What single-seater drivers not in F1 deserve a chance at a grand prix debut? · RaceFans – RaceFans

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18th September 2022, 9:0018th September 2022, 12:25 | Written by
With Nyck de Vries making an unexpected debut appearance at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza stepping in for the unwell Alexander Albon, the 2019 Formula 2 champion became only the second rookie to race in Formula 1 this year after Zhou Guanyu.

Places in F1 remain very limited with only 20 seats up to be filled each season. Competition over those precious few seats remains extremely high, with drivers across multiple championship vying to get into the handful of available seats that remain unfilled heading into the 2023 season.
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It may be mid-September, but both Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 championship titles have already been awarded – to Felipe Drugovich and Victor Martins, respectively. The IndyCar Series champion for 2022 has also been crowned and while the W Series title still remains mathematically undecided, it will take a major intervention to prevent Jamie Chandwick from her third successive championship in the series.
That leaves only the Japanese Super Formula title as the last championship that has been the final stepping stone to Formula 1 for drivers in recent years still to be decided, with Tomoki Nojiri holding a very strong advantage heading into the final double-header at Suzuka at the end of October.
So with all five series almost decided for 2022 and the F1 silly season at its peak, there is no better time for RaceFans readers to have your say on which drivers you currently feel deserve to have a chance at racing in Formula 1. Using the poll below, have your say on which drivers from this year’s Formula 2, FIA F3, IndyCar, Super Formula and W Series championships you think are deserving of a chance to race in Formula 1 next year.
After weeks of controversy over Colton Herta’s eligibility for a superlicence have led to criticism of the FIA system, all drivers from all five series will be listed regardless of their current superlicence points allocations. Any drivers who have already raced in Formula 1 – such as Kamui Kobayashi, Alexander Rossi or Romain Grosjean – are omitted from the list, as is Oscar Piastri due to him being confirmed at McLaren for next season.
It’s fitting that the one driver not currently in F1 who clearly deserves an opportunity to race at the highest level – last year’s Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri – has secured a place on the F1 grid in 2023 even in controversial circumstances.
Newly-crowned F2 champion Felipe Drugovich certainly appears to have made an impression with Aston Martin, who have set up their own driver development programme to secure his services for the year ahead. While some may not feel that Drugovich has made quite as strong an impact over his three years in the category like previous champions such as Piastri, George Russell or Charles Leclerc have, it’s easy to feel that every Formula 2 champion is at least deserving of a handful of races in Formula 1, simply by virtue of winning the sport’s main feeder series.
Despite a poor round in Monza, Theo Pourchaire is still in with a strong chance of securing second in the F2 championship. At the age of just 19, Pourchaire already has almost two years of Formula 2 experience under his belt, with three wins already added to his tally in 2022. The Sauber junior driver has remarkable potential which could be realised by an opportunity at the highest level.
Beyond Formula 2, it’s clear that Colton Herta is the most outstanding young American driver currently on the IndyCar roster. With the endorsement of many of his peers in the series and multiple F1 teams having taking him into consideration for 2023, only his superlicence points prevent him from qualifying for what would otherwise be an almost assured shot at Formula 1.
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 Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, IndyCar, Super Formula or W Series drivers deserve to race in Formula 1?
Total Voters: 80
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Danny (@denny)
18th September 2022, 9:18
From F3 most talented are: Franco Colapinto, Arthur Leclerc and Ollie Bermam.
F2: Theo Pourchaire, Jack Doohan, Felipe Drugovich
Indycar:Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Christian Lundgaard
F1 should make 2 day test at the end of the year in Abu Dhabi for drivers who teams thinks they have a chance to perform on high level in F1.
trib4udi (@trib4udi)
18th September 2022, 13:02
Arthur? He is already 21y old and in his 3rd season in F3. Not impressive at all
wsrgo (@wsrgo)
18th September 2022, 9:29
Such a weirdly designed poll…not sure if it’s the right idea to throw in all the names in these championships in alphabetical order and expect us to go through the entire list and see which ones are worthy. Also not sure why F3 and W Series drivers are on this list if the question is just for 2023 (as it seems to be from the article and the ‘I Say’ section where only F2 and Indy are mentioned), since those drivers are likely not going to be ready for the step up to F1 next year, in this streamlined junior ladder.
Jere (@jerejj)
18th September 2022, 9:38
Choosing proved difficult, so initially, I was solely going for Drugovich (the only one who stands out in both F2 & overall), but ultimately added others to have more than only one.
The other choices are Power, Nojiri, & Chadwick, mostly Series champions/likely champions, with the remaining IndyCar top five (Newgarden, Dixon, McLaughlin, Palou) as honorable mentions.
Other mention-worthy drivers are Fenestraz & perhaps also Hirakawa from SF.
