Which feeder series drivers deserve an F1 chance?

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Only one new driver – Nicholas Latifi – arrived in Formula 1 this year. But we could see a few more in 2021.

The curtain has already come down on the Formula 3 season, while the Formula 2 championship will be decided over four final races in Bahrain.

More than one F1 team has indicated it is giving serious consideration to at least one rookie driver for next year. But which ones most deserve a promotion?

The requirements of the FIA superlicence points system, governing which drivers are allowed to race in Formula 1, have been relaxed for the coming season in response to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless many drivers in the lower categories may not yet qualify for an F1 seat.

Regardless of that restriction, which drivers from the two lower categories would you most like to see in F1 in the near future?

I say

Tsunoda has shone in F2
It’s been a curious season in Formula 2, demonstrated by the fact that with four races left there are still eight drivers who can theoretically take the title. No one has broken clear of the pack, partly because of the unusually high rate of technical failures seen in this one-make, single-specification series.

The top two in the championship, Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott, have had decent years so far. But given their experience have either stood out as obvious talents of the future in the way Charles Leclerc or George Russell did?

Not really, and though there’s still time for them to produce something special in the final four races, the likelihood is one of them will already be named as an F1 driver by then (most likely Schumacher, at Haas).

The picture is mixed among the rookie crop too. Robert Shwartzman started the season very strongly, but has faded, and now trails Red Bull junior Yuki Tsunoda and Renault’s Christian Lundgaard. In many respects it’s Tsunoda who’s most out-performed expectations this year, particularly given the fact it’s only his second year of racing in (predominantly) European competitions.

Given Prema’s domination of F3, it was little surprise to see two of their drivers in the hunt for the title at the final round, and one of them walking away with the silverware. Logan Sargeant had a strong mid-season but a disastrous title run-in saw him take just one top-20 finish from the last four races (a sixth place), scuppering his championship prospects.

His Prema team mate Oscar Piastri therefore clinched thee crown after a season which saw two wins and a lot of consistent points-gathering. But Sauber-backed Theo Pourchaire, who only turned 17 in August, marked himself out as a future star with a pair of wins plus five podiums over the final six races, which nearly denied Piastri the crown.

You say

Which of these drivers do you think have shown they deserve to race in Formula 1? Pick as many as you like, and explain your choices in the comments.

Which feeder series drivers do you think deserve to race in F1?

  • Andreas Estner (0%)
  • Sophia Floersch (3%)
  • Alessio Deledda (0%)
  • Alex Peroni (1%)
  • Cameron Das (0%)
  • Leonardo Pulcini (0%)
  • Ben Barnicoat (0%)
  • Enaam Ahmed (0%)
  • Clement Novalak (0%)
  • Michael Belov (0%)
  • David Schumacher (0%)
  • Igor Fraga (0%)
  • Roman Stanek (0%)
  • Matteo Nannini (0%)
  • Federico Malvestiti (0%)
  • Calan Williams (0%)
  • Lukas Dunner (0%)
  • Bent Viscaal (1%)
  • Richard Verschoor (1%)
  • Jack Doohan (0%)
  • Enzo Fittipaldi (0%)
  • Olli Caldwell (0%)
  • David Beckmann (1%)
  • Lirim Zendeli (0%)
  • Sebastian Fernandez (0%)
  • Alexander Smolyar (0%)
  • Theo Pourchaire (3%)
  • Dennis Hauger (0%)
  • Liam Lawson (1%)
  • Pierre-Louis Chovet (0%)
  • Max Fewtrell (0%)
  • Logan Sargeant (2%)
  • Frederik Vesti (1%)
  • Oscar Piastri (4%)
  • Luca Ghiotto (1%)
  • Nikita Mazepin (1%)
  • Marino Sato (0%)
  • Roy Nissany (0%)
  • Robert Shwartzman (11%)
  • Mick Schumacher (17%)
  • Jake Hughes (1%)
  • Artem Markelov (1%)
  • Felipe Drugovich (1%)
  • Giuliano Alesi (0%)
  • Nobuharu Matsushita (1%)
  • Pedro Piquet (0%)
  • Louis Deletraz (1%)
  • Guilherme Samaia (0%)
  • Jack Aitken (2%)
  • Jehan Daruvala (0%)
  • Yuki Tsunoda (14%)
  • Christian Lundgaard (6%)
  • Marcus Armstrong (1%)
  • Callum Ilott (13%)
  • Guanyu Zhou (6%)
  • Dan Ticktum (2%)
  • Juri Vips (3%)
  • Sean Gelael (0%)

Total Voters: 183

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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46 comments on “Which feeder series drivers deserve an F1 chance?”

