F1 Stars of Tomorrow (3/3): King, Sirotkin, Camara and Lynn

by Chris Turner (@CatmanF1)

In the last of our young driver series, we look at the remaining talents that participated in the mid season test at Silverstone last week. 

Jordan King

The son of the former CEO of Sainsburys supermarkets stepped into the lower formulae in 2010, racing in a variety of Formula Renault and F2 championships to a varying degree of success. His early highlight was claiming the runner-up spot in the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup.

Carlin then snapped up the youngster, taking him to the F3 class for 2013 and 2014. He was the 2013 British F3 champion, finishing on the podium in at least one of the three races of each weekend, whilst achieving a credible sixth in the European F3 championship in his debut season. 

He concentrted on Euro F3 in 2014 and achieved 7 podiums against the likes of Esteban Ocon, Tom Blonqvist and Max Verstappen, catching the eye of the Racing Engineering squad who promoted him to GP2 the following year.

He scored points in his first race in GP2 at Bahrain, but had to wait until Spa later in the year for his first podium position. 

He was named the FIA institute's Young Driver of the Year Award in 2015 and was rewarded with a testing role for the Manor Marussia F1 team.

This year has been even better for King, who has shown a real fighting spirit in GP2 and so far taken two sprint race victories including last time out in front of his home crowd at Silverstone. His first victory in Austria was a mastery of tricky conditions, leading home Oliver Rowland and Alex Lynn for an all British podium.

Likely to graduate to F1?

The reality is that Manor have to take drivers with substantial financial backing in order to stay afloat. Whether King can raise the funds  required remains to be seen. Rio Haryanto has secured the seat until the end of the season, but doubts remain for 2017, giving King a realistic chance if he can continue his run of form.

Sergey Sirotkin

His first foray into the world of car racing was the Formula Arbarth championship in 2010 and 2011. He quickly found success, winning the European series in 2011 and finishing runner up in the Italian series. 

In 2012 he raced in the Auto GP series, becoming the youngest ever race winner in the class and taking four consecutive fastest laps. He combined this with a season in Italian F3, taking two victories finishing 5th in the standings.

He contested the Formula Renault 3.5 championship in 2013 and 2014, taking his first victory after switching to Fortec at his home race in Moscow during his second season. A large number of technical failures meant he retired from good positions in 5 races and ended up just behind highly regarded team mate Oliver Rowland in the standings.

Sirotkin went on to compete in GP2 in 2015 but faced tough opposition in the form of McLaren's dominant Stoffel Vandoorne. He performed well and managed to finish third in the championship with a single victory at the Silverstone feature race.

He switched to ART for the 2016 GP2 season and started as a realistic championship favourite, but so far has endured a torrid start to the year with a number of driving mistakes. In Barcelona he was chasing victory on newer tyres than his rivals, but an over exuberant move caused a spin that forced his retirement.

Likely to graduate to F1?

In 2013 Sirotkin signed as a development driver for Sauber and tested for the team in Bahrain. He was one of the five drivers, along with Giedo van see Garde, who had supposedly secured a race deal for 2015 for the team, before being shut out by the sponsorship money coming from Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

He did not give up on his F1 ambitions and was signed up for Renault as a test driver, taking part in the Russian GP practice session and in the mid season test.

Sirotkin needs to iron out mistakes in his GP2 season and start to win regularly in order to make the jump into F1, but there is a definite possibility that he could make it in the coming years.

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Sergio Sette Camara

The young Brazilian's first full season in racing was the 2015 European F3 championship. He made a slow start, but his first podium at Spa kickstarted an upturn in form and he became a solid points contender by the end of the year.

His good form continued into 2016, having taken multiple points finishes and a couple of podiums, but he languishes in the mid table a long way behind the leader Lance Stroll, who moved from Ferrari's roster to the Williams driver development program alongside Lynn.

Likely to graduate to F1?

It is still very early in his career, but Red Bull promoted Max Verstappen from the F3 ranks so anything is possible. Camara is not showing that sort of blistering form as yet, but needs to start soon if he is to retain the notoriously results based backing of the energy drinks giants.

Alex Lynn

Alex Lynn started his single seater racing career in Formula Renault UK, winning the winter series in 2010 and dominating the main championship in 2011, taking twelve wins from only twenty races, beating Oliver Rowland to the title.

Moving up the ladder to F3, Lynn faced stiff competition from young drivers such as Carlos Sainz, Pascal Wehrlein, Felix Rosenqvist and Raffaele Marciello. In the 2013 season he finished third behind the more experienced Marciello and Rosenqvist, with a victory at Brands Hatch amongst the highlights of the season.

He has contested the Macau Grand Prix twice. His debut in 2012 was spectacular, taking pole position (the first rookie to do so since 2006) and finishing third. His second attempt in 2013 was even better, taking victory under immense pressure from Antonio Felix da Costa who had won the previous year. 

In 2014, with Red Bull backing, Lynn contested the GP3 championship with Carlin. He won the first race of the season in Spain and showed his talent by storming to the championship by 44 points ahead of fellow Briton Dean Stoneman. 

Despite taking the crown, all was not well behind the scenes and he took the decision to split with the Red Bull junior team at the end of the year, opting to take up a development role with Williams instead.

He has been racing in GP2 since 2015 with DAMS. Despite not having the best package on the grid he has performed admirably, taking two wins in 2015 on the way to 6th in the championship. This year started very well in Spain and Monaco, but a poor run of form in the last two races has set back his title ambitions a little.

Likely to graduate to F1?

The best thing Alex Lynn could have done for his career at the time was to jump ship from the Red Bull young driver program, which looked very congested and was applying unnecessary pressure. Unfortunately it turns out that if he had stayed he would be a prime contender to fight for the second Toro Rosso seat for next year.

He currently performs simulator duties and young driver testing for Williams and could be groomed for the seat when Felipe Massa is moved on, which may not be until 2018. 

Conclusions

There are some really talented individuals knocking on the door of F1 right now, with Vandoorne, Ocon, Leclerc and Lynn being my particular favourites from this bunch. 

There are so many outside this list who are bursting through, drivers like Mitch Evans, Dean Stoneman and Oliver Rowland just to name a few.

The problem is only twenty two drivers can occupy the seats in F1 (unless you take Sauber's approach to contract law) and they are already taken up by the previous lot of "promising talents".

The solution... More teams equals more opportunities for these guys. Come on Aston Martin, Audi, Porsche, Toyota, BMW, time to get involved!