In with the New: 3 Young F1 Drivers to Look For in 2017
January 11, 2017
While it may be a matter of weeks since Nico Rosberg claimed a thrilling, F1 title win ahead of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, thoughts are already turning ahead to the 2017 season. With the first race provisionally scheduled for Australia on 26th March, teams are currently looking to finalise their plans for the year ahead and ensure that they have the right drivers to achieve their individual objectives.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the sports starlets and consider who is likely to make an indelible mark next season…
Max Verstappen, Red Bull
While it may seem strange to start our list with a competitor who finished in fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship this season (while amassing 205 points in the process), it is important to remember that Dutchman Verstappen is just 19 years old. An incredibly confident, mature and naturally talented racer, Verstappen has been tipped for stardom since the age of 15 and came of age during a hugely impressive 2016 season. This year included a debut win at the Spanish Grand Prix and an incredible run at the Brazilian Grand Prix, which many compared to the great performances of legends such as Aryton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
With his raw ability and the resources of Red Bull behind him, Verstappen represents an increasingly accomplished performer and may be primed for his first genuine title tilt in 2017.
Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes
While Mercedes are currently poised to replace outgoing champion Nico Rosberg with Williams’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, it has also been confirmed that talented junior Pascal Wehrlein is also waiting in the wings. In fact, there are some who claim that the precocious Wehrlein is favoured by Mercedes motor sport boss Toto Wolff, who has monitored his progress since the driver emerged as a dominant kart driver at the age of 14.
Currently the youngest champion in DTM history, Wehrlein has a unique pedigree that has marked the 22 year old as a future star. Whether his breakthrough comes next year or soon after has yet to be seen, but he undoubtedly has the ability and the assuredness to make his mark if Mercedes do call on him at some point in 2017.
Lance Stroll, Williams
Arguably the most promising emerging talent since Verstappen, Williams’ starlet Lance Stroll is almost certain to compete at the highest level in 2017. Whether this is alongside or instead of Mercedes target Valtteri Bottas has yet to be seen, but regardless of this the 18 year old Canadian is expected to become the second youngest driver to ever start an F1 race next season (behind Verstappen, of course).
Stroll will also become Canada’s first F1 representative since the the departure of the 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, while the Williams team are extremely excited about the potential of their youngster. Make no mistake; he could take the sport by storm next season, while throwing down a gauntlet to established stars such as Lewis Hamilton.
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