Opinion: GPUpdate team picks F1 wildcards

Opinion: GPUpdate team picks F1 wildcards

19 October 2017 – Toro Rosso's unexpected decision to draft in Brendon Hartley created a discussion among the GPUpdate.net team. Given the opportunity, who would we like to see get a chance to race in Formula 1?

First, there were some ground rules to implement; the drivers had to still be active in top-level competitive motorsport, while those with prior Formula 1 starts were excluded – which removed, for example, André Lotterer from the equation. Equally, those youngsters still climbing the ladder, or part of a young driver scheme, were not available for consideration, meaning potential stars such as Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris do not feature.

Here's who we came up with…

António Félix da Costa
Mike Seymour, GPUpdate.net editor

António Félix da Costa is the perfect example of a driver being in the right place at the wrong time. Picked up by Red Bull midway through 2012, aged 20, all signs pointed towards a highly successful partnership. During his first few months on the scheme, he claimed a standout double victory in GP3, took four wins from five races after joining Formula Renault 3.5 mid-season and won the prestigious Macau Grand Prix – every car he jumped into, he adapted with aplomb. With no room at Toro Rosso, the Portuguese entered a full FR3.5 campaign in 2013, tasked with repeating the dominance he displayed at the tail-end of the previous season. He remained at the sharp-end, as expected, but lost points to Stoffel Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen amid a string of reliability issues, the momentum he had gathered dropping away at a crucial phase, through little fault of his own. At the same time, Daniil Kvyat charged to the GP3 title, convincing Helmut Marko that he was more deserving of a chance when Daniel Ricciardo moved from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. If only a seat had opened up a year earlier…

Felix Rosenqvist
Phillip Horton, GPUpdate.net editor

The Formula 3 master and the king of versatility – it's one of motorsport's peculiarities that Felix Rosenqvist hasn't even got near a Formula 1 car. It may have taken Rosenqvist several years to clinch the F3 title, but a record of 28 wins in four years is pretty handy, while he also triumphed at the Macau Grand Prix (twice) and the F3 Masters (twice). Clearly, he knows his way around an F3 car. In 2016, Rosenqvist was a winner in his bit-part Indy Lights campaign, was rapid in GTs and DTM, and impressed in an IndyCar test. Having joined Mahindra in Formula E, he delivered its first win and took the fight to Renault and Audi affiliated outfits, and this season could still emerge as champion in his rookie Super Formula campaign. And, because he's such a racer, he rocked up in Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia this year and bagged a pile of trophies. Amid all this, Rosenqvist is still only 25 – just a few months older than Stoffel Vandoorne; teams could do worse than to take a punt on the rapid Swede.

Scott Dixon
Luke Murphy, GPUpdate.net editor

It would certainly be intriguing to see what would happen if a Formula 1 team bucked the trend of youth and inexperience by selecting a driver who has already achieved legendary status, such as IndyCar champion Scott Dixon. An apparently-competitive test with Williams back in 2004 never developed into anything more, but he's built up a stellar CV elsewhere. He's a four-time IndyCar champion, an Indy 500 winner, two-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner and ranks fourth on the list of all-time IndyCar race-winners. He's won races in every season since 2005. Despite being 37-years-old, one could argue that he's now a more complete driver in an increasingly competitive IndyCar Series, having taken the title fight to the Penske juggernaut in 2017. While IndyCar's 'Iceman' would probably turn down a chance at competing in Formula 1, if the sport ever got to a stage of accommodating guest drivers for one-off appearances (in a similar fashion to Fernando Alonso at this year's Indy 500), then it's bound to pique the interest of the various motorsport megastars.

Robin Frijns
René Oudman, GPUpdate.nl editor

Without any doubt, I would pick Robin Frijns for a one-off appearance. He displayed some incredible race craft in junior formulas and, after that, his career yielded some unforeseen steps. Brendon Hartley's trajectory proves that nothing is impossible and let that be a driving force for Frijns, who would not struggle in this year's grid. Not every driver is capable of capturing five titles in seven years and Frijns won his championships against strong competition. In hindsight, it is always easy to judge, and the Dutchman made some choices which twisted the progress of his career, with reserve driver roles at Sauber and Caterham stalling his progress, accentuated by a lack of funding. However, everyone knows that the best way to respond always starts with stepping on the gas. He deserves to shine on the brightest podium one day.