  1. I don’t know enough about all drivers listed, so I went for Mick, Illot, Tsunoda, and Lundgaard, the first four in the F2 standings at present.

  2. I’m not a fan of a ‘feeder series’ I’m a fan of sourcing the best talent from where ever they can be found.

    1. @johnrkh interestingly I’m a huge fan of feeder series for exactly the same reason you’re against them – I want the best talent, and feeder series provides a great way to both show off their talent against others, but also provide some element of training so that when they make the transition to F1 they are in the best position possible

      1. @minnis Fair enough, so F1 super licenses should be open to all forms of Motor sport if they can prove skilled enough? Obviously there would need to be a minimum level, because I understand it’s called F1 for a reason.

        1. Super License points can be earned from WEC, DTM, GT3 so quite a range.

        2. @johnrkh there is the argument that Patco puts forward that quite a wide range of series can contribute towards superlicence points, and thus the sport is open to people from other forms of motorsport.

          Currently, the list of series which grant the holder superlicence points is as follows:
          Formula 2
          Formula 3 (national and international series)
          Formula 4
          Formula E
          WEC (LMP1, LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am categories)
          European Le Mans Series
          IMSA (Prototype and GT categories)
          Indy Lights
          Super Formula
          Toyota Racing Series
          International GT3 racing series (e.g. SRO organised series)
          Asian Le Mans Series
          World Karting Series
          Formula Renault Eurocup
          World Touring Car Cup
          Formula Mazda

          That is a fairly wide cross section of the motorsport base that does contribute superlicence points.

          1. How many point does NASCAR give and how many in the field qualify for a Super License at the moment? It might seem strange, but theoretically it could make sense for someone to transition for commercial reasons, if it’s one round somewhere that helps ‘pull a stunt’.

            I can’t see Liberty being averse to it, big sponsors, Netflix, the driver saves face by saying ‘there were too many right handers’, and “Lewis would be at the back of the field at Bristol Motor Speedway’.

            Might sound ridiculous, but with money, and how F1 Teams need it, Andre Lotterer did it (to minimal attention), what would stop a NASCAR driver doing it, other than Super License points?

            There could be a conversation at HAAS about dropping either driving and letting someone film Kyle Busch and watching him ‘have a go’ for the last few rounds, nobody would be embarrassed if he didn’t do very well (it’s arguably the slowest car anyway), but if he did well, they’d have something on tape and a story, it’d be fun, he has the required super license points, of course it’s a completely different discipline, but the story of whatever would happen is surely more interesting than someone broke Gunthers’ door.

          2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIA_Super_Licence

            I’m not sure whether it is accurate, but here is a table about how many points are these series awarding.
            I would give a wider time interval (window) from which the results of a driver can be taken into account, to
            smooth out some bad seasons, because there are some not-so-well-running teams even at F2 and that can be a bit unfair to some drivers.

            On the other hand I agree, there are many series, and many lower series are awarding a lot of points. I would make the points system a bit more head-heavy (to filter out some pay drivers who earned the points via being a midfield driver for years in a weaker series). Probably it would be good have some requirements for the tiers comparable to F2 and F3, to have a bit less paydrivers and more talents.

            If a team really want to promote a well backed driver of them, the free practice outings can award him a good amount of points as well, so the system is a bit restrictive, but not that much, many talents are quite close to eligibility after their first F3 seasons. While there is so few seats in F1, so if someone is not a super obvious talent, maybe will never have a chance even after some decent or even better F2 career, for example Nyck de Vries is quite rarely mentioned even if sometimes it’s about looking for a stand-in nowadays. One of the most incredible jumps is the story of Kimi, who got into F1 from Formula Juniors. When he was a rookie, I knew about it, and then apparently I had forgot it, and I was a bit astonished to relearn it :)

            Basically (and according to this table), if someone has results like this:
            – F4 season with 3rd at final standings : 7 points
            – a national F3 season with 3rd at final standings : 5 points
            – an F3 Asian / Americas Championship with 3rd at final standings : 12 points
            then will have 24 points, what is not so low, considering that person is before having a full season in world level of F3, with 24 points and some free practice outings one is not far from F1’s superlicense points requirements. On the other hand I find the time interval for gathering the points a bit narrow (3 years), so that’s why I would like to have a slightly wider window, but with slightly more head heavy scoring system.

