The three current drivers I voted for are Russell, Sainz and Norris. Of this trio, I feel most confident about Russell as I think he will stay with Mercedes for many years and his pace relative to Hamilton this year suggests he should be able to win regularly with the right machinery. I also think he is the most likely driver from this crop to become world champion. Sainz seems well placed to gain further wins with Ferrari, although I suspect he is more likely to have a career like Barrichello or Bottas where he picks up a reasonable number of wins but does not come close to winning the title. Norris is the most unpredictable of the three as he is contracted long term to McLaren, who I am not convinced will provide him with a good enough car to win regularly, but I believe he has the talent to do so and if a top seat becomes available at some stage in the next few years I would expect him to be a serious contender.
Of the other drivers, I think Ocon is good enough to drive for a top team as second driver (like Perez at Red Bull now) or might get a chance of another win or two at Alpine in the right circumstances, but regular wins seem a bit of a stretch at this stage. I am less convinced by Gasly, who has already been given a chance at a top team and struggled and also hasn't been great this year, but if he gets the Alpine drive as expected he will have a better chance than several of the other drivers listed. Albon is in a similar position to Gasly, his performances at Williams have generally been impressive and while I don't expect regular wins I think he may be capable of performing well further up the grid.
I am not convinced any of the other current drivers have the potential to become regular winners. Magnussen has enjoyed a decent F1 return and is worthy of a grid slot, but I don't think he will find a winning car at Haas or elsewhere. Zhou has acquitted himself reasonably well this season but not to the extent needed to interest the more competitive teams on the grid. Stroll seems heavily dependent on Aston Martin coming good, although if the team does become competitive it would need a stronger driver line up as I do not believe he has serious race winning potential. I think Tsunoda has the driving ability to succeed in F1, but I'm not convinced he has the right mentality - his inconsistency is likely to put the better teams off him, and I can't see him being promoted to Red Bull. Conversely, I'm not convinced Schumacher is quite talented enough to drive for one of the leading teams, but I do think he has a good attitude and should enjoy a solid career in the midfield.
Latifi seems a definite no - his performances this season have mostly fallen short of the required standard and I do not expect his F1 career to continue beyond this season.
I feel it is too early to judge Piastri and Herta's winning potential in F1 without seeing them race first. Piastri's impressive F2 season suggests he may have the potential to become a regular winner but at this stage it is difficult to tell whether he is the next Leclerc or the next Vandoorne.
Edited by HighwayStar, 05 September 2022 - 21:08.