having been in close contact with someone who had contracted COVID-19.

Ferrari said Leclerc is isolating at home in Monaco and is displaying mild symptoms.

A team statement read: "Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver Charles Leclerc has tested positive for COVID-19.

"In accordance with the team's protocols, Charles is tested regularly and yesterday, the result from his latest test came back positive. 

"Charles notified us immediately and has informed everyone he has been in close contact with in the last few days.

"He is currently feeling ok with mild symptoms and is now self-isolating at home in Monaco."

Leclerc added on his Instagram stories: "Hello guys. I hope you are all staying safe.

"I want to let you know that I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am regularly checked according to my team's protocols.

"Unfortunately, I learned that I have been in contact with a positive case and immediately went into self-isolation, notifying anyone I had contact with. A subsequent test I took has come back positive.

"I am feeling okay and have mild symptoms. I will remain in isolation in my home in Monaco in compliance with the regulations set by the local health authorities.

"Stay safe and take care."

World champion Lewis Hamilton tested positive towards the end of the 2020 F1 season, while Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez have also previously missed time due to coronavirus.

Ferrari do not regret their failure to sign Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 season as they are confident Charles Leclerc can challenge the Formula One champion.

Hamilton has won six of his record-equalling seven world championships with Mercedes, although he has not yet committed to the Silver Arrows for the coming campaign.

A resolution is expected soon, but links to rivals Ferrari have never been far away.

A blockbuster move will not materialise on this occasion, however, as the Scuderia have secured Carlos Sainz Jr next to Leclerc in their 2021 line-up, replacing Sebastian Vettel.

And team principal Mattia Binotto is confident they have made the right move.

He told Sky Sports: "I don't think there will be regret because, at the end, when we took some decisions, we took them thinking they were the right decisions and today we have a fantastic driver like Charles, where we invested a lot as Ferrari.

"I think he's got a lot of talent. If he's got the right car, I'm pretty sure he can challenge Lewis Hamilton.

"We've made our choices and I think, together with Carlos, we are very strong. I don't think there will be any regret."

Although Leclerc - fourth two years ago with two wins to his name - would appear the obvious Ferrari contender, Binotto is not naming a "number one".

Sainz finished seven points better off than his new team-mate in 2020 while still with McLaren.

"There is not a number one and number two," Binotto said. "They will have equal opportunities - certainly at the start of the season. I'm pretty happy then that they are free to fight.

"I think what we have to do as usual is to optimise the team points, and when you optimise the team points, normally you are optimising the drivers' points as well. Team points is the number one.

"Later in the season, let's see how things will progress, let's see what objectives individual drivers can maybe achieve and if we need to adopt a different strategy, but at the start of the season, they will be free to fight."

The Formula One season will start a week later than originally scheduled in Bahrain after the Australian Grand Prix was put back to November due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit was due to stage the opening race of 2021 on March 21, but F1 revealed a revised calendar on Tuesday.

The Bahrain Grand Prix will be the first of the year on March 28, with the event in Australia now taking place on November 21 - subject to World Motor Sport Council approval.

Travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis will prevent the Chinese Grand Prix - which was due to be the third round of the season - going ahead on April 11 and no new date has been set for that race.

Imola is back on the calendar for the second race of the campaign on April 18, while there is a spare date in the calendar of May 2 for a race to be staged and a venue for that weekend will be announced in due course.

The season is due to end with a record 23rd race of the year in Abu Dhabi on December 12 and F1 expects fans to return to the grandstands this year.


"It has been a busy start to the year at Formula 1 and we are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged," said president and CEO of Formula 1 Stefano Domenicali.

"The global pandemic has not yet allowed life to return to normal, but we showed in 2020 that we can race safely as the first international sport to return and we have the experience and plans in place to deliver on our season.

"It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November and are continuing to work with our Chinese colleagues to find a solution to race there in 2021 if something changes.

"We are very excited to announce that Imola will return for the 2021 season and know our fans will be looking forward to the return of Formula 1 after the winter break and our revised season opener in Bahrain. Obviously, the virus situation remains fluid, but we have the experience from last season with all our partners and promoters to adapt accordingly and safely in 2021."


