F2 Prospects: Who has a shot at a seat in 2025?

As the silly season ramps up, the question on every collectors’ lips is which, if any, F2 drivers will get a seat on the grid in 2025?

The start of this year saw zero movement in the driver market; the first time in living memory that every driver from the previous season satyed put. However the silver lining to this stagnation is that we now have an abundanbce of moves coming – and for collectors, this means prospecting has become a fertile ground once again.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more promising rookies that could find their way into F1 next year.

Oliver Bearman

At the top of everyone’s mind in the 2025 driver market conversation is Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman.

After a spectacular drive in Saudi earlier this year, he impressed everyone with his ability to get up to speed quickly and to take points in his first ever race, even putting some incredible moves on seasoned racers in the process. At the time of writing, his card market has cooled somewhat from the lofty heights in the days follwing that race, but they remain higher than just about any other F2 card with the exception of Piastri’s 2021 cards. Without question, the market has priced in his elevation to a top seat, but perhaps rightly so.

Afterl all, they say the best audition for any rookie hoping to snag an F1 seat isn’t their F2 campaign, but their first F1 race. At the end of the day, nothing is more telling than a Grand Prix performance as an indicator of future performance.

Past and current F2 campaigns

Despite a sensational debut in F1, Bearman will need to work hard for the remainder of the F2 season if he wants to plant his flag firmly in the prodigy column. His fortuitous entry into F1 in Saudi came at the expense of a real shot at a feature race win in F2, after an impressive pole position the day before. Although he surely wouldn’t be complaining about that particular twist of fate, it did render him pointless from a weekend that started off very promising.

Bearman currently sits a lowly 19th in the standings after 3 races, but with 11 still to go, there’s still plenty of time to prove his worth.

His maiden F2 campaign last year had incredible highs, most notably in Baku, where he secured both the sprint and feature race wins on the back of a stellar qualifying performance. As the season progressed however, he had a number of setbacks and discouraging weekends, getting soundly beaten by his more experienced teamate and Mercedes junior Frederick Vesti, who finished 2nd overall behind the champion Théo Pourchaire.

Placing 6th overall, he’ll need to improve on that result this year to have much hope of maintaining the hype and momentum that follows him, especially given his new teammate, Mercedes prodigy Kimi Antonelli, is widely touted as the ‘second coming of Max Verstappen’.

Where does he go?

Haas were extremely impressed with his FP1 showings for the team last year, and he’s rumoured to be getting anywhere up to 6 sessions this year as well – a clear indication that Haas (and Ferrari) have their eye firmly fixed on the young star. Given Ferrari’s lineup is set for at least two years, and given Haas now have a vacant seat with the departure to Sauber/Audi of Nico Hulkenberg, it would make sense for the two teams to come to an arrangement to put him in that seat for at least a couple of years under the tutelage of the experienced Magnussen, or another veteran.

F1 seat probability: High.
Bearman’s has two Topps now cards; one from his double feature race victories in Baku in 2023, and another from his debut this year in Saudi Arabia. Both had high print runs, but will still be highly sought after by collectors. He also has first appearence F2 Rookie cards in both 2023 Chrome and Sapphire.

Liam Lawson

The second driver in real contention is New Zealander Liam Lawson. After Daniel Ricciardo’s return to F1 was setback by a hand injury in Zaandvort last year, Liam had to step in at short notice, much like Bearman did at Ferrari.

He immediately impressed at Alpha Tauri, keeping up with – and in some races even beating – the more experienced Tsunoda. Though his run ended on a whimper with a relatively lacklustre performance in Qatar, he did more than enough to impress Red Bull top brass, and the rumour is that he was guaranteed a seat on the grid for 2025 at the end of his tenure.

Junior Career

Lawson’s junior career was equally as impressive, finishing 3rd in his 2022 campaign behind Drugovich and Pourchaire. Last year he was mighty in Super Fomula, finishing 2nd out of a field of 25 behind current F2 driver Ritomo Miyata, and taking 3 of the 7 possible feature race wins.

Lawson is another driver who’s fortunes turned drastically with his unexpected F1 debut, where prior to stepping in for Ricciardo – and despite being the Red Bull academy’s leading prospect – there never seemed like a spot would open up to him within a reasonable timeframe.

