Formula One contains the best racing drivers on the planet. F1s deep pockets and storied history means it attracts the best racing drivers in the world, with no other racing competition able to get anywhere close to Formula One.
As there are only 20 seats currently in Formula One, many phenomenal drivers are not in Formula One. This list will show you the top 10 prospects for Formula 1. This list classifies a prospect as not currently in F1 and has not started more than two races in the past. It means there will be no Alex Albon or Stoffel Vandoorne on this list.
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Fittipaldi is a name that is pretty common in Formula One, as Pietros grandfather Emerson won the Formula One world championship in 1972 and 1974. His cousin Christian also raced in F1, and Pietros brother Enzo has started five races in F2 this season. So there are pretty big expectations for Pietro.
Fittipaldi is currently employed as the official test and reserve driver for the Haas F1 team, a role he has had for the past four years. Fittipaldi tested the VF-18 in 2018 and the VF-19 in 2019. But 2020 was Fittipaldi’s best season for his progression as a driver. After a quiet season with Haas, Romain Grosjean’s massive crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix meant that Grosjean’s injuries kept him out of the Sakhir and Abu Dhabi races.
Fittipaldi stepped in, despite having never raced in Formula 1 or 2. Fittipaldi managed to finish his first race in Formula One, surviving the 87 laps of the Sakhir Grand Prix to finish 17th. Fittipaldi again made it to the chequered flag at the Yas Marina circuit a week later, finishing in 19th.
It would be extremely harsh to judge Fittipaldi’s quality based on these two races, as the Haas cars were constantly at the back of the grid, even with Grosjean at the wheel. Still, Fittipaldi has shown he is a phenomenal racing driver. Fittipaldi has multiple races wins across Formula Renault and Formula V8 3.5.
Considering he is at each F1 race every weekend, I am sure it won’t be too long until Fittipaldi steps into a Formula One car again.
Born in 2001, Lundgaard also has racing DNA. His father is former European Rally champion Henrik Lundgaard. Lundgaard is part of the highly-rated Alpine racing academy, who has impressed in his two seasons in Formula 2.
Lundgaard began racing from a very young age, beginning carting in 2012. His debut in single-seater racing was in 2017 when he became F4 Spanish and Danish champion. Lundgaard moved up to Formula 3 two years later, winning in Hungary in his debut season
But Lundgaard began to come up on Formula One team’s radars after a spectacular debut season in F2. Having joined the team to replace Nikita Mazepin, who moved to the new Hitech Grand Prix team. Lundgaard impressed in his first season in Formula 2, scoring two impressive victories at the Red Bull Ring and Mugello. The Dane’s debut season caught the attention of many F1 teams, with Renault announcing the Lundgaard was included in their academy for 2021.
He could be higher on this list, but Lundgaard has had a disappointing F2 season. The Dane sits in 11th in the driver’s championship, with three podiums but no wins. You could have expected Lundgaard to improve in his second season, especially as his teammate Theo Pourchaire has two wins this season.
Despite his poor performances this year, Lundgaard has joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in IndyCar, which he will join in 2022. It could be precisely the kind of change in Lundgaards career that could propel him to Formula One.
Speaking of Lundgaards teammate, Theo Pourchaire has been very impressive in his first full season for Formula Two for the ART team. The young French man always had talent, having debuted in Formula 3 at just 16.
Pourchaire began competitive karting at the age of seven, winning many different championships in his home country of France. After Pourchaire claimed the Formula 4 championship in 2019, he joined ART in 2020, despite only being 17 at the time. The French man only competed in two races in his debut season, failing to impress.
But Pourchaire has put himself in contention for F1 seats after a pretty incredible first full season. After some decent performances, Pourchaire impressed by winning in Monaco at the young age of 18. Pourchaire was not a favorite for the feature race but still managed to win it. It was a pretty amazing debut win for Pourchaire in F2.
The Frenchman’s season was hurt when he broke his wrist in the next round in Baku after a crash with Marcus Armstrong and Dan Ticktum in the feature race. Still, Pourchaire raced in the next round and managed to win one round later in Monza, winning the first sprint race.
Pourchaire was one of the drivers considered for the two opening Alpha Romeo seats but lost to Guanyu Zhou. The main reason for this is that Pourchaire was signed by the Sauber Junior team back in 2019.
For many F1 experts, it did seem like Pourchaire was just too young and inexperienced to be placed into Formula One this early. But if Pourchaire can improve in Formula 2, with his young age, the ART driver has a very good chance of getting a Formula One seat in the future.
New Zealand does not have much of a history in Formula One, especially with Red Bull. Brendon Hartley was the last kiwi to race in Formula One, and he had one of the unluckiest careers in F1. But Liam Lawson brings new hope to the country to have their first F1 race winner since the 1970s.