The rest among the drivers listed above don’t stand out enough for proper consideration, not even Pouchaire, despite possibly finishing 2nd in the F2 standings.
spoutnik (@spoutnik)
18th September 2022, 10:37
@jerejj That’s a very sensible reasoning. I also kept Drugovitch solely initially because I don’t know enough about indycar and superformula to judge and think people like Martins and Chadwick should step up in F2. I would ideally only take championship winners as I like the idea of F1 being a race of champions but if there is not enough people maybe the first three of other championships could be taken into consideration.
Another question aldo would be which current F1 drivers could be replaced by someone in this list. Latifi, Stroll, Tsunoda, maybe Schumacher?
Jere (@jerejj)
18th September 2022, 13:19
Stroll & Tsunoda are definitely safe, but the other two aren’t, or one isn’t & the other is somewhat under threat.
bernasaurus (@bernasaurus)
18th September 2022, 9:50
I just think Scott McLaughlin would be fun. He’s obviously very adaptable. Imagine if he was successful? What a story that would be! He’s still only 29, but of course very unlikely to happen.
Will Wood (@willwood)
18th September 2022, 10:27
@bernasaurus I think McLaughlin would be fascinating. His transition from Supercars to IndyCar has been incredibly impressive, so I’d love to know how he would fare in F1.
Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
18th September 2022, 9:58
Far fewer than are eligible.
Will Wood (@willwood)
18th September 2022, 10:28
@proesterchen But who would you like to see get a chance in F1? That’s what I’m interested to find out!
Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
18th September 2022, 11:50
Quite frankly, there’s no one on that list as far as I’m aware that deserves a Formula 1 seat at this moment.
There are a few up-and-coming talents that might earn that status in the next year or two, but none of those who have finished their junior careers (made it to F2 or Indycar) has shown to be the generational talent that would warrant that status.
Cause that’s what I’m personally looking for in a young driver: generational talents that will fight for Championships given reasonably competitive machinery.
I don’t particularly care for the next Alesi, Trulli, Bottas or the like, all good drivers no doubt, all with long careers in Formula 1, but not generational talents, not ultimately deserving of anything re: F1.
Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
18th September 2022, 11:51
May I compliment the comment system for turning Championships into Champions-hips? Tip of the hat! 🤣
chimaera2003 (@chimaera2003)
18th September 2022, 14:40
@proesterchen The natural follow up question to that would be how many of the existing F1 drivers match your criteria as you have set a very high bar?
If “generational talents that will fight for Championships given reasonably competitive machinery” is the yardstick then only maybe between 6-8 current drivers meet this.
I think that if you had to choose the 20 best available drivers on talent alone then some of the drivers on the list will need to be chosen.
Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
18th September 2022, 18:01
@chimaera2003 I’d say it’s even fewer.
Of the current generation, there are two confirmed outstanding talents, Max and Charles, plus another potential in Lando, and one that seems to do a Massa, almost but not quite hitting that level, so far – George.
Of the outgoing generation, there are Lewis and Fernando, both with a bit of a question mark (Fernando probably more than Lewis), and I can only hope Seb has talked to Helmut and Christian about getting a day in the RB sim after his contract has run out if only to find out where he really stands.
The rest to me are just making up the numbers, and as a result, I’m not particularly interested in who’s keeping those seats warm. If you replaced any of the current drivers with say Nyck de Vries or Felipe Draguvich, I suspect nothing much would change, and few would even notice.
Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
18th September 2022, 10:01
It’s super-silly to me to include “W Series” or any of its drivers as an option.
That is a Formula 4 level competition with much of the field still unable to extract anywhere near full performance from the machinery.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
18th September 2022, 10:15
Would you be able to adjust the poll so the percentage is the number of votes for that driver divided by the total number of voters, rather than by the total number of votes as people can vote for more than one driver? I think that would make it a little clearer.
Taking it to mean, deserve a chance in 2023, rather than sometime in the future, I chose Drugovich and Pourchaire. I think Arthur Leclerc has a lot of potential but he would not be ready for next year.
18th September 2022, 12:34
I agree.
(And if the percentage is not possible please show total votes)
Nerrticus (@nerrticus)
18th September 2022, 19:11
I also endorse this idea. Or have a separate article breaking the results down (to include total votes).
shadow13 (@shadow13)
18th September 2022, 10:20
I actually think this years F2 grid is a bit lack in potential F1 talent. I put Drugovich and Pouchaire down as I think they probably deserve a chance due to being 1st and 2nd but I don’t really expect either to be great.
In F3 the only driver who I’ve seen as a definite star is Bearman. A few other drivers such as Leclerc and Martins looks solid but it’s too early to say they’re going to make it to F1.
In IndyCar there’s maybe 5-6 drivers that could race in F1 but I’ve only included Palou, O’Ward and Herta as they’re the young drivers in IndyCar that could make it in F1. I think all 3 of these would make good F1 drivers.
W series – unfortunately it’s very hard to judge the talent level here at the moment. Let’s see Chadwick in F3 next season with a good team. Then if she flops it kind of indicates the standard in W series isn’t great. If she dominates F3 then maybe we’re all undervaluing some of the other drivers.