Timing is just as crucial as talent when trying to land a coveted seat on the grid, and Lawson was unfortunately a driver that seemed to be peaking at the wrong time. Many believed that the younger academy stars, Ayumu Iwasa and Isaac Hadjar, might be better placed to capitalise on that timing, especially when Nyck de Vries was unexpectantly given a chance to make his mark ahead of Lawson at the start of the 2023 season.

Where does he go?

The ideal scenario for Red Bull would be for either Tsunoda or Ricciardo to drastically outperform the other this year, giving Helmet Marko an easy decision to make. As things stand, it’s still too early to tell for sure how Ricciardo is truly performing. Yuki is proving to be the driver with more consistency this year, so it’ll be difficult to justify dumping him, though his outburst in Bahrain left many wondering if he’ll ever be able to control his temper.

That leaves the option of Lawson to replace Ricciardo permanently, or for Yuki to grab a seat at the future Honda powered team of Aston Martin (though Stroll would have to voluntarily leave for that to happen). Perez’s performances will be weighed against all of this too, to see if either Tsunoda or Ricciardo end up deserving of his seat.

Unlike Bearman’s chances, Lawsons are still likely to be determined partly by politics over raw talent, and it’s not an absolute certainty that he finds his way onto the grid next year. Red Bull will be all too aware that a strong showing in one or two races is not always an indicator of success, as they found out with their promotion of Nyck de Vries after his sensational drive for Williams at Monza in 2022.

As for Lawson’s card market, his 2021 first appearance F2 cards are still performing strongly, with raw base autos fetching anywhere from $80-100 USD, so there’s still plenty of optimism out there that he’ll find a seat.

F1 seat probability: Medium–High.

Kimi Antonelli

Third on the list of probable candidates is Kimi Antonelli. For collectors, this is an unusual one because he’s yet to appear in any product at the time of writing – not even the entry level Turbo Attax or Topps Now.

Anotonelli is widely touted as the next ‘Max Verstappen’ on the back of a similar trajectory and stellar junior career. Mercedes have been keeping a very close eye on the 17-year old Italian since signing him to their academy in 2019, accelerating his progress by bypassing F3 altogether this year, and giving him an F2 seat with Prema Racing. At the time of writing, he’s comfortably beating his more experienced teamate, Bearman.

Given his junior form so far, it’s a good bet he’ll be on the grid next year in one way, shape or form, but it may happen even sooner than that. At the time of writing, rumours are swirling that the FIA have recieved a request to grand the 17-year-old special dispensation to give him a super licence ahead of his 18th birthday. If that’s granted, he could graduate to F1 mid-season.

Where does he go?

Whether it’s 2024 or 2025, his likely destination would either be as a replacement for Hamilton at Mercedes, or Logan Sargeant at Williams. The latter seems a more likely outcome as a mid-season option, which would also give Mercedes some races this year to evaluate whether a promotion to the works team is justifiable for 2025.

Mercedes seem to know they have a very special talent on their hands and rightly have a tight grip on the young star. But given his Italian nationality, it’s not out of the question that Ferrari could come knocking at some stage to see if Kimi is available. Though this scenario seems unlikely – especially since Toto Wolff still laments losing the battle for Verstappen some years ago – money does talk, and Ferrari have plenty of it.

F1 seat probability: Medium–High.

Théo Pourchaire

Reigning F2 Champion Théo Pourchaire is another in the mix for a seat with Sauber/Audi in 2025.

However with Nico Hülkenberg set to join Sauber next year, and the incumbents Bottas and Zhou in place, it will be tough to land a seat. The more likely option is that Sauber would stick with one of their current drivers for continuity, meaning Theo gets overlooked.

Having said that we’ve seen some unrest at Sauber recently, most notably in Miami, where Bottas’s race engineer was suddenly replaced without consultation with the driver. Things came to a head in Friday’s sprint qualifying when there was some miscommunication that nearly resulted in a huge crash with Piastri on a flying lap. Bottas was audibly annoyed by it over team radio, and there’s a growing sense that his seat may not be as secure as we once thought.

F2 Campaigns

For someone so young he showed amazing consistency across his tenure in F2, finishing second in his debut season and taking the championship last year. But with only one feature race win in 2023, the question Sauber are likely asking is if he truly has the raw speed to compete at the highest level.

