Kimi Raikkonen is returning with the Alfa Romeo team for a third season, but it will be his 19th season in F1 overall, since making his debut with Sauber in 2001.
The 41-year-old is now the oldest driver on the grid for 2021 and also the most experienced with 329 starts that has given him 21 race victories. Considering his almost nonchalant approach to racing, and the impression that he doesn't really want to be there, it is somewhat surprising his career has endured.
And he is still the last Ferrari driver to win the world championship, which he secured in 2007. He then took a two-year sabbatical in 2010 through to 2012, during which time he tried rallying, and even Nascar, before Lotus enticed him back to F1 in 2012.
In the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP, Raikkonen gave Lotus its first victory since the 1987 Detroit GP, which was won by the late Ayrton Senna.
During that Abu Dhabi race, with Fernando Alonso chasing him down in his Ferrari, Raikkonen's race engineer was on the team radio giving his driver a pep talk, to which Raikkonen gave a classic response:
"Just leave me alone, I know what I'm doing," the driver nicknamed "The Iceman" said, with those words later appearing on T-shirts which added to Raikkonen's popularity with the fans, who seemed to like his casual approach to a sport that carries imminent danger.
Raikkonen rejoined Ferrari in 2014 and partnered Sebastian Vettel until he was replaced, after the 2018 season, by Charles Leclerc.
Alfa Romeo use a Ferrari engine, but Raikkonen is under no illusions about the team's prospects, given it finished eighth in last year's championship, with just eight points. The team was also eighth in 2019, but at least scored 57 points.
The team seemed to suffer along with Ferrari itself, and the Haas team, which Ferrari also supply engines to, because of a lack of engine power. Ferrari was sixth in the championship, and Haas was ninth.
Raikkonen and his Italian teammate Antonio Giovinazzi are pinning their hopes of moving up the grid on a revival of Ferrari engine power. For Raikkonen, 2021 is a chance to reflect on his longevity in the sport and also why he remains in it after 19 seasons.
"Time goes quickly," he notes. "Obviously, it's quite a long time ago but I was a couple of years out of F1 in the middle of it, so it doesn't feel like 20 years. Obviously, the racing and the driving is what still excites me. I've never been a big fan of the rest. But I enjoy the racing and the challenge to try to improve things and getting better."
He says the aim is to leave Williams and Haas behind and close the gap on the rest but is adamant that won't happen if they have reliability issues.
"There cannot be any reliability issues - you can't afford you lose half a day or a full day with not much to work with," he said, bearing in mind the testing that starts in two weeks in Bahrain.
Giovanazzi says he hopes they are closer to Alpha Tauri and to the midfield, and realises the power unit will be important.
"They [Ferrari] are positive. We don't know the amount we will gain, especially because we don't know how much the others will improve. This we will only know in Bahrain."
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotti is expecting his team to bounce back from finishing sixth last year, but already their focus is on 2022 when regulation changes will create a more even playing field.
"The start of the season is very important. I don't expect the balance of power to change much for the rest of the season," Binotti surmises. "We know our data. Our focus in the coming season is already on the development of the 2022 car. That is our main task. We won't spend much time developing the 2021 model during the season."
Extraordinary to think that the winningest team in F1 is prepared to sacrifice a whole season, but that is a clear indication as to just how far Ferrari has fallen behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
Carlos Sainz has moved from McLaren after helping that team finish third in last year's championship, to a team that was sixth.
Has he made a career-defining move? Leclerc has been with the team two seasons now, and the team loyalty shifted from Vettel to Leclerc, which meant Vettel was no longer required even though he had been the team leader since 2015.
Ferrari has almost always had a number one and a number two if you think of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, Alonso and Felipe Massa and Vettel with Raikkonen. But that may not be the case with Leclerc and Sainz, simply because neither will have a car to compete for the championship and if Sainz is challenging Leclerc, the team are likely to allow it.
Sainz will need to prove he is not just there to make up the numbers, because Binotto makes no bones about the team looking to sign Mick Schumacher in the future.
The latter has yet to race in F1 and will have to establish himself at Haas before Ferrari might hire him, although contractually he is already part of the team.
"Mick is part of our FDA [Ferrari Development Academy] and the FDA programme is not there to develop drivers for F1, but it's there to develop drivers that one day may drive a Ferrari seat, a red car," Binotti says.
Schumacher says he is advised by Binotti who he says tells him to be "strong".
But he also takes advice from Vettel.
"Seb and I talk to each other regularly," Mick says. "He has great experience and gives me advice. He keeps an eye on me."
Schumacher says he is happy to make his F1 debut with Haas, and he will then see what the future has in store for him but admits being a Ferrari driver would be a dream.
"I don't deny it, it would be a dream to drive a Ferrari like my father did in the past."
Red Bull has a young driver programme similar to what Ferrari has. But in replacing Alex Albon with former Racing Point driver Sergio Perez, who was sacked even after winning the Sikhar GP for that team last season, Red Bull has signed a driver who was not part of its junior programme. The last time it did that was when Mark Webber joined Red Bull from Williams back in 2007.
They have chosen Perez because of his experience and hope that along with Max Verstappen, they will have a more potent team effort to destabilise the Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. It was felt that last year Albon wasn't able to back up Verstappen in his fight with Mercedes.
"We assume he only loses two or three tenths to Max, not five," Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko says, comparing Perez with Albon.
"Sergio has integrated himself very well," Marko added. "You can tell immediately that he has been in Formula 1 for 10 years and that he has a lot of experience."
Marko has rubbished a recent comment made by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff that Red Bull are the favourites this year because Verstappen beat Bottas and Hamilton in the last race of 2020 at Abu Dhabi.
Wolff told Speedweek: "Red Bull Racing actually had the fastest car at the end of last year, so the team is in the favourite's circle in 2021, especially in the Constructors' championship with drivers of this calibre. I see Red Bull Racing as a double challenge, so in both world championship categories, drivers and teams."
Marko says Wolff is just trying to "create tension with words".
"We hope to be among the front runners, but Mercedes is the clear favourite," Marko stated. "They have won all the titles since the hybrid era in 2014."
Verstappen says during the few laps they did at Silverstone, they were using demo tyres so they won't know where they stand until proper tyres are used.
"We just have to wait and see what happens in Bahrain once we have proper tyres under the car," Verstappen said.
"I don't like to talk it up at the moment. We know where we want to be and where we want to get to and that's what we have to realise."
Verstappen also doesn't want to speculate on what might happen should Hamilton retire this year if he wins an eighth championship, which would Verstappen free to join Mercedes, given he is believed to have a performance clause in his contract that might get him out of his Red Bull contract that expires at the end of 2023.
"At the end of the day, I don't know what Lewis is going to do. I'm just focused on myself and focused on this year and trying to make that a success," he says.
Endurance driver and F1pundit Tom Coronal hopes, like many F1 fans, that Red Bull will push Mercedes this year.
"I'm not saying Max will be champion, but we will hear Hamilton grumbling a lot via the onboard radio," Coronal surmises. "He always does when someone is panting in his neck. Hamilton had it way too easy in recent years. Red Bull is only getting closer to Mercedes, the difference simply cannot be greater than last year."