In recent years, British hopes in Formula 1 had been carried on the shoulders of David Coulthard & Jenson Button, and more recently Button, Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta. However if you look deeper down into the motorsport ladder, you’ll see many up-and-coming drivers that could possibly be the ones to watch in F1 over the next 10 to 15 years.
Over the past couple of weekends, British drivers in the GP2 series and GP3 series have shown just how good they are, and the ones in Formula Renault 2.0 series and 3.5 series are showing likewise. Its time to show off the outstanding British talent coming through the ranks. Here’s my run-down on the best British drivers currently coming to the top.
- Sam Bird – Age 26 – GP2 driver for Russian Time
Already a test driver for the AMG Mercedes F1 team, has won 3 races already this season and has proved himself year after year to be a capable, intelligent, strong racing driver. Running out of time though to make it to the top level of motorsport.
- Jolyon Palmer – Age 22 – GP2 driver for Carlin
Son of former Formula 1 driver Jonathan, shows far more talent than his father did. One of the best GP2 over-takers around, but to often has to fight back from a poor qualifying effort, and often gets caught up in other peoples accidents while out of position.
- Jon Lancaster – Age 24 – GP2 driver for Hilmer Motorsport
Finally getting a chance to shine in GP2, and taking the opportunity with both hands with a couple of wins. Finances have held him back, talent has never been an issue.
- James Calado – Age 24 – GP2 driver for ART Grand Prix
Really quick when the car is working under him, one of the championship favourites in GP2 still despite a slow start to the season. Double podium in Germany showed his true talent.
- Adrian Quaife-Hobbs – Age 22 – GP2 driver for MP Motorsport
Last years Auto GP champion has begun his first year in GP2 well, taking a podium in Monaco, all while driving for a new team in the series too. Certainly talented behind the wheel of a racing car.
- Will Stevens – Age 21 – Formula Renault 3.5 driver for P1 by Strakka Racing
Frontrunner and regular podium finisher in Formula Renault, and signed up by the Caterham F1 team as a development driver recently. Strong racer and one to watch in the next few years for sure.
- Oliver Webb – Age 22 – Formula Renault 3.5 driver for Fortec Motorsport
Still only 22 but has experience on both sides of the Atlantic having driven in Indy Lights in 2012. Returned to Formula Renault this year and is proving to be a steady driver with multiple points finishes.
- Nick Yelloly – Age 22 – GP3 driver for Carlin
Beginning to be a regular podium visitor in GP3, and was a race winner in Formula Renault 3.5 before that. Has shown flashes of talent that should get GP2 and Formula 1 teams interested.
- Jack Harvey – Age 20 – GP3 driver for ART Grand Prix
The reigning British Formula 3 champion is showing well in his first season in GP3, winning his first race in front of his home fans at Silverstone. He’s up against two strong teammates, and isn’t fazed by anything.
- Melville McKee – Age 18 – GP3 driver for Bamboo Engineering
Honestly I’d never heard of him before this year, but he GP3’s newest race winner at just the age 18. If he can continue this form, he’ll be a GP3 championship contender next year.
- Lewis Williamson – Age 23 – GP3 driver for Bamboo Engineering
Rebuilding his career after being ditched by the Red Bull young drivers programme, and doing it well. Battling driver who knows how to overtake and defend. Should have a bright future ahead of him, and will be out to prove Red Bull made a mistake.
- Dino Zamparelli – Age 20 – GP3 driver for Marussia Manor Racing
Very talented British-Italian driver, with amazing car control and reactions. Is on the climb up the racing ladder, and is showing well in his first GP3 season, finishing in the points a handful of times already.
- William Buller – Age 20 – Formula Renault 3.5 driver for Zeta Corse
Has stopped his European F3 campaign to concentrate on the more powerful Formula Renault 3.5 cars in which he showed well in his debut event in Russia.
- Alex Lynn – Age 19 – European Formula 3 driver for Prema Powerteam
A driver coming through the ranks, and a victor already this season in the Euro F3 series at Brands Hatch. Should be in the thoughts of GP3 teams for a possible drive in 2014.
- Oliver Rowland – Age 20 – Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 driver for Fortec Motorsport
Currently leading the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship with two wins, and has been showing a lot of talent. Could and should be the next British driver in the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2014.
- Luciano Bacheta – Age 23
Last years Formula 2 champion, and a race winning driver in the Auto GP World Series this year. Has stopped running now to prepare for a possible GP2 season in 2014, but definately talented behind the wheel.
- Alice Powell – Age 20 – Formula 3 cup driver for MotorSport Vision
The best female driver Britain has got. Very good young driver, with heaps of talent and a winning mentality. Should have been in GP3 this year had it not been for finances.
- Alex Brundle – Age 22 – World Endurance Championship driver for Oak Racing
Following his father Martin’s path into Le Mans having began in single-seaters. Highly likeable and quick driver, finishing P2 in LMP2 this year. May have given up on his F1 dream but should he return to single-seaters would definately be one to watch.
- Matt Parry – Age 19 – Formula Renault 2.0 NEC driver for Fortec Motorsports
Has Formula 1 aspirations, and saw him dominate both races at Silverstone this year in NEC. Another one to watch come through the ranks, with the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 & Formula Renault 3.5 in his sights in the next few years.
- Alexander Sims – Age 25 – Blancpain Endurance Driver for Hexis Racing
Quite possibly one of the most talented drivers around. Very quick in his McLaren in the Blancpain Endurance series, and took Status Grand Prix’s first podium finish of 2013 when he stood in for them in Germany. He is happy in GT Racing, and if he remains so, it’ll be F1’s loss. And a big loss at that.
Have I missed anyone you think will be an one to watch over the next few years in the lower formulae and could possibly be Formula 1 bound? Please comment and let me know!
Tagged: Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Alex Brundle, Alex Lynn, Alexander Sims, Alice Powell, Dino Zamparelli, European Formula 3, F1, Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 3.5, GP2, GP3, Jack Harvey, James Calado, Jolyon Palmer, Jon Lancaster, Lewis Williamson, Luciano Bacheta, Matt Parrt, Melville McKee, Nick Yelloly, Oliver Rowland, Oliver Webb, Sam Bird, Will Stevens, William Buller