As we look forward to the 2024 Formula 1 season, one notable aspect stands out: there will be no new drivers on the starting grid. This striking absence of rookies in the premier class of motorsport is worrying several leading figures from the Formula 1 world.
Franz Tost, the former team boss of AlphaTauri, emphasizes the complexity of modern Formula 1 and the time it takes for young drivers to fully assimilate. ‘A Formula 1 training takes three years. You can’t expect a young driver to understand everything straight away. Only when everything has become second nature does the true potential become apparent,” he explains to Auto Motor und Sport.
However, this view is not shared by everyone. Alessandro Alunni Bravi, the deputy team boss at Alfa Romeo, defends the choice for stability. “Consistency and stability are important to us, especially for the current transformation process,” he says. But has this stability come at the expense of opportunities for newcomers?
Is Formula 1 becoming too expensive?
Sebastian Vettel, four-time world champion, warned about the rising costs in Formula 1 in 2021: ‘Of course the costs were already high when I started. In karting we also needed people like kart dealer Gerhard Noack to help us. But recently it has escalated and clearly become too expensive.” German driver Tim Tramnitz, who competed in the Formula Regional European Championship last season, shares his experiences and emphasizes the financial obstacles: ‘Many good German drivers did not make it due to the financial situation. It is also not easy to be admitted to the training programs, because they require something that is meaningful for both parties.’
Toto Wolff, team boss of Mercedes, even speaks of a ‘club for billionaire sons’. The team boss indicates that it is easier to enter the sport if you have a lot of money in your pocket. ‘I doubt whether children from privileged families always have it easy. But I want the basics to become cheaper, so that children without much money can also get a chance,” the Austrian explains.