Stoffel Vandoorne and Jolyon Palmer - two of the most impressive junior formulae talents of 2014. As a pairing, they took the top two spots in the GP2 Series last year, with Palmer emerging as clear victor, yet as February turns and Formula One testing begins in earnest, both are, to a degree, on the outside looking in.
After the brief winter break, Formula One teams began unveiling their 2015 machines last week. However unlike last year, when a brand new set of technical regulations made sure attentions were focused with each new machine, this year’s cars – with their technical evolutions, as opposed to revolutions – have commanded fewer column inches or digital space.
If Esteban Ocon surprised all-comers with his rookie form in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, then Max Verstappen’s debut in car racing positively stunned.
Following a season long battle with eventual GP2 Series champion Jolyon Palmer, in the end Felipe Nasr couldn’t hold onto the runner-up spot. In his stead, the super impressive and quick Stoffel Vandoorne piped the Brazilian at the last and considering the Belgian’s natural speed and rate of improvement during what was his first GP2 season, this was a deserved position
During what was, at times, a disjointed season for the GP3 Series, only Dean Stoneman became a reasonably persistent threat to eventual champions Alex Lynn.
If one thinks about it seriously for a moment, it is quite incredible that the discussion about Carlos Sainz Jr’s Formula One future was ever up in the air.
If nothing else, Nico Rosberg convincingly answered many of his critics through 2014. Those who claimed that the 29-year-old was not tough enough or decisive enough to be true championship material were made to eat their words – for the most part.
To say that Daniel Ricciardo came of age this year would be one thing. Truth be told, the Australian was exceptional for most of the season.
Max Verstappen may have stolen all the headlines thanks to his quick promotion to Formula One, but there is little doubt that FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon was the star of the series this year.
There is little doubt that Jolyon Palmer was the deserved victor of the GP2 Series this year. Just when the 23-year-old really needed to step up, he did so and in a stylish manner, putting soon-to-be Formula One debutante Felipe Nasr in the shade for much of the season.
When Roberto Merhi was cut loose from the Mercedes DTM team at the end of the 2013 season, the Spaniard was left facing a bleak future. That he took three victories on the way to 3rd in the championship upon his return to single-seaters displays just how close motorsport came to losing an excellent talent.
Dean Stoneman’s inability to secure pole position for the GP3 Series season finale in Abu Dhabi may have given Alex Lynn the title in a less than satisfactory style, but there is little doubt that the Briton was a convincing champion.
It is incredibly difficult to fault much of Lewis Hamilton’s world championship winning performance in 2014.
From the moment Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly secured a podium at the Formula Renault 3.5 season opener at Monza, there was a instant feeling that the drinks manufacturer had bagged another future star.
Given the nature of the Ferrari F14T machine, it is a wonder that Fernando Alonso managed two podiums on his way to 6th in the Formula One World Championship.
Friday evening at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and with both free practices complete, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have yet to emerge to the awaiting media at the back of the team garage.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this evening and with it his 2nd world championship title.
Both of the Red Bull Racing machines have been excluded from the qualifying session for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Jayde Kruger success in the MSA British Formula Ford championship was confirmed this week when The National Court dismissed an appeal from runners-up Harrison Scott and Falcon Motorsport.
Conor Daly is to return to the GP2 Series for next weekend’s season finale at Abu Dhabi.