            One can even gather some points at high tiers of karting. The likes of DTM, LMP, WTCR, and Super GT are awarding a lot of points as well, but they are not the usual routes towards F1 for the youngsters, they are more like of an adult series than a feeder series.

            So I like that there are a bit less paydrivers around now, but, that’s partially due to the higher and higher costs, and the extinction of the indie-like entrants. So the current output of this system is makeing some hot talents around F2 or F3 to wait for something like an additional year, while F1 can’t offer a seat to some proven ones from F2, or from some “not almost exclusively feeder series”.

          3. @bernasaurus in principle, a NASCAR Cup driver can earn up to 15 points towards a superlicence per year, with the caveat that it does rely on the series holding all road course races on FIA certified tracks.

            Realistically, one likely reason is that, for the most high profile NASCAR drivers, it is probably much more profitable for them to stay in that series and to capitalise on their popularity in that series.

            Jockey Ewing, even under the regulations at the time, Kimi wasn’t originally eligible for a superlicence. Peter Sauber had to obtain special dispensation from the FIA under a clause that allowed drivers who had covered sufficient mileage in testing to obtain a superlicence (with Max Mosely initially considering rejecting the application from Sauber).

          4. You left Red Bull Soap Box Derby off the list for super license points. Not sure why NASCAR is on the list as there is no way NASCAR is an approximation of other car racing.

  3. I have been following F2/GP2 series for years and I have to say that it’s the first time that there are so many talented drivers on the grid. All of the “well known” names, Ilott, Schumacher, Shwartzman, Lungaard, Tsunoda could easily be in a F1 team. I won’t talk for a) Vips, because I haven’t seen much from him and b) Markelov, for who I believe that he already should have been given a chance to be in F1 but I don’t see that happening now.

    But I’ll go with the driver that overall has impressed me the most. Old school driver, pure racer, “I don’t care for tyres, I’ll go for the gap, I’ll try from the inside, I’ll try from the outside, until I make it stick”. He is just a pleasure to watch and he has offered some spectacular moments this year. So, on pure racing terms, for me he is a couple of steps ahead from the rest of the field. His name? Guanyu Zhou.

    1. +1 He’s been a bit unlucky at times and I think his qualifying lets him down, but whenever he’s on screen, he always seems to be doing something that earns him a tick in my book. (Contrast that with Dan Ticktum, whose every appearance is either comically bad or just plain unpleasant – can we have another survey for drivers that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near an F1 cockpit? I’m thinking Ticktum, Gelael, Nissany).

      1. Dan Ticktum has Max Verstappen’s personality without the talent

          1. @f1-fan I have to agree, in the whole I think it’s a very talented field and none of the top 10 would be ‘unworthy’ of an F1 seat, but I find myself watching Zhou more than anyone, if Renault give him a second year in F2 i’d be happy (he’s unlikely to be promoted anywhere obviously). He’s the most exciting to watch, and as much as he’s unpredictable, so is everyone in F2 this season.

            I’ve enjoyed more than watching F2 more than F1 this season, and I don’t think i’m alone in that argument.

      2. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t love to see ocon and ticktum butt heads at haas in three years

  4. Too soon yeah, but I voted Jack Doohan because Mick Doohan.

  5. Where’s Mahaveer Raghunathan? He should be in the list 😁

    1. The man. The icon. A driver so good he once passed the chequered flag twice, which is coincidentally the number of race bans he received that season, a season in which he also had to be helped to do a three-point turn. May his legend live on.

    2. The Legend himself
      I’m actually offended he’s not being mentioned

  6. Not sure about Schumacher but if he wins the title he deserves a chance, can’t argue with that. From F2, Tsunoda is the one who stands out for me. Ilott? Not convinced. He’s been unbelievably lucky this year – I think he’s been handed 3 pole positions by yellow flags ruining everyone else’s laps, for example. Schwartzman, we shall have to see – not sure he’s aggressive enough. Lundgaard has been very impressive on occasion but has also had some anonymous weekends. From F3, Pourchaire is the one who stands out.

  7. I went for Schumacher because even if he isn’t the most talented, he seems to have the right mindset and be able to work hard to achieve success. Rightly or wrongly, his dad’s legacy makes him an even more attractive propsect to teams, so there is no point denying him a chance to prove himself in F1 now.

    Tsunoda was the other one I went for, since his talent seems to be starting to shine through. It’s difficult to judge though whether either of them would succeed in F1, or if those who have faded slightly in F2 would not still excel in F1.