Liam Lawson joined the Red Bull junior team in 2019, having impressed in the Toyota Racing Series and lower Formula racing. Since then, Lawson’s results have not been exceptional. Lawson did win three times in Formula 3 in 2020 and has been competitive in Formula 2 this year.
Lawson started the season perfectly, winning the first sprint race in Bahrain before getting on the podium in the feature race in Bahrain. But since then, Lawson has not had the season he hoped. Lawson has not finished on the podium since Bahrain. But Lawson has impressed in a different racing competition.
Lawson is competing in the 2021 DTM championship, driving a Red Bull-sponsored Ferrari alongside former Red Bull driver Alex Albon. Lawson has been massively impressive in DTM this year. Lawson has consistently outperformed Alex Albon. This season, Lawson has won three races, including impressing his team by winning both races at the Red Bull ring in Austria.
Lawson finished the season in second in the championship after a collision with Kelvin van der Linde, which meant that Maximillian Gotz beat Lawson’s three points. Lawson was incredibly unlucky not to win the championship. Lawson also believed he won the second sprint race in Monaco earlier in F2 but was disqualified for using a prohibited throttle map.
Red Bull has shown that they will promote drivers with talent, even if they don’t have spectacular results. So Lawson could be in a Formula One seat very soon.
Jack Aitken is an incredibly talented driver who has already started a race in Formula One. Aitken was the replacement for George Russell when Russell replaced Lewis Hamilton when Hamilton had Covid at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Just looking at Aitkens career, you can see why he is tipped for a Formula One seat. Aitkens breakthrough season came in 2015 when he managed to win three different junior championship titles. This landed him a spot in the Renault Sport Academy in GP3. Aitken struggled at the start of his GP3 season but was the best driver over the second half of the season.
Aitken just missed out on the GP3 championship in 2017, finishing in second. Aitken finally made the step up to Formula 2 in 2018, claiming his first win in the Barcelona sprint race. Aitken was unlucky that his debut season was overshadowed by his teammate George Russell winning the F2 championship.
But Aitken has performed well in Formula 2, winning three races in 2019. All of this success has meant he has caught the attention of a different racing academy. In 2020, Aitken joined the Williams Drivers Academy alongside F2 rivals Dan Ticktum and Roy Nissany. Ticktum was also appointed as Williams reserve driver for 2020 and 2021.
Aitken joined Nicholas Latifi in Sakhir when George Russell was in the Mercedes. Aitken managed to qualify within a tenth of Latifi. Aitken was running in 15th, but he spun into the barriers at the final corner. After pitting, Aitken finished in 16th. Aitken will take part in FP1 in Abu Dhabi later this year.
Aitken has shown that he can handle the step up to Formula One, and it won’t be long until Aitken is in an F1 seat permanently.
Red Bull has produced some high-quality drivers like Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, and Pierre Gasly. Juri Vips could be next on that list. Vips was close to getting a seat in F1 in 2021, so he has to be pretty high up on this list.
Vips began his professional karting career in his home country of Estonia, claiming major titles before moving to Spain and becoming a champion in Rotax World in Valencia. Vips made his single-seater debut in Italian F4, wherein his second season, he claimed the ADAC F4 title ahead of Marcus Armstrong.
Vips impressed in Formula 3, scoring seven wins in his two full seasons. Vips got his chance in Formula two in 2020, completing eight races with the DAMS team, claiming his first-ever podium in the process. 2020 also saw Vips become the reserve driver for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri at the last three Grand Prix weekends of the 2020 F1 season. Vips was included in the young driver’s test at the end of the 2020 season, driving the RB16 around Yas Marina.
This season has been Vips first full season in Formula 2, racing for Hitech. After struggling in the first round in Bahrain, Vips has put in some very impressive performances since. Vips won twice in Baku and have claimed five podiums in total. Vips currently sits in the sixth position in the F2 driver’s rankings.
After being passed on for the Alpha Tauri seat in 2020, Vips is likely to be at the front of the queue for the next time a seat opens up at Alpha Tauri. If Vips continues to impress, some teams outside of the Red Bull academy may even take a look.
Nyck de Vries
Born in the Netherlands, de Vries looked set to be in Formula One by now. But at the age of 26, de Vries is still an F1 prospect because he has never raced in Formula One.
De Vries began karting back in 2008, beginning his karting career in Germany. De Vries won the world karting championship in 2010 and 2011. His 2011 win was impressive as he finished ahead of future F1 driver Alex Albon, who finished second. His 2010 win also included beating Antonio Giovinazzi, who finished in 12th.
His performances got the attention of Mclaren, who he signed within 2010. After his karting success, de Vries would win the Eurocup Formula Renault and Formula Renault 2.0 championships in 2014. His two wins in GP£ landed him a place in Formula two.
