The road to F1 is long and complicated, The number of junior series in Europe makes it rather difficult to understand which of the many young drivers coming through the ladder could potentially one day graduate into F1 so I decided to explore a few of these drivers careers and chances.
2013 championship / Championship Position: 1st In FIA European F3 championship
2014 Championship plans: GP2 (Team TBC)
Raffaele “Lello’ Marciello is the reigning FIA European F3 champion, claiming the title ahead of rival Felix Rosenqvist to the title for Prema Powertrain. Marciello is a member of the Ferrari Driver academy. He is currently embarking on his first year in GP2.
Given his performances in the highly competitive F3 series and previous record. I would like to believe that Marciello could be one of the next F1 drivers to graduate, and with Ferrari backing, the possibility of him making it to the very top of formula one, Should his GP2 season be effective is very real.
2013 Championship: Formula Renault 3.5 2nd overall.
2014 Championship: GP2
Stoffel Vandoorne is Mclaren’s young driver. In 2013 Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen (Also a Mclaren Young driver and F1 graduate) went head to head in last years Formula Renault championship with Magnussen claiming the championship from Vandoorne.
Stoffel Vandoorne became Mclaren’s F1 test driver in 2014 alongside securing a GP2 drive with ART Grand Prix.
Vandoorne should by all means make the F1 grid in the future. The speed and talent are clearly visible and Mclaren has two very strong young drivers to progress with F1 over the next couple of seasons.
Carlos Sainz, Jr.
2013 Championship: GP3 / Renault 3.5
2014 Championship: Renault 3.5
Carlos Sainz, Jr. was one of three possible drivers or the 2014 Toro Rosso seat, eventually taken by fellow Red Bull Junior team driver Danill Kyvat. Carlos moves to the DAMS organisation for his 2014 programme. The team that took Kevin Magnussen to the Renault title in 2013.
He completed various 3.5 rounds last season alongside his GP3 commitments. Sadly GP3 had very mixed results in 2013 for Sainz Jr although he still secured two podium positions during the season. Here’s hoping for better results in 2014 in Renault 3.5.
2013 Championship: 3rd in FIA European Formula three / Macau F3 Grand Prix winner.
2014 Championship: GP3
Alex Lynn raced in British Formula Renault / Winter series from 2009-2011. He claimed the winter series title in 2010 and the Formula Renault UK championship in 2011.
Alex moved to FIA European F3. A second season in F3 in 2013 brought Alex additional success, coming third in the championship.
In November Alex won the 60th Macau Grand Prix for Prema powertrain with Theodore. Following his victory, he was signed to the Red Bull Junior Team programme.
In 2014 he will join Carlin in the Gp3 series.