Are The New Generation On The Cusp Of An F1 Revolution

Despite last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix the month of August is usually a quiet one for the Formula One community. The three week summer break and subsequent dearth of on-track action usually means it’s rumours and talk of the following year which create the headlines. In this forward thinking vain I initially started this article several weeks ago, before life got in the way for several weeks.

In recent weeks the speculation has been centered on the futures of both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, two of the three oldest drivers on the F1 grid at 37 and 36 respectively. Don’t let this fool you however. The current top order of Formula One is on the verge of a major generational shift. Both Raikkonen and Alonso are former world champions, along with 32 year-old Lewis Hamilton and 30 year-old Sebastian Vettel.

Five years from now Raikkonen and Alonso will have retired, and it will be unclear at what competitive level both Hamilton and Vettel will be at age 37 and 35 respectively. It’s likely that young contenders right now such as Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz Jr and Stoffel Vandoorne will be entering their prime, but who will be pushing them at the front?

A special talent such as Max Verstappen has already reached this point at the tender age of 19. Esteban Ocon has impressed this season in his sophomore F1 campaign and at age 20 has plenty of time on his side. Williams rookie Lance Stroll is only 18 yet has already proved his doubters wrong. Pascal Wehrlein is highly rated by Mercedes at 22.

These are the next generation that are currently already in F1, but just who are the young talents looking to smash through the F1 glass ceiling? Ferrari has been grooming current FIA F2 championship leader Charles Leclerc since the beginning of 2016, and looks a perfect replacement for Raikkonen in the coming years. Mercedes have this season taken on young Brit George Russell, who currently leads the GP3 championship and could take over seamlessly from Hamilton at the front running team.

Red Bull currently have two of the best young drivers on the grid in Ricciardo and Verstappen, and have a well known driver programme that has produced an abundance of very talented young drivers. ¬†Reigning FIA F2 champions Pierre Gasly is the latest driver deserving of an F1 shot with Red Bull, likely with it’s junior Scuderia Toro Rosso team.

Renault have two of the top contenders in F2 and GP3 in Oliver Rowland and Jack Aitken, and McLaren have the very promising Lando Norris on their books. At the present moment it appears that Leclerc and Norris have the highest profile amongst the F1 paddock. Leclerc has impressed at every stage of his career and has some F1 experience both with Ferrari and Haas.

Norris is currently taking the FIA European F3 championship by storm in his rookie campaign, leading the championship after seven of ten rounds. He also massively impressed in the Pirelli tyre test, posting the second fastest time behind only Sebastian Vettel.

In the coming seasons it will remain to be seen how many of the young drivers mentioned will reach F1, as unfortunately other factors sometimes determine if a talented driver reaches the pinnacle of the sport. What happens in the future no one can ever accurately predict 100%, however do not be surprised at all to see the F1 grid filled with many of the young drivers mentioned in this article. I may well be wrong,but at the present moment these are the brightest young talents in the F1 community.

Any thoughts on this article or any of the drivers involved? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below. Find me on Twitter @brfcjordan95 and I hope you enjoyed the article. 


Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic Castle Combe Report

The second helping of Ferrari action came courtesy of the Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic, which caters from some exotic classic Ferrari cars. The series is a regular at this A Plant LUX Bank Holiday meeting so the spectators knew what to expect from this impressive series.

On pole was Gary Culver in his Ferrari 328 GTB, with Peter Fisk alongside him on the front row. Row 2 has Darren Wilson in 3rd with Ray Ferguson in 4th. At the start it was Culver who made the best start to take the early lead in this 20 minute race, with Fisk joining him in making a quick break from the rest, before stealing the lead himself on lap 1. Their lead by the end of lap 1 was significant although by the end of lap 2 Fisk began gapping Culver by roughly 2 seconds.

By lap 4 Culver had reduced the lead to nothing as he began challenging Fisk for the lead, meanwhile behind them Nigel Jenkins passed Darren Wilson for 3rd going up Avon Rise on the same lap. Jenkins immediately opened a gap to Wilson as he secured himself in 3rd at this time. The move for the lead finally came at the fast kink Hammerdown on lap 6 as Culver set to work building a lead of several seconds in subsequent laps.

For the rest of the the top 4 were strung out as the conditions didn’t help the racing at all. For the likes of leader Culver it was simply about keeping a rhythm and counting down the laps, something he did expertly to maintain his lead of several seconds to the flag. He claimed victory from Peter Fisk in 2nd whilst Nigel Jenkins claimed his second podium of the day after claiming 3rd in the Ferrari Open race too. Darren Wilson was 4th whilst a lapped Ray Ferguson and Tim Walker completed the top 6.

For more information on this Ferrari series please visit – http://www.pirelli.com/tyre/gb/en/motorsport-world/genericPage/car/ferrari_open

Pirelli Ferrari Open Castle Combe August 2014 Report

After a frantic Mighty Mini the next race proved to be completely different as the exotic Pirelli Ferrari Open series took to the track for their 25 minute race. A small grid didn’t provide much hope for a good race however it only takes two cars to make a great race. After qualifying it was Wayne Marrs on pole in his Ferrari F458 Challenge car from local man Graham Reeder in his Ferrari F430 GT3 model.

From the rolling start it was Marrs who blasted into an early lead, which he extended to roughly 1.5 seconds by the end of lap 1. Despite the poor conditions the cars were hurtling around the track as Marrs and Reeder opened a significant early gap to the rest by the end of lap 2. The only cars at the early stages who were close together were Nigel Jenkins and Vance Kearney in 3rd and 4th respectively.

From lap 4 onwards the rain started to fall a lot heavier, which brought Reeder back into play as he set consecutive fastest laps despite the increasing rain fall. Reeder eliminated the gap to nothing as he began challenging Marrs for the lead from lap 10 onwards. Behind these two the battle for 3rd came to an end as Kearney spun exiting Camp on lap 10, re-joining 5th. Despite Reeder closing after a few laps Marrs upped his pace and rebuilt his lead of several seconds over Reeder from lap 12 onwards.

On lap 13 the dominance of Marrs and Reeder was highlighted as they lapped the rest of the field, whilst behind them Kearney began his recovery drive by closing on team mate Darren Laverty for 4th on lap 14. By the later laps Marrs was really stretching his lead to 3.1 seconds as he cruised home after 19 laps to a comfortable victory over Graham Reeder in a valiant 2nd. Nigel Jenkins came home a very lonely 3rd and a lap down. Laverty held onto 4th from the recovering Kearney whilst Paul Ugo completed the top 6.

This race suffered from both the small grid and the terrible conditions, therefore this race was not a fair reflection of a usually much more competitive series. Nevertheless, it was still fascinating seeing such impressive cars in the confines of Castle Combe race circuit. For more information on this series please visit – https://www.ferrariownersclub.co.uk/race-category/2014-pirelli-ferrari-open/