F1 2021 calendar in full:

March 28 – Bahrain (Sakhir)
April 18 - Italy (Imola*)
May 2 - TBC
May 9 – Spain (Barcelona)
May 23 – Monaco (Monaco)
June 6 – Azerbaijan (Baku)
June 13 – Canada (Montreal)
June 27 – France (Le Castellet)
July 4 – Austria (Spielberg)
July 18 – United Kingdom (Silverstone)
August 1 – Hungary (Budapest)
August 29– Belgium (Spa)
September 5 – Netherlands (Zandvoort)
September 12 – Italy (Monza)
September 26 – Russia (Sochi)
October 3 – Singapore (Singapore)
October 10 – Japan (Suzuka)
October 24 – USA (Austin)
October 31 – Mexico (Mexico City)
November 7 – Brazil (Sao Paulo)
November 21 - Australia (Melbourne*)
December 5 - Saudi Arabia (Jeddah**)
December 12 - Abu Dhabi (Yas Island)

*Revisions to calendar are subject to World Motor Sport Council approval **Subject to circuit homologation.

Andrea Dovizioso has hit out Gigi Dall'Igna, revealing he did not have a calm conversation with Ducati's general manager for three years before he left the team.

It was announced last August that Dovizioso would not stay on for the 2021 MotoGP season after eight years with Ducati.

The 34-year-old Italian rider has since announced he will take a sabbatical this year but hopes to return to the premier class further down the line.

Dovizioso has lifted the lid on how on his relationship Dall'Igna with disintegrated.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: "What is the relationship with Gigi? Zero.

"In the past years it was at 30 per cent, then since Jorge Lorenzo arrived in 2017 – in arguing and going against each other – my team and I became a bit isolated.

"We no longer talked about the development of the bike, we no longer held meetings to develop it.

"But in Ducati there is potential to do so, because the competence and skill are very high. Of these eight years it's the only thing that makes me angry, because we could have done more. Gigi and I have not spoken calmly since 2017."

Dovizioso suggested Dall'Igna had too much power and said he was never offered a new deal, despite claims his demands were too high.

"These decisions come only from Gigi. There is talk of Ducati, but it is wrong because all the decisions are his. Like the choice of Lorenzo in 2017," he said.

"At the beginning of 2016 there was the possibility of taking on [Marc] Marquez, but Gigi had already decided that he wanted Lorenzo."

He added: "Gigi stated that he understood that it was already over from the 2019 meeting between the Sachsenring and Austria. That was supposed to be a technical meeting, we had different ideas, there was friction and we wanted to meet with all the engineers.

"It started as a technical meeting but then ended as a confrontation between the two of us. Gigi felt attacked, beaten. I think at that moment he closed the doors, but he did it quietly and what he says confirms it.

"It was said that I wanted this and that. All lies. There was never an offer, there were no negotiations. I still did not know that they no longer wanted me.

"But what they said was the confirmation that for Dall'Igna it was already over after that 2019 meeting."

Carlos Sainz compared Ferrari and McLaren to LaLiga heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona, and is confident of a successful transition to the Scuderia. 

The Spaniard spent the past two seasons at McLaren, making the podium on two occasions, but is Ferrari-bound for 2021, replacing Sebastian Vettel.

Sainz spoke about how the objective for both teams is to cut the gap to dominant Mercedes, while he feels the fact he will have raced for both teams proves he is doing something right in his career.

Asked by AS if racing for Ferrari is like playing for Real Madrid, the team Sainz supports, he replied: "It's one way of saying it…but McLaren is Barca, which is also a very good team to be on. 

"It cannot be compared, because in addition both are in a restructuring to try to dethrone Mercedes in the future. 

"But they are the two best teams in history and when you go from one to the other it means that you are doing something right in Formula One."

At Ferrari, Sainz is joining a team where the pressure is always on to be a success and internal politics have historically always been a lingering presence in the background.

But Sainz is confident of being able to bring a harmonious atmosphere like the one he was part of at McLaren.

"That I managed to do it at McLaren means I can do it at Ferrari. If I could create a good team, generate good dynamics at McLaren, why not do it at Ferrari? I can do it," he added. 