  8. There are quite a few drivers in F2 and F3 at the moment who I think deserve to have a run in an F1 car at some point, these include Vips, Zhou, Armstrong, Lungaard, Tsunoda, Schumacher, Schwartzman, Illot, Piastri, Sargeant and Pourchaire. Each of these have, at some point, looked like the real deal over the last season.

    But for the moment, I think Schumacher, Illot, Zhou and Tsunoda are the ones I’d most like to see find a spot on the F1 grid.

  9. I saw Theo Pourchaire in the list, and while he’s a hot prospect, it is too soon for him to make the jump. I will follow him closely in the next years, hopefully he will join the F1 grid in the future.

  10. In my opinion the drivers this year are good, talented but not the “without a shadow if a doubt” type.
    What I mean is that you see them performing well like on a few occasions but they aren’t mentioned week in week out
    I allude to Charles Leclerc; in his last season in F2 he left the rest of the field in his wake
    The subsequent year we had the Russel-Norris group and so far they are great fits at their respective teams and no one doubts their talent
    Maybe the talent pool is really good this year making it really competitive but personally as a Ferrari fan I don’t feel for Mick the same way I felt for Leclerc
    However I think that if Michael was in great health he would’ve done to Mick what Jos did to Max and he would’ve probably been a “without a shadow of a doubt” taleng

    1. I think I’d put Pourchaire and Arthur Leclerxc in the “maybe a supertalent, let’s give them one or two years at the top feeder series to be sure” basket. (Maybe with Piastri and Sargeant)

  11. I love to see Sargeant in an F1 car. Hopefully, he may get help from Williams after US investors took over the team. at the same time, it is very sad that the Williams family had to go.

    It is also unfair that the Indy Lights series does not allow to send their best drivers into F1. they will require to head out overseas. And the scholarship money is only for 3 Indy car events. And they need more than 15 points. But the small grid they have, it is unlikely. Indy Pro 2000 should get a chance for FIA superlicense points.

    Another driver who deserves an F1 ride is Kaylen frederick. He just became the 1st US driver to win the British Formula 3 series title. But for him to compete in the FIA F3 series, he will have to increase his budget, and find additional sponsors. We hope some teams are willing to invest on Frederick. He is a driver too good to pass up.

  12. I went with Illot and Lundgaard, but in all honesty none of them have stood out.

    I think Mick Schumacher would benefit from another year in F2, a lot of his points have come from the sprint races, when he started in the first two rows because of mediocre feature races, it is only in the last few races he has improved.
    But I am sure he will be promoted into F1, mainly on the strength of his name.

    And his cousin will be fortunate to go beyond F3 unless he improves 200%.

  13. I feel like the champion should be the one getting the chance to drive. The Superlicense points are not fairly distributed, especially when a lower series allows you to gain more points than Indycar. Or when WSBR 3.5 was on an equal level to GP2/F2 and the FIA basically downgraded WSBR 3.5 by making it worth less Superlicense points.
    Another issue is that drivers are allowed to clog up series like F2 for a long long time because of their financial backing rather than quality.
    Maybe there should be semi-Superlicense points put in place or a limit of say 3 years in F2. If you have not achieved a top 3 finish in the standings by year 3, move on.
    Drivers like Gelael or now Markelov clog up the path for good talent to move up.
    F2 shouldn’t be a career. It is a stepping stone and a test if you are worthy of a seat in F1. Sadly, drivers with the talent had to rely too much on the support of others (Red Bull) just to lose their Backing and never to get a chance to prove themselves.

    1. @us-brian Journeymen can work sometimes, like Ghiotto has this year in Hitech, I think Mazepin has greatly benefited from having him as a teammate. Or Jordan King in MP last year with his teammate Raghu…never mind.

  14. Schumacher, Ilott & Tsunoda are probably the strongest candidates from what I can see. Zhou’s not bad either, and Shwartzman could do with one more year I think.

    1. Pretty close to what I put, though I’ve not been able to watch much of the F2 to really gauge the talent. I noticed Lukas Dunner on the list but not Yifei Ye, who spanked everyone including Dunner in this year’s Euroformula. Not that I’d expect to see any of that tier go into F1 yet, but Ye is evidently one to keep an eye on.

  15. There would be several from IndyCar that could do well. I’m sure they’d rather have a chance to win than drive around at the back of the field in a slow car in F1 though.

  16. I think the distribution of the votes is quite honest, and representative right now. It’s probably because there are too many options to choose from to have a biased or distorted output as a statistics.
    And now I read the “I say” section, because of course I’m interested in it.

