F1 2020 Reserve Drivers: Paul di Resta is the latest former F1 driver who has made a comeback as a reserve driver, but who else is eligible?
Paul di Resta has made a comeback to Formula, albeit in a reserve driver role for the McLaren team. Just last weekend, fellow former Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg made a sensational comeback to F1, replacing Sergio Perez in his Racing Point.
With Vandoorne racing Formula E and Gutierrez not currently in possession of a super licence, McLaren has lined up Paul di Resta as its reserve driver if needed at any stage this weekend – he has had a seat fit and will be at Silverstone for Sky Sports #F1
— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) August 5, 2020
Apart from this, Robert Kubica, a veteran F1 racer with almost 100 Grands Prix starts, is also the reserve driver for Alfa Romeo. As for Esteban Gutierrez, he is listed as the reserve driver for Mercedes, McLaren and Racing Point, but cannot race in F1 as his superlicense is not active.
The FIA’s International Sporting Code allows for a superlicense only to drivers who have raced in F1 at least once in the last three seasons. If not, then he has to complete 300 kms of testing within six months of the licence application. Gutierrez last raced in Formula One for American constructor Haas in 2016, making him ineligible for the superlicense.
Apart from Gutierrez, Nico Rosberg, Felipe Nasr, Rio Haryanto and Sebastien Buemi, are some notable drivers who currently don’t have a superlicense. On the other hand, there are former drivers currently eligible for a superlicense, and we have listed it down.
Jenson Button – Last race: Monaco 2017
Formula 1 champion with Brawn, Jenson Button last competed as a full-time driver with McLaren in 2016. This would have made him ineligible, but he substituted for Fernando Alonso in the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix. The Brit has since focused on Super GT, and his tried his hand in Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship. Currently doing punditry for Sky, don’t rule out a sensational return for the 2009 Formula 1 world champion.
Jolyon Palmer – Last race: Japan 2017
Jolyon Palmer last raced in Formula 1 for Renault in the 2017 season. The Brit is now a notable motorsport commentator and columnist. He works with the BBC and also writes insightful pieces for the official F1 app. Like Paul di Resta, he could be called in as a reserve driver, if an urgent need arises.
Pascal Wehrlein – Last race: Abu Dhabi 2017
Pascal Wehrlein is a German-Mauritian racer, holding nationality of both, but races under the German flag. He has raced in Formula 1 for MRT and lastly for Sauber in 2017. He was racing in Formula E for the Indian team Mahindra Racing, but quit them in June this year. Pascal has ties with Ferrari as a development driver, and could yet his F1 career getting back on track.
Stoffel Vandoorne – Last race: Abu Dhabi 2018
The Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne last raced in F1 in the 2018 Abu Dhabi GP for McLaren. Since then, he has switched his focus to Formula E. He currently races for the Mercedes-Benq EQ Formula E Team. Stoffel is also a reserve driving option for Mercedes, Racing Point and McLaren. He should be available for Formula 1 after his Formula E commitments are done with.
Marcus Ericsson – Last race: Abu Dhabi 2018
The Swedish driver has raced in Formula 1 for Sauber, and also its successor Alfa Romeo. His last race with Alfa Romeo was the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Ericsson was the official reserve driver for the team last season, and also did testing for them in Austria. He has since been replaced by the veteran Polish driver Robert Kubica, who has been doing practice sessions this season. He is currently racing in the IndyCar Series for the Honda team.