Super Formula – I don’t follow so haven’t picked any.
18th September 2022, 10:49
Lol, I knew before even seeing the pole that overly-emotional people on here would’ve thrust Chadwick into a front running position.
Ciaran (@ciaran)
18th September 2022, 11:31
Indycar: Castroneves, Dixon, Palau, O’Ward, Herta, Newgarden, Pagenaud, Power, Rahal
Super Formula: Yamamoto, Nojiri, Hirakawa
F2: Drugovich, Pourchaire, Doohan, Sargeant
There’s a lot of Indycar drivers I know, but it’s a quality series and we need to see how at least some of them fare! Some F3 drivers and Jamie Chadwick have been impressive also, but I feel F2 is still needed to test them. See Dennis Hauger – a lot of people who expected him to storm F2 after winning F3 have been sorely disappointed.
F2 has some other drivers I’m impressed by – Iwasa and Fittipaldi have done better than expected for example in their rookie seasons – but Doohan and Sargent have been simply better.
A suggestion I’d make for future polls is maybe grouping the drivers by their racing series, then by alphabetical order,to make it a bit easier to read through.
Dan G (@dang)
18th September 2022, 11:36
W Series is a feeder for F3. F3 is a feeder for F2. F2 is a feeder for F1. It’s pretty simple…
With 20 seats and an F1 driver’s career reaching up to 20 years, there should be, on average, space for 1-2 new drivers each year. Unfortunately in recent years two of those seats have been taken up by promotional drivers targeting specific markets (as was the intention with Herta).
PS Where’s Formula E and WEC?
18th September 2022, 15:40
PS Where’s Formula E and WEC?
Isn’t that where F1 drivers go to end their careers?
*This was a joke, but with a hint of truth
Neil (@neilosjames)
18th September 2022, 13:39
A few from F2 (Drugovich, Porchaire, also added Doohan and Sargeant), and some from Indycar (Dixon, Herta, McLaughlin, Newgarden, O’Ward, Palau, Power). Probably not exhaustive, and it’s more a list of drivers I wouldn’t object to being in F1 rather than a list of drivers I truly want to see there.
I don’t follow Super Formula at all so I have no idea about that, and don’t watch F3 closely enough to know what the talent is like down there and if anyone deserves jumping straight up to F1. And W-Series is too far from F1 to even consider any of the drivers (FE is a higher level, for me anyway).
18th September 2022, 14:18
Remove the lure of pay drivers.
Equalise the cash pot available to each team.
Standardise driver contracts and pay scales.
Implement a “move up or move out” policy whereby the poorest performers (over a two year average?) are shuffled out and instead given a chance at another series
18th September 2022, 16:07
No, No, No, No.
Let people be free to decide.
18th September 2022, 15:38
Right here, right now: Herta, Drugovich, Newgarden, McLaughlin, Palou, Pourchaire.
Somewhere in the future: Bearman, Hadja, Maloney, Edgar.
Close but no cigar: Ilott, O’Ward, Lundgaard, Colapinto, Doohan, Hauger, Sargeant, Lawson, Vips, Shwartzman, Martins.
(Sargeant have a good chances of a seat, Lawson and Doohan a smaller chance, but that doesn’t mean they are deserving).
Too old to be in contention: Power, Dixon.
Undecided: Crawford, Iwasa, Hauger. (though they will probably be in due to being Red Bull talent, but since they share prospect of seats with Edgar and Hadjar).
18th September 2022, 17:20
I think anyone able to drive an F1 car professionally should be allowed. That includes drivers in so many lower series.
James Brickles (@brickles)
18th September 2022, 18:05
Although not on the above list, I’d throw Nick Cassidy into the mix. Very quick driver when he raced in Super Formula and adapted himself quite well in DTM and Formula E.
Jim from US (@jimfromus)
18th September 2022, 18:24
Question: A driver has no superlicense points but is picked up by a good F2 team. If they win the F2 championship in their rookie season, do they have enough points to be in F1 the next season? If not, how could the driver get more points since they are banned from F2?
I believe that any driver that races for a full season in F2 or IndyCar is qualified to race in F1. The driver would still need an F1 team to give them a seat.
Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
18th September 2022, 18:59
The first three finishers in Formula 2 gain enough super license points on that result alone to qualify for a race seat in Formula 1.
The same is true for the Indycar Champion.
Adam (@rocketpanda)
18th September 2022, 19:13
I voted for –
Felix Rosenqvist – good in Formula E, good in IndyCar. Clearly adaptable, fast, reliable. Also cute.
Felipe Drugovich – literally won F2 with a fairly large points gap, certainly earned it
Calum Illot – arguably performed better than Schumacher, Tsunoda & Zhou overall, weird why he’s not here
Jamie Chadwick – if she’s not done enough by now then there’s no hope for another female driver
Couldn’t see Robert Shwartzman on the list but I think he’s good enough for a tryout too.
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