Alongside the Formula 1 circus, Formula 2 and Formula 3 will be in action again throughout the 2021 season. Year on year, new talent emerges from these feeder categories. The combination of cars with less downforce and high degradation tyres makes the wheel-to-wheel action breathtaking to watch.

There is a host of young stars of the future in F2 and F3 this season, and we’ve selected 10 drivers who we think you should watch out for in 2021.

Robert Shwartzman - F2 with Prema Racing

Russia’s latest hot prospect goes into this year’s Formula 2 championship as the title favourite. While Robert Shwartzman may have lacked the consistency of eventual F2 champion and Prema teammate Mick Schumacher last year, he certainly didn’t lack the speed in race trim, as he claimed four wins in 2020, more than any other driver on the grid.

Qualifying performance was his Achilles heel in his rookie F2 year, and failure to make gains over one lap could be his undoing. With a year’s experience under his belt, the Ferrari junior knows nothing but the title would be good enough as he eyes up a potential Alfa Romeo F1 seat in 2022.

Christian Lundgaard - F2 with ART Grand Prix

A second season in Formula 2 for Christian Lundgaard gives the Dane another chance to showcase his talents in F1’s main feeder series. Lundgaard is part of the Alpine F1 Academy, and a title victory in 2021 could give him an F1 shot should Esteban Ocon find it tricky against returning two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso.

Lundgaard showed flashes of brilliance during his rookie season, but again, consistency will be key if he is to challenge Shwartzman for the title after only scoring points in 11 of the 24 races in 2020.

ART knows how to succeed at this level meaning Lundgaard should have the tools at his disposal to do so.


Felipe Drugovich - F2 with UNI-Virtuosi Racing

Felipe Drugovich’s switch from MP Motorsport to UNI-Virtuosi Racing could prove decisive for the young Brazilian and his chances of mounting a serious title challenge in 2021.

The 20-year-old picked up three wins in 2020, including a feature race victory in Bahrain. In recent years, UNI-Virtuosi has challenged right at the front, with Luca Ghiotto in 2019 and then Callum Ilott in 2020.

Given the contrasting results between UNI-Virtuosi and Drugovich’s former team MP Motorsport in recent seasons, don’t be surprised to see him add further race victories and pole positions to his name in 2021.

Théo Pourchaire - F2 with ART Grand Prix

At just 17-years-old, Théo Pourchaire is the youngest driver in this year’s F2 field. The impressive Frenchman ran Oscar Piastri close to the F3 title last season, ending the campaign just three points shy of ultimate glory, having scored a podium in five of the final six races.

Adapting to Formula 2 machinery and how the car interacts with the volatile Pirelli tyres will be crucial if he is to have a successful rookie season. Pourchaire is part of the Sauber Junior Team, and with the futures of Alfa Romeo’s current line up uncertain long term, he is one to watch in the coming years. 

Oscar Piastri - F2 with Prema Racing

Following an outstanding Formula 3 title-winning campaign in 2020, Oscar Piastri makes the step to F2 with Prema alongside Shwartzman. Australia’s latest hope of a second F1 driver showed incredible consistency in his F3 title-winning season, scoring points in every round bar three.

Piastri’s early season form ultimately won him the title as he limped home to the title with just one podium finish in the final six races. Like Pourchaire, adapting to F2 machinery will be critical if he is to succeed in his rookie season. The 19-year-old will also have the added pressure of being in Alpine’s F1 academy.


Dan Ticktum - F2 with Carlin

Our final choice from F2 is the often outspoken, incredibly fast Dan Ticktum. The 20-year-old needs to channel his frustration over team radio into more consistent results in 2021. Far from the controversial driver he was in his junior career, Ticktum ended 2020 as the fourth-highest placed rookie.

2020 would have looked better had the Briton not lost his Monza victory after being disqualified for having a lack of fuel when finishing the race.

A change in scenery from DAMS to Carlin could give the two-time Macau Grand Prix winner and Williams F1 development driver what he needs to become one of the series’ leading runners. 

Frederik Vesti - F3 with ART Grand Prix

After a strong debut season in F3, finishing fourth overall in the championship, it’s surprising Vesti hasn’t made the move up to F2 for 2021. The newly-signed Mercedes junior ended the campaign strongly with two feature race wins at Monza and Mugello, ultimately finishing the season just 17.5 points behind eventual champion Piastri.

With a year’s experience under his belt, Vesti goes into his second year as the title favourite. Nothing but the title would be good enough for the 19-year-old Dane.

Arthur Leclerc - F3 with Prema Racing

Next up from F3 is Arthur Leclerc, the younger brother of Ferrari F1 driver Charles. The 20-year-old makes the step up to F3 after finishing runner-up in Formula Regional European Championship while also driving for Prema.

Leclerc looked to have the title in the bag with six wins in the opening 12 rounds, but a drop in form in the second half of the season handed the title to Gianluca Petecof at the final race. Prema has been unstoppable at F3 level, winning every title from 2013 to 2018 and maintaining its success when GP3 became F3 in 2019 with back-to-back teams’ titles.

Leclerc has the machinery and talent to succeed in F3 but Vesti’s experience may prove crucial if the pair end up fighting for the title.


Dennis Hauger - F3 with Prema Racing

Also driving for Prema is Dennis Hauger, who makes the switch from Hitech. A strange choice if you take last year’s standings at face value. Hauger only managed two points all season on his way to 17th overall in the final classification. His talents can’t be underestimated given how he was a match for Pourchaire in Formula 4 in 2019, ending the season just seven points behind the Frenchman.

Part of Red Bull’s junior team, the 17-year-old is our dark horse going into the season.

Victor Martins - F3 with MP Motorsport

Our final selection on our list is Victor Martins, who makes his F3 debut for MP Motorsport. Another member of the Alpine Academy, Martins has an impressive track record up until this point. The Frenchman ran Piastri close to the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2019 before securing it a year later.

While Martins’ talent is unquestionable, MP Motorsport isn’t typically one of F3’s front running teams which perhaps will be his undoing once the season starts.

Agree or disagree with our selections? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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