    1. Although the output of the poll seems a bit more about “who will be in F1” instead of about “who deserves to be in F1”, but it’s still quite accurate. I’d like to see a bit higher percentage at Shwartzman and Tsunoda. Lundgaard had very nice consistency, very nice from a rookie, I think it’s something like a bad run of luck from mid-season, and he is likely to show more later.

      About the outcome of the championship, I think Schumacher has nice chances for winning now, as Ilott was good and impressively consistent, but he scored a bit too much midfield finishes, so I think his tendency is likely to continue at this season, and that can be comforting to Mick as the others are a bit far. I have to admit, I have followed others more than Ilott, so it would be improper to me to judge him more than this. I think Shwartzman had less luck then Schumacher, and not really throwed away more than Schumacher, who threw it away at a few times in the first third of the season, so Shwartzman should be higher on the scoreboard than his current position, while Schumacher at about maxed out himself yet.

      I like Tsunoda’s performance yet, he had some bad luck at the start of the season, so he could be higher on the scoreboard. From the middle of the season he had some incidents, these are the only disappointing points to me yet. But he has fire, and I would like to see this fire in F1. I think he, Shwartzman, and Lundgaard has some potential to pull off some kind hot run for a crazy finish of the championship, while Schumacher and Ilott had at about maxed themselves out yet. I wish them good luck and a nice fight for the remaining races!

  17. I’m not too sure about this years F2 drivers. At the start of the season I had high hopes of Armstrong and Schwartzman, but in the end they did not really deliver. Tsunoda was a nice surprise with some very good races, but is not very consistent at the moment. Nevertheless I expect he will get a seat in Alpha Tauri, which is good, as long as he gets the time to learn.
    Schumacher did better than I expected after his very mediocre first year. At least he showed he can be very consistent. Just like in F3 he needed one and a half year to raise his game. Maybe he just needs a bit more time than the average supertalent, but I do not expect him to grow beyond a steady midfield performer.

  18. Why is tsunoda that much more highly rated than daruvala, I often see them share the same tarmac

    1. Tsunoda has 147 points while Daruvala only has 36 points as of this moment. Tsunoda has won 2 races, has claimed 2 pole positions and is currently in 3rd place in the standings. While Daruvala hasn’t even been on the podium.

  19. I voted on the basis of what they have shown, not whether they deserve it or have earned it. Vips is my stand out for the future.

  20. I went with the top 4 of F2 (and Zhou). They are all good enough for f1 I believe. I believe the top 3 of F2 need one more year but I am really excited to see Pourchaire in f2 next year. (The next two races won’t teach us much). Also Piastri seems very exciting too.

    I also added Ghiotto. He was ready when he was fighting Occon and I believe he is still doing very well, winning races every year no matter which team he is running for. To me he is at the moment the Italian who could be in f1 if Giovinazzi came to leave. (But probably not world champion material, but you could say the same of all of F2 guys bar maybe lundgard to be honest)

  21. Schumacher is one of the drivers who deserves a shot in Formula 1.
    He is not brilliant, he is not an extraordinary one, but he has shown that he learns from his mistakes. He takes his time but he moves forward, which is perhaps much more important than what other drivers have shown who may show up in a race but then make unforgivable mistakes.
    Obviously being the son of Michael is a double-edged sword: on the one hand it has undoubtedly helped him to have a good car in the categories in which he races, and there will always be sponsors / vultures interested in financing his career.
    On the other hand, during each day of his career he will not be able to avoid being compared to his father and it is obviously difficult to think that he will have such a successful career.
    But…who knows?

  22. The not so obvious, Linus Lundqvist, racing the pants of everyone in the F3 americas, winning 15 out of 17 races. He is not swimming in money though, so it will be interesting to see how far talent will take him.

  23. I voted for Robert Shwartzman, Yuki Tsunoda, Guanyu Zhou and – because he impressed me so much in F3 – Theo Pourchaire, although skipping a stint in F2 would probably not be good for the young French driver. These drivers were the most exciting to watch from my point of view. They may not lead in the points, but their great driving and daring passes were what got my heart racing.

    And I’d like to mention Nyck de Vries who is not on the list because he’s already racing in Formula E but I think it’s a crying shame he’s not in F1. Very exciting driver to watch race.

    1. Ooh, and I almost forgot: if you want the champion of moaners to race in F1 in order to increase the hilarity of radio message coverage, then you should vote for Liam Lawson.

  24. Arthur Leclerc is showing great skills in the regional euro series, you get superlicence points for that I think.
    He had a great performance in the wet recently that made me think he could have what it takes.

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