Formula 1 drivers come and go, each with their own levels of success and experience. Next year’s grid is looking virtually unrecognisable compared to 2012. The mean average age of the confirmed drivers currently stands at 26. Last year it was 30, that’s quite a difference in Formula 1 terms.
A number of very experienced racers depart this year after some credible service to Formula 1. It’s thank you and goodbye to a real great, Michael Schumacher. Sadly we may also be saying farewell to Heikki Kovalainen whose patience at Caterham has unfortunately not given the rewards he would have hoped for.
Now it’s important to turn our attention to the up and coming drivers ready to stamp their authority (and talent) onto the track. Here’s yet another countdown from me: the top five rising stars of Formula 1.There are many great drivers that I respect and would love to have included on this list however their position in the sport next year is in doubt so, regrettably, they must be left out. Simiarly Bottas is an exciting prospect who I can’t wait to see race however he is yet to compete in a Grand Prix…perhaps his future is too early to call?
I recognise the fact that Sergio may appear quite low on this list. I can assure you it has nothing to do with his immense talent, more that his impressive performances have been recognised by McLaren – a top team. The young Mexican’s three podiums in 2012 were nothing short of impressive especially given the lack of updates an independent team like Sauber are susceptible to. Checo (as he is known by his friends) had a difficult end to the year but in a McLaren and alongside Jenson Button he is a real hope for the future. What’s more his connections to Ferrari keeps his long term future prosperous and the guarantee of a a seat in 2014 at McLaren may take some pressure off. Contrary to his beliefs, his championship won’t come in his first year but just you wait! This kid is a champion in the making! I don’t want to talk to much about Sergio as I’ve already written a post assessing his chances next year:
Paul Di Resta
I understand that Paul Di Resta’s inclusion on this list is somewhat controversial given that he recently appeared as the most over rated driver of 2012. I personally disagree, citing that particular season as a stumbling block in what could be a great career. Paul Di Resta is on a list of great up and coming British drivers hoping to emulate the success of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, the country’s most recent champions. Paul has joined an even more impressive list since entering the sport – he is one of only a handful of drivers to score a point in their début Grand Prix. Talk about laying down the gauntlet! He has been linked to Ferrari already and has stated a desire to leave Force India for the bright lights of a bigger team in 2014. Drive (if you’ll excuse the accidental pun) and vision are there, all he needs is a consistent car.
I have made my views about Pastor Maldonado known in previous posts because 2012 was not necessarily his best year. No driver, not even Grosjean, received more penalties than Pastor. In spite of this, his future appears bright. His funding is sure to keep him in the sport for a little while but his win in Spain showed him to be an excellent racer, capable of pushing an underwhelming Williams to the front of the grid in a dominant weekend. The Venezuelan will be the team’s number one driver as Bottas makes his Formula 1 start. In other words, the car is more likely to be adapted for the driving needs of Pastor than his team mate. We know he can win Grands Prix now all he needs to do is make this a recurring feature. With a fresh year comes a fresh start and that’s how he needs to view this.
Charles who? Oh yeah that young Frenchman joining Caterham. No but seriously he hasn’t made headlines this year for his driving performance. But to be fair, what driver at the back of the grid has? You may not have seen him on the podium, or even in the points, but Charles Pic is a potential for the future. His multi-year deal at Caterham sees his immediate future as secure as Formula 1 will allow – the power of this cannot be underestimated. His team mate is unknown as of yet which gives a sign of the belief that Caterham have in him and the investment they are making. Thus the team will be altered around his needs, a very reassuring thing for a driver as new as him. We are yet to see his full potential and his ability to handle pressure but he’s not new to racing and has been doing this his whole life. I wouldn’t doubt him.
Ok, I admit it. Maybe Nico Hulkenberg, like Sergio Perez, is not so much a rising star but is definitely a champion in the making. In a previous post I assessed whether Nico had made a mistake moving to Sauber from Force India. Ultimately I would have to suggest not – his chances of joining a top team are much higher. In this sense the German is copying the path taken by both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. His pole position in a Williams in 2010 showcased his talent in a fundamentally disappointing car. I’m sure we all remember his near victory in Brazil? Close, and with a fresh team next year, I hope he can put that disappointment behind him. Nico does not bring with him extensive funding, merely himself as a driver. I personally believe that will be enough but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. (‘The Hulk’s Mistake’ – https://stoodonthepodium.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/the-hulks-mistake/).
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