Josef Newgarden
Ronald Vording, GPUpdate.nl editor

Josef Newgarden already made an attempt to succeed in Europe, and his remarkable progress in the United States suggests he could cut it in Formula 1. With a second place in British Formula Ford, his start in Europe was quite successful. But after a disappointing GP3 season and no full backing for the next step, he returned to the States. His return to his home country marked the beginning of his enormous progression. He won the Indy Lights championship in 2011 and was crowned IndyCar champion six years later, in his first year with Penske, against rapid, experienced opposition. Not all drivers have the teenage ascendancy of Max Verstappen or Esteban Ocon, and Newgarden is a much more rounded driver now than he was at the start of the decade. Finally, both Formula 1 and IndyCar will benefit from more interchange between these competitions. A media-savvy, American driver with an engaging personality would mean a lot to Formula 1 from a commercial point of view – and Newgarden would fit the bill.

Neel Jani
Rahied Ishaak, GPUpdate.nl editor

He may be approaching his mid-30s, but Neel Jani still has the speed. Together with his Porsche team-mates Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, he won last year's 24 hours of Le Mans and WEC title, and in the previous decade he already proved his talents in single-seaters. In 60 starts in A1GP Jani achieved an amazing total of 30 podium finishes, including 10 victories, and in the 2007-08 season he led Team Switzerland to the title. In his first and only full year in GP2, in 2005, he took two race wins, and two years later in Champ Cars he showed his competitiveness with three finishes on the rostrum. Multiple times Jani was linked to Formula 1 teams, but he never quite made it onto the grid. In 2006, as a test driver for Toro Rosso, he frequently underlined his pace during Friday sessions, beating the team's regular race drivers Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi. Based on the pace he showed in other racing categories, Jani definitely should have had a chance to race in Formula 1.

Sébastien Ogier
Greg Woods, GPUpdate.net US correspondent

I've always been intrigued to find out what a top rally driver could do in Formula 1, and no active driver fits that role better than Sébastien Ogier. Following the nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb would have been an impossible task for nearly anyone else, but the Frenchman has since claimed four straight World Rally Championship titles of his own, capturing 40 victories in the process. Ogier has been on the podium in over half of all the rallies he's contested and leads the 2017 championship despite his off-season switch to a new team (and new car) in the wake of Volkswagen's withdrawal. Astoundingly, he has just three retirements to his credit since 2013 (over 60+ rallies). His otherworldly car control, reflexes and consistency make him a perfect candidate for Formula 1, even at age 33. Loeb very nearly made a publicity-driven appearance at the end of 2009 and Ogier, who had a Formula 1 run in an old Red Bull this year, would surely create a buzz.

We've made our choices which 'left-field' driver would you like to see get their chance in Formula 1?

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Wednesday 22 November 2017

  2. Mercedes 'determined' to cap year with win 16:20

    Mercedes 'determined' to cap year with win

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the manufacturer is "determined" to sign off from its title-winning campaign with victory in Abu…

    F1
  3. Video: di Grassi's guide to Audi's FE car 15:38

    Video: di Grassi's guide to Audi's FE car

    Join reigning Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi as he gives a tour of Audi's e-tron FE04, which will be used in this season's…

    FE
  4. Todt to run unchallenged in FIA election 15:07

    Todt to run unchallenged in FIA election

    Jean Todt is poised for a third term as the FIA's President after he was listed as the only candidate for the upcoming…

    F1
  5. Honda eyes positive end to McLaren chapter 14:12

    Honda eyes positive end to McLaren chapter

    Honda says it hopes to cap its three-year relationship with McLaren on a positive note at this weekend's season-ending Abu Dhabi…

