WHO'S WHO? F1'S NEWEST ROOKIES
With the new F1 season fast approaching and under a month until the season gets underway with the first practice session in Bahrain - I take a look at the latest drivers to join the F1 grid. For 2023 F1 welcomes three rookies to the grid with Nyck de Vries at Alpha Tauri, Oscar Piastri at McLaren and Logan Sargeant at Williams.
NYCK DE VRIES
Nyck de Vries will be a name fans of F1 will have known for sometime after the Dutchman became F2 champion in 2019. Clearly a driver with an abundance of talent, many wondered how de Vries didn't make it to F1 the following year, with the likes of Williams or Haas. With his previous ties with Mercedes many thought he would be a Williams driver in 2020.
However with F1 not an option for Nyck after his F2 title winning year, the Dutch driver made the move to Formula E with Mercedes partnering former F1 and McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne for the 19/20 season. Nyck finished in 11th place that season. The 20/21 season was a very different story for de Vries as he battled for the title which he would go on to claim after taking a total of just two wins, four podiums and accumulating 99 points - seven points clear of second.
The 21/22 season would be de Vries last in Formula E where he would finish the season in 9th place before making the jump to Formula One for 22/23. De Vries made his first F1 appearance in an WC race in Monza replacing the hospitalised Alex Albon - where in an impressive display would cross the line in 8th place taking points on his debut and beating Latifi in the process. Nyck de Vries was then rewarded with an F1 seat for the following season at Alpha Tauri replacing the outgoing Pierre Gasly (Alpine) to partner Yuki Tsunoda at the Italian team.
In 2020 the name Piastri became almost a household name to fans of motorsport as the Australian driver stormed to the Formula 3 title in his maiden year - racking up 164 points three points ahead of vice champion Pourchaire and and four points clear of third placed Sargeant. As you would expect Piastri then made the jump to F2 for the 2021 season.
Piastri took the title on the final race of season. In that year Piastri won six times, stood on the podium 11 times and sat on pole five times that year. Piastri joined an exclusive list of rookie champions including Charles Leclerc (2017) and George Russell (2018). Similar to de Vries before him many wondered how Piastri wasn't given a chance in F1 the following year.
Then in 2022 - then Alpine driver Fernando Alonso announced that he would be leaving the team. Many believed this was the opportunity Piastri was looking for however it didn't quite work out that way. Some time had passed since Alonso's announcement - Alpine took to social media to announce that Piastri would be racing alongside Ocon for the 2022 F1 season but just after I had put my blog post up relaying this information Piastri came out on Twitter to say Alpine had done this behind his back and that he would not be racing for Alpine in 2022. However despite this and after leaving the Alpine setup, the Australian driver joined McLaren for 2023 and replaces fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo who had struggled with the McLaren machinery despite taking victory in Monza 2021.
F1's first American driver in over a decade. Sargeant joins Williams for 2023 after an impressive debut F2 season. Sargeant replaces Latifi.
Sargeant finished his first season in F2 in fourth overall in the championship with 148 points - this ultimately was enough to convince Williams to give him a full time drive in 2023.
The last American to race in F1 was Alexander Rossi for Virgin back in 2010/11.
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