F1 2020: We look at 3 young racers who could fill in the gaps in several teams across the paddock. Callum Illot, Marcus Armstrong and female driver Jamie Chadwick.
With F1’s bonafide Ice Man Kimi Raikkonen set to retire this year after his second season with Alfa Romeo, a slot has opened up there for rookie drivers to fill in. Add to that the possibility of a Sebastian Vettel sabbatical after his final season with Ferrari.
Apart from Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, slots are expected to open at Red Bull, Renault, Racing Point, Alpha Tauri, Haas and Williams. This presents a lot of fresh, rookie drivers down the pecking order to stake a claim to be in the main team.
Apart from Renault, which might get back the veteran Fernando Alonso, all the other vacancies could be filled by young blood. Let us look at 3 such young drivers who could (and should) get the career-changing appraisal:
The 21-year-old British driver has quite a resume to his name. He was one of the most successful karting drivers of his generation. Currently, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, he races in F2 with the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz. He was also a former member of the Red Bull Junior Team.
He started racing in European F3 in the year 2015 with Team Carlin, at the tender age of 16. During this period, he tested F3 machinery to build experience for it. He also tested in the Formula Renault 2.0.
He joined Prema Powerteam for the F3 2017 season. His impressive showing led to the Ferrari Driver Academy picking him up.
He has also tested for Alfa Romeo and is in contention to take a spot there. Other options include Renault and Alpha Tauri. And who knows, if he really impresses at the highest level, he may end up in the red of Ferrari, fulfilling his dream.
The teenage Kiwi Driver is one of the hottest properties in the FIA F2 circuit and is expected to race at the highest level. He started karting from the age of 9 at his hometown of Christchurch.
In 2016, the impressive teenager was invited by Ferrari Driver Academy to join their ranks. The same year, he won 3 races in the Toyota Racing Series and finished fourth overall for the season.
In 2017, he signed for the well-acclaimed Prema Powerteam and won the Italian F4 championship. The following season, he raced in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
He currently competes in the F2 Championship for ART Grand Prix. If he does make a switch to F1, the strongest team contenders are the likes of Haas and Williams.
No woman has raced in a Formula One GP since the 1970s. And Jamie Chadwick is hopeful of changing that. She has had quite a sensational journey so far.
The British driver won the female-only W Series last year. Apart from this, at the age of 17, she was the first woman and youngest driver to win the British GT Championship. In 2018, she became the first woman and youngest racer to win a British Formula Three race.
The 22-year-old will now compete in the regional Formula 3 starting this August, with the aim of rising up to the International F3 and F2 grids. The Williams F1 development driver has joined the F3 Prema Powerteam for this purpose.
If she indeed gets the Williams F1 seat in 2021, she will become the first female driver to compete in a Formula 1 race since Lella Lombardi in 1976.