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Formula 1: How have F1 2023 rookies performed so far in the ongoing season?

Published at :May 16, 2023 at 9:06 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Reuters)

Akash Roy

Three new faces have made their debut in the grid this campaign.

Preparations for Formula 1 round 6 begin within a week, as the traveling circus makes its way towards Europe for the next 10 successive races of the F1 2023 season calendar.

The first five races of the campaign have quite clearly helped to separate the wheat from the chaff. It is easier to make an assessment now, having witnessed the adaptability of each individual with their mounted machinery.

In a sport known for its radical cutthroat nature, a spotlight will always be cast over F1’s trio of newbies- Oscar Piastri, Nyck de Vries, and Logan Sargeant are most susceptible to scrutiny. After a four-week gap since Australia, the newcomers had to endure their first back-to-back race weekends of the year.

With an unforgivable track in Baku followed by a less-punishing glitz and glamour of Florida, the rookies have had a fair chance to reflect ahead of the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Nyck De Vries (AlphaTauri)

It has been a rocky start for the Formula E and Formula 2 champion, driving for AlphaTauri in his first regular season. Yes, as rare as opportunities arrive in this sport, De Vries made an impact instantly, scoring points in a Williams during his first rodeo.

Based on a one-off performance (as a substitute), the Dutch driver's appeal suddenly skyrocketed as the silly season of swaps also started around the same time, with Sebastian Vettel's unexpected retirement. Signing De Vries made little sense for AlphaTauri as it went against their foundational principles.

After a tough start to this season, speculations arose if Helmut Marko was pondering about replacing him with veteran Daniel Ricciardo. Rumors about the "seat-fitting incident" got put to bed, but it could soon turn real if the 28-year-old rookie doesn't change his approach.

De Vries is visibly struggling to adapt. Silly mistakes like crashing twice over the same weekend in Baku and then locking up, hitting Lando Norris during the first lap of Miami- have made him too much of a liability. A series of missteps can be costly in motorsports.

P14 stands for his best result of the season, and his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, on the same machinery, is competing for points regularly. Marko has given De Vries until the Spanish Grand Prix to prove his worth.

Logan Sargeant

In his first outing in Bahrain, he finished P12 which is still his best outcome after five races. Inconsistency has been a recurring theme for the American driver, as in Baku- he managed to qualify for Q2 for the first time.

Then, a shoddy performance during the session only made him the 15th fastest. On Saturday, he failed to match his previous drive after crashing his Williams at turn 15 with substantial damage and got exempted from the Sprint race- because of it.

Last weekend, in his home race, he qualified and finished the race in last place. An impatient premature move damaged his front wing upon chipping against Lance Stroll. He then had to make a mandatory pit stop for repairs, which ruined his race.

No one can deny that with patience and consistency, Sargeant can extract his best even in an FW45, but he has to show signs of refinement and follow it up rather than blowing up under intimidation.

Oscar Piastri

The former Formula 3 and Formula 2 champion was the most intriguing prospect regarding rookies joining the grid for this year. Earlier in his home race, he scored 4 points finishing P8- his best result till now.

Then, Azerbaijan served as a litmus test for the Australian, as even with an illness, he spectacularly got to Q3 and finished P11 on the fringes of the points.

It is no secret around the paddock that McLaren has failed to give its drivers a competitive car. With bad luck and reliability issues, the MCL60 remains highly dependent on minor upgrades throughout the season to compensate for its competitiveness.

The 22-year-old youngster will get considered as an advancement on Ricciardo. Maybe later in the season, we will witness far more consistency from the Papayas. As for Piastri, he remains relatively distant in the standings from his McLaren teammate Lando Norris. Still, the rookie has unquestionably ingrained several people in the F1 paddock.