Who will be the next New Zealand's F1 driver?

This topic contains 16 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Girts 6 years, 1 month ago.

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    I believe that New Zealand is one of those countries that deserve a place on Formula 1 map but are not there at the moment. There has never been a Formula 1 Grand Prix in NZ and there have been no Kiwi F1 drivers since 1984. Keith had an article on New Zealand as one of F1’s lost nations a couple of years ago.

    So the question is: do you think it might change, let’s say, over the next 5 years? If yes, who could be the next Kiwi driver in F1? I guess Scott Dixon is the most famous motor racer representing NZ at the moment. However, I chose some youngsters who I believe could make it:

    Brendon Hartley – age 21, lost Red Bull backing last year, currently 7th in 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 championship standings

    Richie Stanaway – age 19, leading German F3 championship at the moment

    Mitch Evans – age 17, backed by Mark Webber, currently 6th in 2011 GP3 championship standings

    Also, is there any chance of New Zealand hosting an F1 Grand Prix in the next 5 or 10 years? If yes, where could the race take place? Taupo?

    It would be great to read the opinions of New Zealand’s F1 fanatics, too.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    I think the only way Formula 1 will visit New Zealand will be if Australia gives up its race. There’s not much space on the calendar at the moment, and a long list of countries – Russia, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa a second American race, and a new contract for Turkey – trying to get their foot in the door. But if Australia passes on their race, New Zealand might be in with a chance. As for where it could take place, I have no idea.

    Speaking of the drivers, I’d say Evans has the best shot. I think Hartley’s star has fallen, especially since Daniel Riccardo has overtaken him as Red Bull’s point man. Stanaway is in F3, but he’d probably have to move into GP3 before stepping up to GP2, unless he really obliterates the competition in German F3. But Evans is young, has Webber’s backing and his 6th place in GP3 is a little misleading because the drivers have been playing roulette with the championship standings in the past few races.



    Speaking as a NZ F1 fan, Mitch Evans is the best hope we have for a F1 driver due to his obvious skill and having access to a world class driver as a mentor always helps. And at one point he was leading the GP3 championship only to slip down the order due to being taken out in the past two races.

    As for a race, I agree with PM, the only way we will get a race is if Australia gives theirs up and even then I reckon it would be in rotation with an Australian race, we simply don’t have the facilities to host an annual F1 race, however we have a new circuit being developed that is just off the motorway between Hamilton and Auckland called Hampton Downs, it has picked up a number of contracts for future races, and is likely to take over the V8 Supercars once the Hamilton contract expires, currently the track can’t take F1 (only being FIA Grade 2) but there are rumours of a Moto GP race there in the future.

    International Motorsport Park and activity venue

    But I really don’t think we could get a race here, we are simply to small a country to host such a large event, (our entire population of both islands is only a few hundred thousand above just Melbournes population) as for drivers, there are a number of up and coming drivers here and I wouldn’t be suprised to see at least one on the grid in the next 5 years.


    Nic Morley

    I think there should be a New Zealand Grand Prix. It frustrates me that Spain have two GP’s and apparently USA will have two.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    Spain has two Grands Prix because of the popularity of the sport. America does not yet have two races, because the application for the Grand Prix in New Jersey is still to be submitted to Bernie. If New Zealand does not have a Grand Prix, it is because there is no support for an event. When was the last time a New Zealand Grand Prix was even rumoured?


    Nic Morley

    But still it is annoying. In MotoGP there are four Spain races!



    Nz wont have a GP, the government would be burnt down for even thinking of spending money on a sport that isnt rugby! Nz is delusional about how many people watch rugby in nz, id say less than 15% would watch the all blacks play when a test is on



    After the earthquakes I don’t the NZ has the money to host a GP or would want to spend the money on it for now.

    And yes I hear Harvs on the All Blacks, sometimes the UK can be the same about sports and Royal Wedding as if nothing else is happening in anyone elses life! “The Whole World Is Watching” is one of the most over-used statements ever!


    Stephen Jones

    Hartley should get a seat, but Evans is my bet for the next man in F1.. New Zealand really embraces their motorsport, even from Grass-Roots level. The Karting Championships are all really well publicised and well presented, and the drivers just keep appearing..

    I thought Australia was punching above its weight! but with a population just over the size of Melbourne’s, New Zealand is probably a world leader in churning out top class Racing Drivers..



    Formula One has been to New Zealand, in a way http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasman_Series (Formula One chassis with different engines)

    But a driver is the only way they’re going to get back into F1 any time soon.



    The lesser known Tasman Series, Icthyes? :D That’s the very series that brought F1 to a small town half an hour from my house here in Tasmania. It finished so long ago that my dad was only a toddler and can barely remember it, but my grandfather often tells me stories of when he met all of the famous drivers. He’s always said Jim Clark was the nicest F1 driver he ever had the pleasure of speaking to.

    I digress; continue thread. Icthyes will never mention the Tasman Series again. ;)



    What about the guys who drove for New Zealand in A1?

    Matt Halliday

    Johnny Reid

    Chris van der Drift

    Earl Bamber

    How well are they doing in other formulae?

    Especially Reid, who was the main challenger to Switzerland/Neel Jani in the 2007/08 season.



    I think Mitch Evans is the most likely to be the next NZ driver. He’s got backing from Webber, and has shown some promising signs in GP3.

    I think others such as Halliday and Reid have left their runs too late.




    Really none of those show enough promise to be in F1, Bamber is in his 20’s and was beaten soundly by Evans in Mitch’s first season of the Toyota Racing Series when he was only 15.

    Mitch Evans will be our next F1 driver and realistically the only other driver that could make it still would be Brendan Hartley, Scott Dixon tested for Williams a few years ago (2004/5) but didn’t get the drive (with Webber and Heidfeld taking the seats instead) so he is out of contention and those are our top 3 open wheel drivers at this point.

    And since most of us seem to agree Evans will be the next NZ F1 driver, in what season do you think he will become part of the F1 community (i.e including a test/reserve driver role) personally I think 2013/2014 is realistic, another GP3 season then a move to GP2 which may include a test driver role or if not the next season should, and I would imagine with his links to both Mark and Christian, Torro Rosso/Red Bull would be where he ends up.



    I think 2014 is very realistic as Evans will be 19 by the start of that season and he has already achieved a lot.

    Jarred, what do you think is the reason why there are now quite many young New Zealanders in different high-class feeder series? I think there were not so many some years ago. Have Toyota Racing Series helped the matter? Or is it, as iamsa8 said, the general approach to motorsports that gives young and talented drivers good opportunities to grow?

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