FEBRUARY 28, 2024

F1 leaving young drivers behind?

Ralf Schumacher says he's "worried" that the flow of young talent onto the Formula 1 grid has ground to a halt for 2024.

Start, Dutch GP 2023
© Alfa Romeo

This season is the first time in the sport's entire modern history in which not a single rookie will be on the grid.

Future Mercedes driver Kimi Antonelli, currently just 17, could stop that trend next year, but there is no doubt that the value of older and more experienced drivers has soared in recent times.

Even Sebastian Vettel, 36, is now being linked with a sensational return to F1 for 2025.

As long as he can't use e-fuels, he won't come back, Schumacher told Bild newspaper.

What he does agree with, however, is that advancing years is no longer a big disadvantage in Formula 1.

But that's exactly why I'm a bit worried about the trend in Formula 1 in general, said the German. "Drivers are getting older and older.

"Don't get me wrong, Fernando Alonso still drives brilliantly. But I'm worried about the young ones. For the second time we have a Formula 2 champion who has not ended up in Formula 1, but instead seeks his fortune in the USA.

The sport is much cheaper there and you can still earn a lot of money, Schumacher added, referring to Indycar. "Formula 1 cannot be happy about this trend.

Maybe we should think about setting up a junior team that everyone supports to give the young people a real chance again, Schumacher concluded.