Following on from part 1 in which I listed my reimagined pairings for the first 5 teams, here is part 2.
Piastri’s drama-filled introduction into McLaren definitely got the world of F1 talking and 8 rounds in, it looks as though McLaren’s risky decision has paid off. Heading into a team in which Lando has already solidified his position and established himself as one of the best drivers on the grid, Piastri had a daunting task ahead of him but, he’s managed to keep pace with his teammate and has easily been the most impressive rookie of the year. In a similar vein, Tsunoda has also stepped up to the plate this year and has comprehensively beaten his rookie teammate, De Vries, to everyone’s surprise. Although Tsunoda’s teammate is a rookie he is also an F2 champion and a Formula E champion so many expected him to at least equal Yuki this year, if not surpass him. However, Tsunoda has proved many people wrong by stepping up into the leadership role at Alpha Tauri. I think Tsunoda and Piastri would make a solid pairing as they have both shown glimpses into what they’re capable of, but being in the same team may push each driver even further.
Alfa Romeo: Zhou/Perez
In my opinion this pairing does not differ to much from the current driver pairing at Alfa Romeo of Zhou/Bottas. I think Zhou has shown an improvement from last year but it has been quite difficult to judge given the reliability issues of the Alfa Romeo combined with the lack of pace. I still think it would be beneficial to have an experienced driver alongside Zhou and Perez fits the bill perfectly as he is a multiple race winner with enough experience to lead the team and pull them forward. Perez was extremely impressive in his Force India/Racing Point days and he would serve as a high benchmark for Zhou to measure up to.
Alpha Tauri: De Vries/Albon
Albon is currently leading the way at Williams and I think De Vries would greatly benefit from having Albon as a teammate. I think it’s fair to say that De Vries has not lived up to the expectations that the F1 world had put on him following his one of Williams drive in 2022, but it may just take some adjusting to F1 before he is able to pick up the pace and match his teammate. Albon has managed to drag that Williams much further up the grid than it belongs and this would serve as a great learning point for De Vries as he acclimatises himself into F1. Albon and De Vries have both experienced the cut throat nature of F1 with De Vries only being granted a full-time drive in 2023, which has already been called into question, and Albon having to sit out for a year in 2021 as he was cut from the grid. Both drivers know what is required of them in order to maintain their seat in the sport and I think that they could become quite strong contenders in the midfield, as they both have the experience but are also young enough to build Alpha Tauri into a more competitive team.
When thinking of this pairing the first thought that comes to mind is reliable, Haas have previous experience with swapping out their accomplished line up in favour of two rookies and it couldn’t have gone any worse for them. Considering that Haas is one of the smallest teams on the grid, they cannot afford to take as many risks as some of the bigger teams such as Redbull, Mercedes and Ferrari who are able to use their sister/junior teams to refine their rookies. Instead, Haas must rely on drivers who have already proved themselves in the sport. Magnussen has shown from the very first moment that he jumped back in the car in Bahrain 2022 that he was up to task as he took a P5 finish for the team and later went on to secure pole in Brazil. Bottas’ stint at Mercedes is more than enough to qualify him for this drive as he is a multiple race winner and could put the pressure on Hamilton on his best days.
Sargeant making his F1 debut at Williams seems fitting as he hasn’t been the best performing rookie but being at Williams will allow him to gradually develop as a driver without the pressure of being in a team closer to the top of the grid. Stroll on the other hand has not been able to really come close to the level of his teammate on a consistent basis, granted his teammate is Fernando Alonso, but we’ve seen what that Aston Martin is capable of and I think Stroll may be the factor that is holding the team back. Whilst he did deliver more than anyone expected at the beginning of the year, Stroll seems to have slowly tailed off and has become rather anonymous in a car that is able to challenge for podiums week in and week out. Pairing up with Sargeant at Williams will allow him to take a leadership role within the team and compete in the midfield as I don’t think he is capable of reaching the heights of drivers that we’ve come to see in the top teams.
Which picks do you agree or disagree with?