    F1
  6. Preview: Abu Dhabi set for F1 2017 swansong 12:26

    Preview: Abu Dhabi set for F1 2017 swansong

    The 2017 Formula 1 campaign comes to a conclusion this weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.…

    F1
  7. Mazepin gets tyre test run with Force India 12:17

    Mazepin gets tyre test run with Force India

    Nikita Mazepin will return to Formula 1 test action with Force India during next week's post-race tyre running at the Yas Marina…

    F1
  8. Video: Mercedes celebrates 2017 F1 titles 11:24

    Video: Mercedes celebrates 2017 F1 titles

    Mercedes celebrates clinching both Formula 1 titles for the fourth successive year, as team members and senior management revel…

    F1
  9. Newgarden, Norris headline RoC line-up 10:10

    Newgarden, Norris headline RoC line-up

    IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden and McLaren-backed Formula 3 champion Lando Norris are among those to have signed up for next…

    Misc
  10. In photos: Farewell to the GP2/11 package 09:42

    In photos: Farewell to the GP2/11 package

    Formula 2 will bid farewell to the GP2/11 car this weekend in Abu Dhabi, the package which has been used by Formula 1's feeder…

    F2
  11. Williams confirms Kubica, Sirotkin for test 09:05

    Williams confirms Kubica, Sirotkin for test

    Williams has confirmed that it will field Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin during next week's post-race Pirelli tyre test at…

    F1
  12. Barcelona to tweak T12 run-off, resurface track 08:52

    Barcelona to tweak T12 run-off, resurface track

    Officials at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya have approved minor revisions to the circuit for 2018, including a resurfacing…

    MotoGP
  13. Video: DS Virgin Racing launches 2017/18 car 08:19

    Video: DS Virgin Racing launches 2017/18 car

    DS Virgin Racing launches its 2017/18 Formula E car, the DSV-03, which will be raced in the single-seater championship by…

    FE
  14. DS Virgin Racing unveils 2017/18 challenger 08:15

    DS Virgin Racing unveils 2017/18 challenger

    DS Virgin Racing has unveiled its challenger for the 2017/18 season, the DSV-03, ahead of next weekend's curtain-raiser in Hong…

    FE
  15. Alonso gets first LMP2 outing pre-Daytona 07:04

    Alonso gets first LMP2 outing pre-Daytona

    Fernando Alonso hailed a "great" first test in LMP2 machinery ahead of his outing at the Daytona 24 Hours in January with United…

    F1
  16. Video: Mark Webber's Grand Tour audition 05:32

    Video: Mark Webber's Grand Tour audition

    Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are on the hunt for a new driver for the second season of The Grand Tour. Enter…

    Misc
  17. Tuesday 21 November 2017

  18. 18:32

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  19. Van Buren wins McLaren's WFG contest 18:26

    Van Buren wins McLaren's WFG contest

    Rudy van Buren has been appointed as one of McLaren's Formula 1 Simulator Drivers for the 2018 campaign after triumphing in its…

    F1
  20. Video: Verstappen on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 16:12

    Video: Verstappen on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen previews the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, held at the Yas Marina Circuit, in this Mobil 1…

    F1
  21. '2018 will be even more difficult' - Lauda 14:40

    '2018 will be even more difficult' - Lauda

    Niki Lauda has heaped praise on Mercedes for securing both world titles for a fourth successive season, though expects to be…

    F1
  22. Alonso: Abu Dhabi will be 'trickier' than Brazil 10:42

    Alonso: Abu Dhabi will be 'trickier' than Brazil

    Fernando Alonso expects this weekend's season finale in Abu Dhabi to be "trickier" for McLaren-Honda than the previous round in…

    F1
  23. Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 10 10:02

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 10

    On day 10 of the World's Fastest Gamer finals, McLaren's two finalists were given the incredible opportunity to use the team's…

    F1
  24. Williams denies Kubica has signed deal 09:48

    Williams denies Kubica has signed deal

    Williams has denied that a deal with Robert Kubica has already been signed, following several reports, as it takes its time over…

