F1 2011 – New Drivers

I’m always very unsure about new drivers in F1 because I don’t follow any of the sub-series to the sport. However, I decided to take a look at the accolades of the drivers that will be starting the series now. Firstly though and in connection to my previous post, Force India has now announced its drivers and they are Adrian Sutil (continuing his partnership in the team) and Scottish newcomer Paul di Resta. Because of this we’ll start with di Resta.

Paul di Resta – Looking over his resume he is indeed one of the more accomplished new drivers graduating into the F1 series. In 2006 he was the winner of both the Formula 3 Euroseries and the Masters of F3 . His most recent achievement was the victory in last years Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters – where he’s also achieved a 2nd place in 2008 and 3rd in 2009. So di Resta seems like a real go-getter and he may show quite a bit of promise, but considering his accomplished team-mate, he will have to do good as soon as the season starts if he doesn’t want to wind up like Liuzzi.

Pastor Maldonado – Williams’ replacement for Nico “The Hülk” Hülkenberg does not have many achievements to his name but he is the reigning champion of GP2 which is probably why he’s been hired. It’s really hard to say how Pastor will fair at the start of the season but he has the most experienced team-mate on the grid, so he too will have to show results quite soon as the season starts.

Sergio Perez – Perez has quite broad array of series where he’s driven but his results are anything but consistent. He held the British Formula 3 title to his name in 2007 and was number-2 in last year’s GP2 so the man definitely has shown some level of talent. Perez is of course replacing Nick Heidfeld at Sauber who only had a very brief return to F1 after Pedro de la Rosa was given the boot. De la Rosa is  now working as the tyre-tester for Pirelli, ironically as that is the position that Heidfeld was originally promoted from.

Jerome d’Ambrosio – This Belgian new comer to the Virgin team actually has quite a few achievements to his name. The man was the winner of Formula Renault Belgium in 2003 and International Formula Master in 2007. More recently, he’s been driving (like Perez and Maldonado) in GP2 but in its Asia Series. His most notable achievement in recent years was a 2nd place in the 2008-09 season of the Asia but his performance has since slumped, finishing 12th last year (in GP2 proper). I noted that while he had 5 retirements he only scored points in 4 of the 15 races he actually finished, although notably he won the Monaco Grand Prix last year. So seems to me like Jerome might be a fading star even before entering F1 and he certainly will have to show some real chutzpah with a talented and seasoned team-mate like Timo Glock.

Edit: 28. January – I completely glossed over the Force India’s announced test-driver who is in fact The Hülk himself (Nico Hülkenberg). Although he wont be getting much mileage as a test driver I’m happy he’s sticking around the F1 circuits and, who knows, maybe he’ll be driving for Force India as a race driver within the next couple of years.