De Vries impressed from the start in Formula 2, finishing 7th and 4th in his first two years in F2. But 2019 turned out to be the best year for De Vries. De Vries claimed four wins as he beat F1 drivers Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher, and Nikita Mazepin to the F2 title in 2019. De Vries dominated the season, finishing 52 points ahead of Latifi, who was in second, despite De Vries not scoring at all in the final round in Abu Dhabi.
De Vries did not make the expected step up to F2 despite this. The F2 champions in 2017,2018, and 2020 are all in Formula One, with De Vries being the only exception. De Vries even became Formula E champion in 2021. De Vries is currently the Mercedes reserve driver, but George Russell took over when Lewis Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19 in Sakhir.
De Vries is exceptionally talented. Being the oldest on this list means he needs a chance in F1 sooner rather than later.
Ferrari has one of the most successful driver academies of all time. So you need to be a pretty exceptional driver to be in their academy, especially for a British driver. Callum Ilott has done exactly that.
Ilott came to the attention of Karting fans when he won the British Karting championship in 2011. From there, Ilott had success in international karting. His huge success meant he was given incredible opportunities at a young age. Ilott began racing in Formula 3, at the age of 16, in 2015. Ilott managed to get his first win in F3 in 2016, finishing sixth in the championship.
Ilotts poor 2015 season saw him dropped from the Red Bull Junior Team, who had picked him up at the start of the 2015 season. But Ilott impressed after being dropped and scored seven podiums in his first year in GP3 of 2018. After finishing his rookie season in Formula 2 in 11th, Ilott moved UNI-Viruosi Racing, where he had his best season.
Illot finished the 2020 F2 season in second, having claimed three victories across the season. Ilott finished 14 points behind Mick Schumacher and 1 point ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, both now in Formula One. Ilott was not rewarded with a Formula One drive. Ilott had been a part of the Ferrari driver academy since 2017, but they could not find a drive for him.
Ilott has been a Ferrari test driver for the 2021 season, appearing in FP1 in Portugal and Austria for Alfa Romeo. Ilott plans to race in Indycar in 2022 and will hope that he can’t be ignored for a Formula One seat with some good performances.
By looking at the current F2 standings, you can see why Piastri is so high on this list. But Piastri’s success in F2 this year can’t be much of a surprise to keen observers of the Australian.
Piastri began karting professionally in Australia in 2014, winning multiple titles in his home country. Piastri’s parents decided that he would make the same move as Daniel Ricciardo did, beginning Karting in Europe at a young age. This included Piastri claiming six wins in British Formula 4 in 2017.
Piastri continued his success in lower Formulas until he got a chance in F3 in 2020. The Covid-19 affected season began with Piastri winning the first race in Austria. Another win in Spain and four additional podiums were enough for Piastri to win the F3 championship by just three points over Theo Pourchaire.
Piastri has continued that form onto F2. Despite this being the youngster’s first season in Formula 2, he looks set to win the title. Piastri already has three wins across the season, with two rounds remaining. Piastris 36 point lead in the championship should be enough to win his first Formula 2 title.
His incredible success in F3 and F2 was very pleasing for Alpine, as they had signed him to their academy at the start of 2020. While he will not have a seat in F1 next year, Piastri will be the reserve driver for Alpine in 2022.
Alpine will surely be looking to get Piastri into a racing seat sooner rather than later. It is rare for a Formula 2 champion not to be racing in F1 the following season. But Piastri could easily step into the Alpine seat in 2023 if Fernando Alonso decided to retire for the second time.
It may be odd to see Piastri’s teammate on this list ahead of him, but when you look at Robert Shwartzman’s record, you can understand why he is the best F1 prospect.
The Israel-born Shwartzman began karting in 2004, at the age of five, before making his debut in single-seaters ten years later. Schwartzman’s first year did not provide much success, but the Russian driver finished third the following year.
After a couple of third-place finishes in Formula Renault and his first season in F3, Shwartzmans second was dominant throughout. Shwartzman was able to claim ten podiums, including three wins, as Shwartzman dominated the rest of the grid on the way to his first F3 championship. Shwartzman won the title by a whopping 54 points, ahead of talented drivers on this list like Juri Vips, Liam Lawson, and Christian Lundgaard.
This was followed by a promotion to Formula 2, where he partnered with Mick Schumacher. Shwartzman had a lightning start to his F2 career, including two wins in the first three rounds. Shwartzman finished fourth in his rookie season, a very impressive performance.
This season he is currently one better, sitting in third. But Shwartzman could be higher. He has two DNFs on the season, which is more than his teammate Piastri. Shwartzman has continued to show why he is signed to the Ferrari Driver Academy.
At times, Shwartzmans qualifying performances have been brought into question. But the Russian has to be looked at as the best F1 prospect. His dominance in his title-winning F3 season, combined with excellent performances in F2, means he is likely first in line for the next time a seat opens up at Ferrari. But it would be hardly surprising to see Shwartzman at Haas or Alfa Romeo in the next few years.