Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Shooting Starz' 2016 Eurocentric edition...

Who are those virtually unknown young lions salivating over one, if any rarefied seats remaining available in Formula 1...

Funny how I found myself more interested in this side of the veritable Puddle's Up & Comers. Most likely due to my curiosity over these unseen talents *Stateside) vs. the Lights Boyz' who's season finished an eternity ago, albeit the Mazda Road To Indy *MRTI) sure has a much easier and better defined ladder system to follow...

GP2 Championship
With the current lack 'O available seats in Formula 1, presumably this season's champion will be MIA, a la the previous two year's (2014-15) champions needing to wait a year before finding an opening in the pinnacle 'O motorsports, a la Jolyon Palmer and Stoffel Vandoorne respectively.

This year I'm doing my research a 'Wee bit different, with current drivers contesting GP2 noted with F1 Team's affiliation, with last year's Constructors finish ranking in parenthesis...

(2) Scuderia Ferrari
Antonio Giovinazzi: Prema Racing
Like the majority of these drivers I've listed here, I knew absolutely nothing 'bout this promising italiano Hot Schue prior to beginning this story. Although Antonio's clearly got talent, having finished runner-up to last year's European F3 champion Felix Rosenqvist. Along with winning that year's Masters of Formula 3 title.

As ironically he's battling his team-mate for the GP2 crown , which he led on the basis of five wins heading to the season finale on Yas Isle, who I fear will have the curse 'O Italian GP2 champions fall upon him.

(3) Williams F1
Alex Lynn: DAMS
After having won the GP3 title in his rookie season, this promising Red Bull Junior Team member seemed on the Fast-track to Formula 1, especially since he and fellow GP2 rookie team-mate Monsieur Gasley secured DAMS the teams title last year.

Yet after severing his energy drinks support in order to become Team Willy's latest Development Driver, a la Valtteri Bottas last year, But while Lin's still plying his trade in GP2, everybody knows that some Lance Stroll guy's beaten him to the punch; Err Felipe Massa's seat.

(4) Red Bull
Pierre Gasley: Prema Racing
With just the Yabba Abba Du' season finale remaining, this frustrated Frenchman was seven points behind points leader & rival team-mate Giovinazzi, who  I was pulling for to win the title, primarily due to Monsewer Gasley's public bemoaning of Der Helmet, nee Dr. Helmet Marco extending Danni Kvyat's contract at Toro Rosso a further year; Boo-Hoo-Hoo! With Pierre's consolation prize being kept on as Red Bull Racing F1's reserve driver next season.

(6) Renault Sport F1
Nicholas Latifi: DAMS
Can only call him the unknown Kuhnaidiun; Hya! As Lance Stroll's getting A-L-L the ink right now, while hopefully Latifi  won't become another "Young Wicky," nee Robert wickens who seems relegated to DTM duty hereafter.

Oliver Rowland: MP Motorsport
One of Great Britain's many hopefuls to reach thou pinnacle 'O motorsports, cannot say I really know very much about him, other than spotting his name when doing last year's story, having just learned he's the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 champion before switching over to GP2 fulltime this year.

Sergey Sirotkin: ART Grand Prix
Think this once promising Rooskie, thinking he'd bought his way into a Formula 1 seat with Sauber in an apparent rescue package Dealio, with Daddy's money which failed to be consummated, seems to have somewhat gone off the boil?

And although he's won GP2 races, and is driving for one of the top teams, think his times running out in top flight single seaters, especially with Dani Kvyat and Gasley ahead of him for possible Toro Rosso drives? Although there's always Indy Cars where countryman Mikhail Aleshin's kicking ARSE!

(8) Sauber
Raffaele Marciello: Russian Time Racing
Although Sauber and promising Italian driver Raffaele Marciello parted ways this past January, and the Swiss Formula 1 team currently has no reserve drivers on its books. I've included Marciello, who hopefully won't have reached his zenith of single seaters simply as one of the countless hopefuls running at the various F1 Young Drivers test.

As Raffaele did exactly that at Abu Dhabi in 2014 for Sauber, winding up second fastest behind somebody named Pascal Wehrlein in the all conquering Silver Arrows.

Marciello then served as Sauber's reserve driver, as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy for 2015 before abruptly quitting both in January. , and hopefully hasn't shot his wad!

(9) McLaren Honda
Nobuharu Matsushita: ART Grand Prix
This talented Japanese driver, who made his GP2 series debut in 2015 alongside that year's runaway champion, and next year's McLaren Honda Formula 1 rookie driver Stoffel Vandoorne, has won two races to date. As I simply cannot help wondering if he'll land a Formula 1 ride eventually with Honda's blessing for a future customer team, perhaps Sauber in 2018 as previously speculated? Since perhaps this is another reason behind the decision to run year old Ferrari PU's next year, eh?

(10) Manor
Jordan King: Racing Engineering
The son of former Saintsbury grocers CEO Justin King, who's also been involved with Manor Racing's restructuring, seems to be just tredding water in the final rung to Formula 1. Although Yuhs can never overlook his fatherly connection to the team, albeit Rio Haryanto's also on the F1 team's books, so who knows where Jordan will end up next year...  

Another European Feeder Series I'm totally unawares' of due to its pitiful lack 'O media coverage here Stateside! With these hopefuls attempting graduating to GP2 before possibly clawing their way into Formula 1. As it's good to see that at least some have Formula One team connections.

Scuderia Ferrari
Antonio Fuoco: Trident
This hopeful Italian who's part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, in his Sophomore GP3 season with two wins under his belt, seemingly is being overshadowed by fellow Scuderia Ferrari Academy member and GP2 championship leader Giovinazzi.

Giuliano Alesi: Trident
Naturally, "Mean Jean" Alesi's son Giuliano is currently one of four Ferrari Academy drivers, contesting his rookie GP3 season alongside Scuderia Ferrari Stable-mate Fuoco, who's currently P3 in the championship - while Alesi's having a somewhat rough debut season, languishing in 21st position prior to Abu Dhabi.

Scuderia Ferrari, Haas F1
Charles Leclerc: ART Grand Prix
Although definitely NOT Third Fiddle, the Monegasque driver's part of Scuderia Ferrari's quartet 'O current Academy Drivers - who's leading the GP3 title hunt in his inaugural season by 29-points ahead of team-mate Alexander Albon from Thailand, 202-173 with just two rounds remaining.  Whilst nearly 50-points ahead of third place Fuoco. (202-157)

Leclerc, who's listed as Haas F1's Development Driver made his Formula 1 debut for the team when deputizing in FP1 (Free Practice) session this season at Silverstone during the British GP weekend.

And like many, he's also Bloody Fast! Having previously finished runner-up to current ART GP3 team-mate Nyck de Vries in 2014, in Formula Renault 2.0, his first season in cars. Leclerc's also a multi-times Karting champion and finished runner-up to some Red Bull Racing F1 Hothead named Max Verstappen in the CIK-FIA World Karting KZ championship before switching to single seaters - with Charles apparently managed by somebody named Nicholas Todt.

Haas F1
Santino Ferruci: DAMS
Like fellow GP3 rookie Alesi above, Santino's clearly being outshone by his fellow Haas F1 protégé Leclerc, as he's currently mired in 12th place in the Driver's standings...