"I like the people out there, I like Mattia [Binotto, Ferrari team boss] and I like what I see, what we have talked about. 

"There was no hesitation when it came to signing the contract and going forward. In my head there is no possibility that this environment and similar situation cannot be generated. 

"If I could at McLaren, I can at Ferrari."

Sainz's predecessors at Ferrari Vettel and Fernando Alonso arrived with huge reputations as two of the most gifted drivers of their generations and with world titles to their name.

Neither man was able to end Ferrari's wait for a champion dating back to 2007 but Sainz believes it is wrong to judge their success at Maranello based on titles.

"They leave with a few victories and podiums, if you call that going empty…I only have two podiums," he said. 

"Are they leaving without a championship? Yes. But the same has happened to nineteen drivers, every season for the last 10, when Red Bull or Mercedes have dominated. 

"There are nineteen drivers a year who have gone empty, but I do not include those who have raced for Ferrari. Nobody leaves Ferrari empty."

Formula One rising star Lando Norris has tested positive for COVID-19 while holidaying in Dubai.

The McLaren driver, who had a first career podium among seven top-six finishes last season, said he was largely asymptomatic but had lost his sense of taste and smell.

Norris, 21, was taking a break in the United Arab Emirates and will be confined to his hotel room for two weeks as a result.

On Tuesday, he wrote in a message posted to Twitter: "Hi everyone, hope you are all keeping well. Yesterday I lost my sense of taste and smell so immediately self isolated [sic] and took a test.

“It's come back as positive, so I've told everyone that I’ve been in contact with and will be self isolating for the next 14 days.

“I feel alright and have no other symptoms but I just wanted to let you all know. Take care.”

McLaren confirmed the positive, saying it came before Norris was due to join the team for pre-season preparations.

The team said in a statement: "McLaren can confirm that Lando Norris tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday in Dubai, where he is currently on holiday ahead of a planned training camp."

The 2021 Formula One season is scheduled to start in Australia with a March 21 race; however, reports have indicated that grand prix is likely to be pushed back until later in the year due to Melbourne's quarantine restrictions.

That would mean the campaign getting under way a week later in Bahrain, with pre-season testing switching to Bahrain from Barcelona also reported to be a possibility.

Formula One world champion and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton has capped a stellar year by receiving a knighthood.

One of the highest honours bestowed in his native United Kingdom, Hamilton was named on the New Year's list on Wednesday.

It comes after Hamilton equalled Ferrari great Michael Schumacher as the driver with the most F1 titles this season.

Hamilton has seven world championships, six of them with Mercedes after reigning supreme during a coronavirus-hit 2020 campaign.

The 35-year-old also surpassed Schumacher's previous record tally of 91 race wins this term. He now has 95 and the 11 in 2020 represents his joint-best return for an F1 season in his legendary career.

Hamilton – who was made an MBE in 2008 – has also had a pole position in 14 consecutive seasons (from 2007 to 2020). Schumacher previously had the best such record (13 from 1994 to 2006).

"Lewis is one of the very greatest racing drivers of all time and the most successful British sportsperson of his era," Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said.

"Around the world, he has long been recognised for his sporting achievement; this year, he combined his excellence on the track with a powerful voice to fight discrimination.

"In every sense, he led the way in 2020. The news that he is to receive a knighthood shows that he is now receiving the recognition he has earned during a career of unparalleled success in motorsport.

"The UK can be very proud to have a champion and ambassador of the calibre of Sir Lewis Hamilton."

Mick Schumacher is happy to answer questions about comparisons with father Michael as he aims to emulate "the best there has ever been". 

The 21-year-old will make his Formula One bow with Haas in 2021, following in the footsteps of his dad, a seven-time world champion. 

Mick has won the F3 European Championship and Formula Two title in recent seasons, prompting discussions over how his career might ultimately rank against Michael's achievements even before arriving in the elite competition. 

The expectation has not caused him any upset, however, as he prepares to join a grid featuring Lewis Hamilton, who this year tied Michael's record with his seventh championship triumph. 

"I think it's okay, it doesn't bother me at all when I get questions and the comparison," Mick Schumacher told Bild. 

"Of course, I have to go my own way. But my father is, for me, the best there has ever been in the sport; why would I then want to distance myself from him?"

