In Formula 1, many different drivers go through review. Almost every season, a number of drivers have to make room for young talent, and they have to leave because they can’t afford it or they simply turn out to be short.
Formula 1 is a place where drivers come and go. One knows how to compete at the highest level for years and make their mark on the sport, the other has to watch patiently as their seat quickly moves to the next. For example, Kimi Raikkonen (with a two-year vacation) worked for more than twenty years, while Brendon Hartley, for example, quickly disappeared from sports. We still regularly see a number of former top-tier pilots in the ring as TV analysts, for example, but some of them have disappeared from the radar a little more. In this GPFans Special Let’s take a look at what some former Formula 1 drivers have been up to in recent years.
Nico Rosberg is probably a familiar story to most people. The 36-year-old German beat teammate Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2016 and, after a busy season in Abu Dhabi, clinched the world title. A few days later, he caused a wave of surprise by announcing his retirement from Formula 1. He hasn’t been idle since then. Today Rosberg is active on YouTube with over 1.2 million subscribers, he works as a Formula 1 expert at Sky Sports F1 and we still see him regularly on the track, and since then he has created his very own Extreme E team: Rosberg X Racing.
Felipé Massa is another big name that said goodbye to Formula 1 a few years ago. The superb Brazilian player finished his stellar career at the end of 2017. In 2008 he was world champion with Ferrari for 30 seconds, until Lewis Hamilton passed four corners for Timo Glock before the end of the race and took the title. In total, Massa wrote eleven Grand Prix victories to his name. He then moved on to Formula E, where he raced 24 races between 2018 and 2020. Today, Massa is active in the Brazilian Pro Stock Car series, having formed a duo with the same Timo Glock in February.
With Jenson Button we have another former world champion on this list. The Briton clinched the championship in 2009 with GB Brown. Button moved to McLaren in 2010, ending his career in 2016. In 2017, he made his last appearance as a reserve driver in Monaco, where Fernando Alonso entered the Indy 500. Today he works as a consultant for the Williams team, working regularly on the network as an analyst for Sky Sports and as a Sky Sports analyst. Rosberg grounded perfectly. His Extreme E Team: JBXE.
Stoffel Vandoorne drove two full seasons for McLaren in 2017 and 2018 with teammate Fernando Alonso. The British superpower was poor these years and Vandoorne was forced to leave the field due to disappointing results. He moved on to Formula E, where he made his debut at HWA Racelab. In 2019, he moved to the Formula E team for Mercedes, where he continues to form the current squad with Nyck de Vries. He and his teammates are also a reserve driver for the Formula 1 stable at Zilverpijlen.
Another well-known name is Joylon Palmer. Despite the fact that his Formula 1 career does not contain impressive statistics, he is a welcome guest both on and off the field. Palmer traveled to Renault (originated from Lotus) between 2016 and 2017 and collected a total of nine points in 37 races. Today he appears regularly as a BBC analyst or commentator, although he has been living his life in the background in recent years. His last Instagram post, for example, was on March 23, 2020.
Pascal Wehrlin also did not have a long residence in the royal class. The German made his debut in the sport in 2016 with Team Manor, after which he moved to Sauber in 2017. However, the following year, he had to make way for Charles Leclerc, ending his stellar adventure. Wehrlein is back at DTM with Team Mercedes. This was also a short-lived stay. In 2019, the 27-year-old made the switch to Formula E, where he now drives for the Porsche team. He recently won the Mexico E-Prix. With this he wrote his first victory for the team.
Marcus Ericsson has been in Formula 1 a little longer. The Swede made his Caterham debut in 2014. He had a good starting season and was signed by Sauber for 2015. Here he drove until the 2018 season, with Wehrlein and Leclerc as his teammates. In 2019, Sauber chose Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen, which means there is no longer room for Ericsson. He crossed the ocean and got into the US IndyCar series for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. It’s now in its fourth season in the biggest racing class in the United States. Today he drives a Chip Ganassi Racing car.
We haven’t heard much from Brendon Hartley since leaving Formula 1. The New Zealander drove two Grand Prixes of Toro Rosso in 2017 as a reserve driver. In 2018, he rode here for a full season alongside Pierre Gasly. However, he was not able to break any bowls and was replaced by Alexander Albon at the end of the season. Hartley is one of many Red Bull talents who quit the sport as quickly as they got in. But since he left he hasn’t cut off his helmet. Hartley still travels the world to complete races. This year, as in 2021, he will be driving in WEC for Team Toyota Racing.
Daniil Kvyat is another well known name that is no longer on the net. The Russian has had an eventful career, driving with Toro Rosso, Red Bull Racing and Alfa Touri, but his career as a full-time F1 driver appears to be over. He is still active as a reserve driver for the Alpine team. He was also scheduled to lead several races in the WEC for the G-Drive team, but the Russian team boss refused to sign the form in which Russian athletes would give up their ties to their homeland due to the situation in Ukraine. Kvyat has no team because of this.
Romain Grosjean has revived his racing career across the pond. The Frenchman drove the car for more than ten years in Formula 1, but had to leave the Haas team at the end of 2020. He made the switch to the IndyCar series, where he drove a Dale Coyne Racing car. Since this year it has been signed by Andretti Autosport, a big name in the American racing category. Grosjean is in good shape at present.
Finally, of course, Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn left the sport in his own way last year after an impressive career: silently and without fanfare. The 2007 world champion led a total of 19 seasons in Formula 1. Since leaving, the atmosphere has been quiet around The Iceman. In any case, he never hid that he had little to do with all the public interest in his actions. Today he is active as a manager for the Kawasaki Racing Team at MXGP, the largest racing class in motocross.
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