The young talents aiming for F1 this year

The young talents aiming for F1 this year

It seemed as though a steady flow between F2 and F1 had been generated a few years ago with drivers such as Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Lando Norris and Alex Albon making the step into the premier class.

Oscar Piastri was forced to wait for his chance in the sport but the past two champions, Théo Pourchaire and Felipe Drugovich have not yet been able to take the step.

Will the next generation coming through the feeder series be able to fare better? RacingNews365 takes a look at those hoping so…

Formula 2 stars

One of the most talented junior drivers right now is Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who finds himself in the running for a stunning rise to F1 as a replacement for Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton. The Italian makes the move to F2 from FRECA, skipping F3 entirely.

A lot is expected from him in his debut year, though it is hard to place too much expectation on his shoulders straight away. If he can adjust to the new machinery straight away, he will be in line for the title straight away.

Frenchman Victor Martins enters his second season in F2 as the firm favourite for the title. He finished fifth in his first year of F3 before winning the title the following year and that cutting edge at the top of the field will play to his advantage. His association with Alpine could play a role in finding his way into F1 in the future.

Oliver Bearman, like Martins, enters his second campaign in the championship after a year in which his stock rose considerably. A Sprint-Feature double in just his fourth event in Azerbaijan underlined his potential on his way to sixth in the championship. He had a first taste of F1 machinery with Haas at the end of last year and now finds himself firmly embedded with the American-owned F1 team and Ferrari, performing development and reserve roles this campaign.

Formula 3 talents

Each of the top five from last year’s F3 standings have made the step into F2 – champion Gabriel Bortoleto, runner-up Zak O’Sullivan, Paul Aron, Franco Colapinto and Pepe Marti.

Brazilian Bortoleto was a convincing champion but it remains to be seen exactly what he will achieve as an F2 rookie. Only fourteen points separated the remaining four drivers listed, so picking the most likely star of that contingent is as much luck as it is expert scouting.

There are also established drivers waiting for their chance having already proven their worth in the junior catagories.

Liam Lawson performed admirably in his five Grands Prix substituting for Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri last season and although picking up points wasn’t enough to secure a seat for the upcoming campaign, it is likely the New Zealander will feature in F1 again.

Reigning F2 champion Théo Pourchaire has been a part of Sauber’s set-up for many years having broken through in the junior categories as a 16-year-old but, with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu remaining with the team as it transitions to Stake F1, the Frenchman has been left to transfer to Super Formula to continue his development.

So despite achieving positive results in F2 and [or] being part of a driver academy, there is no guarantee a spot in F1 awaits. Commercial matters can also play a role and, as Piastri demonstrated through his Alpine-McLaren contract saga, sometimes patience is the key.

The upcoming F2 season will reveal a lot about who can continue on their quest to F1.


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