Ex-Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert has fired a warning shot to the sport’s latest crop of rookies by claiming the pressure will be on them to perform immediately in the 2023 season.
This season will see both Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant make their F1 bows with McLaren and Williams respectively.
Meanwhile, Nyck de Vries, driving for AlphaTauri, is classified as a rookie, despite already making his grand prix debut for Williams at Monza last year.
Piastri, especially, is entering the top tier under even more scrutiny as a consequence of the controversial move that took the Australian from Alpine to McLaren last year.
Herbert, a winner of three races in F1, has declared that the three new recruits must hit the ground running to avoid receiving the sort of criticism that could begin to impact their driving.
“It’s got to happen immediately,” he told Motorsport Magazine. “Because if it doesn’t, you start getting all the criticism and once that criticism starts, it affects what’s happening in the cockpit – and you’ve [still] got to jump in there and just do it.
“Nyck is always someone who’s come through in a very, very quick way, it’s the same situation with Piastri as well, they’ve got nice elements of the skill set you need to be able to drive a Formula 1 car.
“The problem comes – we’ve seen this in various situations – where someone like Pierre [Gasly] when he jumped into the Red Bull, the [new] pressures on your shoulders, take away [the benefits of] that raw ability you have, because you’re having to deal with things that you never expected to happen.
“And then you’ve got a team-mate that every time you think ‘That was a good lap,’ you look up at the screen, and you go: ‘I’m still 1.5sec off, 1sec, 0.5sec’ whatever it may be – that is going to be the difficult thing for them.
“Some people can deal with it, some can’t – but they’re in the right teams.”
After a golden era that witnessed the graduation of Charles Leclerc in 2018 and then the trio of Alex Albon, Lando Norris and George Russell a year later, F1 has gone through somewhat of a barren spell when it comes to the emergence of star rookies.
Since the class of 2019, the drivers to make the step up have failed to create the same impression as those that have now formed the present and future of the sport.
Mick Schumacher, in particular, often flattered to deceive and he has ended up on the sidelines for 2023 after only two seasons with the Haas team.
Herbert has suggested the German’s stint should serve as a caution to the latest rookies that the expectation will be on them to perform every weekend.
“Mick Schumacher, when he came in, was given a bit of a chance, and it didn’t quite work out for him. There was all the pressures of dad Michael, all the pressures of the Schumacher name.
“Was he good enough? He was good enough, but he wasn’t good enough all the time.
“Doing one good race is sort of pretty easy. Doing two good races is pretty much not a problem. It’s doing it every single time you go out – and that’s the expectations the teams have on you,” he added.