Haas have also signed Nikita Mazepin, Mick's former F2 rival, to their 2021 line-up, with the pair set to debut at Melbourne's Australian Grand Prix on March 21.

"That will be a special moment in general," Schumacher added. "Yes, you can say that [it will be special following Michael into F1]. I already think that it will be very emotional.

"But I'm looking forward to the challenge, the drive and working with the team."

Alex Albon is "not giving up" on Formula One after admitting he was left hurt by Red Bull's decision to replace him for the 2021 season. 

The F1 team confirmed on Friday that Sergio Perez will partner Max Verstappen next year, the former having finished fourth in the 2020 drivers' championship standings while at Racing Point. 

Albon is still to remain with Red Bull as a test and reserve driver, as well helping with preparations for the 2022 regulation changes. 

The 24-year-old - who finished this year with 105 points, including a pair of podium finishes - is determined to earn a place back on the grid.

"I can't lie guys, it hurts. I gave it everything out there, but it wasn't quite enough," Albon wrote on Instagram. 

"I want to say a huge thank you to all of you that supported me throughout this year, especially my Thai fans. With all the different opinions out there, I always had you guys to push me through it. 

"I'm not giving up, I've poured my life into this and I won't let it stop here.  

"I have more to give and my focus is getting back for 2022 and to wave the Thai flag again!"

Perez finished fourth in the final championship standings, despite missing two races after testing positive for coronavirus, as well as being forced to retire in Abu Dhabi at the end of the campaign.

The Mexican was second in the Turkish Grand Prix before going on to earn an emotional first career win at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

He will join forces with Verstappen, who won two races to end up in third place for 2020, behind only the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Sergio Perez has been signed by Red Bull to partner Max Verstappen in the 2021 Formula One season, with Alex Albon dropped.

Albon will remain with the team as test and reserve driver, as well as playing a key role in their preparations for the 2022 regulation changes.

The move to sign Perez followed months of speculation over what Red Bull would do with one of the final seats available on the grid.

Had Perez, 30, not been given the role, he faced missing out on next season after Racing Point signed four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to replace him.

"I am incredibly grateful to Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to race for Red Bull Racing in 2021," said the Mexican after his signing was confirmed on Friday.

"The chance to race for a championship-contending team is something I have been hoping for since I joined Formula One and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colours alongside Max.

"You can be sure that I will give next season my full focus. The team has the same winning mentality as me and I know I am here to perform and help the team fight for another title."

Team boss Christian Horner revealed the decision had only come after some intense analysis of the data.

"Alex is a valued member of the team and we thought long and hard about this decision," he said.

"Having taken our time to evaluate all the relevant data and performances, we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner Max for 2021.

"We look forward to welcoming him to Red Bull Racing."

Perez's long wait to find a seat has been a confusing one to many, given he enjoyed a spectacular year in 2020.

He finished fourth in the drivers' championship, despite missing two races in the middle of the season after testing positive for coronavirus, as well as being forced to retire in Abu Dhabi at the end of the campaign.

Perez, who spent eight of his 11 F1 seasons with Racing Point, finished second in the Turkish Grand Prix and earned an emotional first career win in the penultimate race of 2020 at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Despite flashing his potential in moments, Albon finished seventh in the championship with only two third-place finishes to show as his best results.

The sensational Verstappen, by contrast, racked up 11 podiums and two race wins, finishing 109 points ahead of his team-mate. He also won the qualifying battle against Albon 17-0.

Red Bull will hope Perez can bridge that gap to ensure Red Bull are better equipped to take the fight to constructors' champions Mercedes.

Mercedes often had a strategic advantage this year when Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were battling with an outnumbered Verstappen at the front.

Albon joined Red Bull midway through the 2019 season from junior team AlphaTauri.

His struggles were emphasised when the man he replaced at Red Bull, Pierre Gasly, recorded a stunning victory for AlphaTauri at Monza in September.

Toto Wolff will continue as Mercedes team principal for three more years as part of a change in ownership that includes INEOS becoming a major shareholder. 

The chemical giant, already the principal partner of the team, has purchased a one-third stake in Formula One's leading constructor. 