    F1
  25. Video: Hamilton - Champion's welcome home 09:02

    Video: Hamilton - Champion's welcome home

    Lewis Hamilton returns to the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows HQ in Brackley for the first time since becoming a four-time Formula 1…

    F1
  26. Pérez: No pressure for Force India at finale 07:22

    Pérez: No pressure for Force India at finale

    Sergio Pérez says that Force India can compete without pressure at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with fourth in the…

    F1
  27. Video: Emerson Fittipaldi on the Indy 500 05:36

    Video: Emerson Fittipaldi on the Indy 500

    Emerson Fittipaldi, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, reflects on his experiences at the Brickyard, and Fernando…

    Indy
  28. FIA hands back Manor's F1 2017 entry fee 02:47

    FIA hands back Manor's F1 2017 entry fee

    The FIA has reimbursed Manor Racing's entry fee for the 2017 Formula 1 season as a "gesture of goodwill" to aid administrators…

    F1
  29. Monday 20 November 2017

  30. Vandoorne 'more comfortable than ever' 17:24

    Vandoorne 'more comfortable than ever'

    Stoffel Vandoorne says that he feels "more comfortable than ever" at McLaren after making significant progress over the course…

    F1
  31. Video: Christian Horner on Bernie Ecclestone 15:40

    Video: Christian Horner on Bernie Ecclestone

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner looks back on the fear and intimidation of his first interaction with Bernie Ecclestone, and…

    F1
  32. Verstappen: I don't want the season to end 13:33

    Verstappen: I don't want the season to end

    Max Verstappen says that he does not want the 2017 campaign to end, as he approaches this weekend's finale in Abu Dhabi off the…

    F1
  33. 12:09

    Overview: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix schedule

    F1
  34. Video: A conversation with Nico Rosberg 12:07

    Video: A conversation with Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg talks to journalist and broadcaster James Allen about what shaped key decisions in his early career as well as his…

    F1
  35. In photos: Rise and fall of Formula V8 3.5 11:02

    In photos: Rise and fall of Formula V8 3.5

    World Series Formula V8 3.5 has closed its doors after two decades of competition, bringing down the curtain on a category that…

    World Series
  36. Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 9 09:40

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 9

    Sunday was a day of rest for World's Faster Gamer finalists Rudy and Freek, but the coaches were as busy as ever studying the…

    F1
  37. Merhi returns to Rapax for Formula 2 finale 09:28

    Merhi returns to Rapax for Formula 2 finale

    Roberto Merhi will return to Rapax for this weekend's Formula 2 season finale in Abu Dhabi. Merhi first appeared in F2 this…

    F2
  38. Habsburg 'still proud' amid dramatic finish 09:22

    Habsburg 'still proud' amid dramatic finish

    Carlin's Ferdinand Habsburg underlined that he was not prepared to settle for second at the Macau Grand Prix, after crashing out…

    F3
  39. Prema signs Gelael for 2018 F2 campaign 09:00

    Prema signs Gelael for 2018 F2 campaign

    Prema has confirmed that Sean Gelael will race for the team in next year's Formula 2 championship, the first driver signed up to…

    F2
  40. Runner-up Norris admits disappointment 07:02

    Runner-up Norris admits disappointment

    Lando Norris conceded he was "a little disappointed" to miss out on victory at the Macau Grand Prix, after finishing runner-up…

    F3
  41. Video: DTM 2017 season highlights reel 05:46

    Video: DTM 2017 season highlights reel

    Watch the official DTM Movie from the 2017 season, featuring exclusive footage and insights from the teams and drivers involved…

    DTM
  42. Sunday 19 November 2017

  43. Video: Ricciardo visits NASCAR paddock 16:42

    Video: Ricciardo visits NASCAR paddock

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo visits a NASCAR event for his first time and meets Dale Earnhardt Jr and Chase Elliott…

    F1
  44. Video: Macau Grand Prix - Sunday highlights 15:34

    Video: Macau Grand Prix - Sunday highlights

    Watch highlights from Sunday's action at the Macau Grand Prix, which featured a dramatic finale to an enthralling Formula 3…

    F3
more news