19 questions for 2019: Who will emerge as the next rising star?
Motorsport Week's team of writers got together to discuss what they believe will be the big questions for the 2019 motorsport season, covering all the major series from Formula 1 to IndyCar, WEC to DTM and everything in-between. We'll be posting one each day and today we ask...
9/19: Who will emerge as the next rising star?
The cream of the crop rose to the top in last year’s Formula 2 series as runaway champion George Russell and his two nearest opponents Lando Norris and Alexander Albon were all rewarded with seats in Formula 1.
A greater involvement from the FIA and Liberty Media in the rising stars, compared to the days of GP2 when the series was almost hidden away, has undoubtedly raised the profile of young drivers. And, as is the natural cycle of motorsport, the next group is ready to stake their claim to emerge as a successor to Russell, Leclerc et al.
Attention will undoubtedly be placed on Mick Schumacher – son of seven-time World Champion Michael – who steps up to Formula 2 with Prema after his surge to last year’s European Formula 3 title. Expectations, though, should be tempered. He took time to adjust in both Formula 4 and Formula 3, while not only is Formula 2 a notoriously tricky series to understand, but he faces experienced and talented opposition. This should be regarded as a two-year project and he should not be rushed.
Elsewhere Honda’s determination to have a Formula 1 driver means it has placed Nobuharu Matsushita with Carlin, and if the returning Japanese racer nets the top four needed for a Super Licence then do not be surprised to see him with Toro Rosso in 2020.
Hot favourite is surely the experienced Nyck de Vries, who has linked up with the ART outfit that guided Russell to last year’s crown, while over at DAMS it has two Formula 1 reserves in the form of McLaren’s Sergio Sette Camara and Nicholas Latifi. Dark horse Luca Ghiotto will spearhead UNI-Virtuosi – in effect the overhauled Russian Time squad. Expect the usual mixture of frantic racing, scrapes and wrecks.