Daimler will reduce its 60 per cent shareholding and Wolff's will increase from his current 30 per cent, thereby creating three equal controlling partners. 

In announcing the restructure, Mercedes also confirmed on Friday: "Under the new shareholding structure, Toto Wolff will continue in his role as team principal and CEO for a further three years, leading the executive operations of the company and the racing team. 

"He will have the subsequent opportunity to transition to a new executive function within the organisation when he decides it is the right time to do so." 

Wolff said: "I am pleased to begin this new chapter for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.

"This team is like a family for me. We have been through so many highs and lows together that I cannot imagine working with a better group of people in this sport – and I am very happy to continue together into this new era." 

Daimler and Mercedes-Benz chairman Ola Kallenius said INEOS' investment was "a sign of the strength of the organisation". 

He added: "We remain firmly committed to Formula One, and the forthcoming cost cap along with the new shareholding structure put us in an even stronger position for continued success.  

"With an even closer alignment to our Mercedes-AMG performance division beginning in 2021, and Toto's continued leadership in the coming years, the future is bright for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One." 

Mercedes have won seven constructors' titles in a row and have had a driver win the championship in each of those years. Lewis Hamilton, champion in 2020, has won six of those titles, with Nico Rosberg claiming the other in 2016. 

Hamilton, who matched Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers' championships this year, is expected to sign a new contract with Mercedes in the coming weeks. 

Interlagos will remain the home of the Brazilian Grand Prix until 2025, Formula One has announced.

A new five-year agreement was confirmed on Wednesday, with F1 set to return to Sao Paolo next November after the 2020 race was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was the first campaign not to include a race at Interlagos since 1989, when Rio de Janeiro was the host city for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"We are pleased to announce the city of Sao Paulo will continue to host the Brazilian Grand Prix until 2025 and look forward to working with our new promoter in the years ahead," said F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey.

"Brazil is a very important market for Formula One with devoted fans and a long history in the sport.

"The race in Brazil has always been a highlight for our fans, the drivers and our partners and we look forward to providing Formula One fans with an exciting race at Interlagos in 2021 and over the next five years."

Sao Paulo mayor Bruno Covas said: "It is a great joy to be able to announce that Interlagos will continue to host one of the of the most important events in world motorsports.

"We made a tremendous effort to keep the race in our city. We have robust infrastructure for tourists, public safety and offer top-notch services.

"We believe that hosting the grand prix, in addition to promoting our city to the world, will continue to bring important contributions such as job creation and income generation."

Next year's Brazilian Grand Prix will take place on November 14. It is scheduled to be the 21st race of 23 in a mammoth 2021 campaign.

Yuki Tsunoda is determined to make Japanese Formula One fans proud after it was announced that he will replace Daniil Kvyat at AlphaTauri next season.

Tsunoda will take Kvyat's seat and partner Pierre Gasly at Red Bull's sister team in 2021 after he was named Formula Two rookie of the year.

The 20-year-old will be the 18th driver from Japan to race in F1 and the first since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.

Tsunoda, who finished third in the 2020 F2 season for Carlin, is ready to grab his opportunity with both hands

He said on Wednesday: "Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula One, so I am very happy with this news.

"I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull and Dr. Marko [Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut] for giving me this opportunity, and of course everyone from Honda, for all their support so far in my career, giving me great opportunities to race in Europe.

"I must also thank the teams that I have raced with to get to this point, particularly Carlin, with whom I have learned so much this year. I realise that I will be carrying the hopes of a lot of Japanese F1 fans next year and I will be doing my best for them too."

Tsunoda's promotion comes after he clocked up 300 kilometres in a 2018 F1 car during testing at Imola before taking part in a Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi this week.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said: "Red Bull has been following Yuki's career for a while now and I am sure he will be a great asset to our team.

"Watching him in Formula Two this year, he has demonstrated the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding. During the test in Imola in November when he drove our 2018 car, his lap times were very consistent over a race simulation, he progressed throughout the day and gave our engineers useful feedback.

"In addition, his integration with the Honda engineers has been seamless, which certainly helps. At the test in Abu Dhabi this week, he proved to be a fast learner and that he is ready to make the step to Formula One."

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