Overview: Who's in reserve for 2017?
20 March 2017 – Formula 1 teams have traditionally employed test, reserve or development drivers to either act as back-up to regular racers or as a stepping stone to a potential full-time seat. GPUpdate.net takes a look at those in reserve this year, as well as the legion of young drivers on academy programmes.
Mercedes: Role not filled
Mercedes enters 2017 without having officially nominated a reserve driver, though it has three junior drivers on its scheme, two of which will race in Formula 1. Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber) and Esteban Ocon (Force India) have both tested for Mercedes, while new recruit George Russell could be in line for mid-season running, alongside his duties with ART in GP3 this year.
Red Bull/Toro Rosso: Pierre Gasly
Ferrari: Antonio Giovinazzi
Ferrari, having dispensed with the services of Esteban Gutiérrez, has hired GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi as his replacement. Giovinazzi could carry out Ferrari's in-season test running, and filled the breach at Sauber in place of the injured Pascal Wehrlein for the opening pre-season session. The Italian will also conduct simulator duties and be present at race weekends.
Force India: Alfonso Celis Jr.
Williams: Paul di Resta
Williams has retained the services of Paul di Resta, the Briton who raced for Force India between 2011-13, scoring 121 points and a best of fourth place. Di Resta also competes in DTM and acts as a pundit for Sky Sports, though his F1 experience means Williams will need another driver for half of the in-season test days.
McLaren: Jenson Button
Renault: Sergey Sirotkin
Sirotkin's first foray into Formula 1 came as a lanky, raw teenager with Sauber, though a planned promotion to a race seat never materialised. Sirotkin returned with Renault last year, and this season becomes its reserve driver. Sirotkin participated in two practice sessions and a test day with the manufacturer last year and also placed third in GP2, with two race wins.
Young drivers involved in F1 team academy schemes:
Pascal Wehrlein – Formula 1 with Sauber
Esteban Ocon – Formula 1 with Force India
George Russell – GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix
Pierre Gasly – Super Formula with Team Mugen
Niko Kari – GP3 Series with Arden
Richard Verschoor – Formula Renault 2.0 with MP Motorsport
Neil Verhagen – Formula Renault 2.0 with MP Motorsport
Dan Ticktum – Formula Renault 2.0 with Arden
Charles Leclerc – FIA Formula 2 Championship with Prema
Antonio Fuoco – FIA Formula 2 Championship with Prema
Guan Yu Zhou – FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Prema
Giuliano Alesi – GP3 Series with Trident
Enzo Fittipaldi – Italian Formula 4 with Prema
Marcus Armstrong – Italian/German Formula 4 with Prema
Jehan Daruvala – FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Carlin
Nobuharu Matsushita – FIA Formula 2 Championship with ART Grand Prix*
Nyck de Vries – FIA Formula 2 Championship with Rapax
Lando Norris – FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Carlin
Santino Ferrucci – GP3 Series with DAMS
Jack Aitken – GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix
Jarno Opmeer – Formula Renault 2.0 with MP Motorsport
Max Fewtrell – Formula Renault 2.0 with Tech 1
Sun Yue Yang – Formula Renault 2.0 with JD Motorsport
Tatiana Calderón – GP3 Series with DAMS
Nirei Fukuzumi – GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix
Tadasuke Makino – FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Hitech GP
*Matsushita is also backed by Honda