What are the Driver Options for McLaren Amidst Recent 2022 F1 Rule?

Published 10/01/2021, 8:21 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 27, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during practice REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Over the years, F1 teams have quite often presented a session or two to their respective academy drivers, with F2 and Alpine development driver, Guanyu Zhou, the latest to take an F1 car out for a stroll during FP1 at the Austrian Grand Prix this season.

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This is only the case with certain teams, while the others like Aston Martin, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull often stick with their own drivers through the entire race weekend. But, this trend is set to change from 2022, as F1 recently revealed that all of the teams must provide at least 2 practice sessions to a rookie.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Of course, for teams like Williams, Red Bull, and Ferrari, it doesn’t sound as complicated, as they run their own academy, most of whom are currently competing in either F2 or F3. But, what about McLaren? The only young driver they currently govern is a teen karting driver, Ugo Ugochukwu.

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Apart from the 13-year-old, there are drivers like Nyck de Vries, Oliver Turvey, and Oliver Rowland, but all of these drivers are over 25 years of age, and busy competing in Formula-E.

F2 drivers McLaren can call up for Practice in 2022

There are hardly any options to choose from for McLaren, with most of their rivals locking up more than half of the 2021 F2 grid. However, there are indeed a few drivers who are still without the backing of an F1 team. Let’s take a look at them.

Jake Hughes

The Briton is currently racing for the HWA Racelab F2 team since 2020. Hughes is yet to witness any sort of grand success in his racing career, with his highest-ever seasonal finish being P1 in the inaugural BRDC Formula 4 championship.

He was formerly a reserve driver for Mercedes in Formula-E. But, now, he is part of Mercedes’ simulator team in Formula 1 and is yet to make an on-track appearance.

David Beckmann

Beckmann is currently racing under the Campos Racing F2 team and has already secured a couple of podium finishes this season. Of course, the German is yet to win a championship trophy. However, he certainly has managed to claim decent finishes in GP3 and Formula 3.

He finished his 2018 GP3 season in P5, securing 137 points. In 2020, Beckmann also finished his second F3 campaign in P6 while driving for Trident.

Other F2 drivers for McLaren

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There is the Dutchman, Ben Viscaal, currently racing for the Trident Racing team in F2. He has performed comparatively well against his teammate, Marino Sato.

Finally, Ralph Boschung; the Swiss is lagging at the back of the grid at the moment, but his experience could come into play. He has competed in a total of 5 Formula 2 seasons so far.

Apart from these, there is one other driver that McLaren could pounce on: Dan Ticktum. Yes, he’s controversy-stricken. But, the Briton is still young and could deserve a shot at redemption. As of now, Ticktum is a lone driver with no backing from F1 teams, after Red Bull and Williams terminated the contract.

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Overall, these are the drivers that McLaren will be keeping an eye on. But, could there be more? Will Mercedes play a role in roping in other F2 drivers for F1 practice sessions next season? We’ll know in time.

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Rohit Kumar

1276 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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