Moreover, his start in the Japanese Superformula series hasn’t been spectacular (though it is early in the season) meaning he will need to seriously impress from here to make an impression.

Now with the experienced Hülkenberg in place from next year, it’s probable that Theo is high on their list of options should someone like Sainz decline an offer. But with others (both Alpine drivers for example) out of contract and circling for better, long term options at a works team in 2026, Audi has plenty of interest from well-established drivers, and can afford to take its time.

F1 seat probability: Low.

Felipe Drugovich

The Aston Martin reserve driver and 2022 F2 Champion, Felipe Drugovich, is still in contention – albeit as a long shot – for a seat in 2025.

His ’22 F2 campaign with MP Motorsport was a slam dunk win, finishing 100+ points clear of second place Pourchaire, and many in the paddock think that kind of performance means he deserves a shot.

It nearly came at the start of last year, when Lance Stroll injured his wrists in a pre-season bike accident. It meant the Brazillian-born Drugovich had to step in and run the Bahrain tests in Stroll’s car, clocking up some impressive milage for a reserve. But a race start wasn’t to be, with Stroll returning the following week to finish an impressive P6 in a very competitive car.

Where does he go?

After Aston Martin annonced a new contract for Alonso earlier in the year, Drugovich would need Stroll to step down to have a realistic chance at gaining a seat, and an offer from elsewhere seems very unlikely at this stage. Whilst Aston Martin remains his only realistic shot, it’s a shame that like Pourchaire, another F2 champion seems destined to forever reamain on the sidelines

F1 seat probability: Low.

Jack Doohan

One of the more intriguing drivers in the market as it stands is Jack Doohan. Despite being a reserve driver for one of the teams towards the back of the grid, this predicament may counter-intuitively place him higher up in the running for a seat next year.

A slow start for Alpine this year has many wondering if Gasly and/or Ocon, both of whom are out of contract at the end of this year, may jump ship elsewhere. If that were to happen it could mean a call up for the young Australian. Already there are rumours that Gasly may be in talks with Williams, and Ocon has a long-standing link to Mercedes through Toto Wolff.

After the fiasco of Piastri to McLaren, and Alonso jumping ship, Alpine may be keen to demonstrate to their Academy drivers that they have a genuine chance of an F1 seat if they perform on and off track, and Doohan has arguably done both.

Jack had a blistering second half to the F2 season last year, finishing well clear of every other driver over the period after Monaco. At mid-season testing last year, his team reported that he had a cracked chassis for the first few races as well, which he suspects contributed to a slow start to his campaign.

Jack had more feature race wins (3) than any other driver all year, finishing 3rd overall in the standings, and clinching the second ever ‘Grand Chelem’ (Pole, Win and Fastest Lap) in modern F2 – the other going to fellow Australian Oscar Piastri.

Despite a promising landscape for Doohan, a lot still needs to go right for the Aussie to get his shot, and if Both Gasly and Ocon are denied seats elsewhere, then the most likely outcome is an extention of both of their contracts at team Enstone, meaning Doohan would likely miss his one and only window.

F1 seat probability: Low.

Frederick Vesti

With so much talk of Mercedes junior Antonelli, it’s easy to forget that Vesti was runner up in F2 last season, putting in some mighty performances across the year. It seems strange to overlook his chances at a call up so flippantly, but he faces plenty of competition within the Mercedes academy.

The Danish-born Vesti frequently demonstrated superior racecraft to others around him, making up multiple places in both sprints and feature races alike when in the middle of the pack. He handily beat his Prema teamate, Bearman, by over 60 points in the overall standings, and only lost out to championship winner Pourchaire by a mere 11 points in a season that came down to the wire.

However he’s in the unenviable position of being in the shadow of both Antonelli and fellow reserve driver Mick Shcumacher, who arguably left the sport before he could show his true potential. The Schumacher name also attracts large sponsorship money in motorsport, making it highly unlikely – even with such an impressive junior record – that Vesti would get the nod before Mick, and even then, Mercedes are more likely to go with Antonelli.

A lot would need to change for Vesti to be even remotely considered an option, making his chances at a seat at the table very low. However, he’s better placed than most, and if Mercedes continue to decline in performance, that may mean more attractive options look elsewhere, giving Vesti an opportunity to step in.

F1 seat probability: Very low.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know which F2 driver you’d like to see on the grid in the future.

By F1_Ben

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