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Special feature
FIA F2 Imola

The drivers who could become Britain's next F1 winners

There’s lots of British talent following George Russell and Lando Norris with the ambition of joining them on the list of British Formula 1 race winners. Here are the five names currently making the biggest waves

Luke Browning, Hitech Pulse-Eight, Sami Meguetounif, Trident

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

His long-awaited maiden Formula 1 victory in Miami made Lando Norris the 21st driver from the United Kingdom to become a grand prix winner. More racers from Britain than any other nation have stood on the top step of a world championship podium, a statistic which may be a source of hope for those aspiring hopefuls bubbling under in the junior categories.

Motorsport.com picks out five of the most likely names to follow in the footsteps of Norris, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the years to come.

By Jake Boxall-Legge, Stephen Lickorish & Marcus Simmons

Ollie Bearman

Bearman has already impressed this year when called up to sub for Sainz at Ferrari and has more chances to shine in FP1 sessions with Haas

Bearman has already impressed this year when called up to sub for Sainz at Ferrari and has more chances to shine in FP1 sessions with Haas

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Age: 19
Series: Formula 2 with Prema Racing
Highlights: 2021 ADAC & Italian F4 champion, 3rd in 2022 FIA F3, 7th in F1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP

Hotly tipped to take one of Haas’s 2025 seats given his impressive last-minute call-up to Ferrari in Jeddah for the unwell Carlos Sainz, Bearman appears to be the next British cab off the rank. A Ferrari Driver Academy member, Bearman has dovetailed his Haas and Ferrari reserve duties with his sophomore Formula 2 campaign for Prema in 2024.

He sacrificed an F2 pole in Saudi Arabia to cover for Sainz and, with minimal seat time, rather covered himself in glory by claiming seventh place – a performance that team principal Fred Vasseur considered a “mega job”.

Haas boss Ayao Komatsu also rates Bearman highly, labelling the Chelmsford-born racer as “impressive” and gave the squad “nothing to complain about” after his maiden FP1 session for the team in Mexico last season. After rejoining the outfit at Imola, he is set for further FP1 outings with the American team this term, as it considers options to replace Sauber-bound Nico Hulkenberg for next year.

It seems only a matter of time before Bearman steps up to F1 and, should he impress, he may become a contender for a full-time Ferrari drive in 2027. JBL

Zak O’Sullivan

F2 rookie O'Sullivan had his maiden Williams F1 outings after claiming second in the F3 standings last year

F2 rookie O'Sullivan had his maiden Williams F1 outings after claiming second in the F3 standings last year

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Age: 19
Series: Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix
Highlights: 2021 GB3 champion, 2nd in 2023 FIA F3

The winner of 2021’s Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award, O’Sullivan was duly signed to the Williams Driver Academy in early 2022 on the back of his GB3 Championship title. The Cheltenham native stepped up to F3 that year, joining Carlin for an impressive debut season before moving to Prema for his second year and finished second overall in a hotly contested championship – notably above fellow Williams junior Franco Colapinto.

Williams handed O’Sullivan his first outing in an official F1 session with an FP1 drive at the 2023 Abu Dhabi finale, and he got behind the wheel of its FW45 again in the Yas Marina end-of-season test.

Like Lando Norris, O’Sullivan started out in Ginetta Junior before moving up to an F4-level championship, losing the British title by just four points to fellow Williams junior Luke Browning. He now races in F2 with ART, partnering Alpine junior Victor Martins at the French squad.

Team principal James Vowles was keen to reshape the Williams junior operation on joining the team in 2023, but made sure to keep the “very intelligent” and “highly capable” O’Sullivan in the fold. JBL

Freddie Slater

The dominant Ginetta Junior champion of 2023, Slater is widely tipped to have a bright future ahead of him

The dominant Ginetta Junior champion of 2023, Slater is widely tipped to have a bright future ahead of him

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Age: 15
Series: Italian Formula 4 with Prema Racing
Highlights: 2023 Ginetta Junior champion, 2024 UAE F4 champion

He may still be in the very early stages of his single-seater career but, in many ways, Slater is the natural heir to Norris – not least because he is managed by the same ADD team that successfully guided the McLaren racer to Formula 1. Slater also has those key Norris traits of driving ability by the bucketload, and the financial backing to make it to the very top.

After a glittering karting career, Slater swept the opposition aside en route to record-breaking Ginetta Junior glory last year (something Norris was not able to do). His achievements were so spectacular that he even pipped the better-known British Touring Car Championship contenders to Autosport’s National Driver of the Year Award.

Slater has since starred in the Formula 4 world since celebrating his 15th birthday last August. He made his debut in the British series, then took pole on his Euro 4 debut at Monza with Prema Racing and impressed on the streets of Macau, before car troubles struck, and also clinched the UAE F4 title over the winter.

Now firmly ensconced in the all-conquering Italian squad, Slater dominated the opening weekend of the Italian series at Misano by winning all three contests as he continues to deliver head-turning performances. SL

Luke Browning

Victory in the Macau GP gave Browning's CV a boost, and he's continued that form into the new season of F3

Victory in the Macau GP gave Browning's CV a boost, and he's continued that form into the new season of F3

Photo by: Macau GP

Age: 22
Series: Formula 3 with Hitech GP
Highlights: 2020 British F4 champion, 2022 GB3 champion, 2023 Macau GP winner

Williams-backed Browning’s car racing journey began only three years after that of Norris, but his somewhat meandering career is not down to any lack of ability. Instead, he has perennially struggled for funding and has had to fight hard to climb every step up the ladder.

The Cheshire talent developed a reputation for excellent racecraft and wet-weather prowess right from his early days – his fight back to fourth from last after a mid-race pitstop in a wet 2018 Knockhill Ginetta Junior race just one example – before he landed the British Formula 4 crown in 2020 in a final-round shootout against Zak O’Sullivan that was almost as dramatic as the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.

He scooped GB3 honours in 2022, then won the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award – beating Ollie Bearman among others – later that year, which helped him to the next level.

An 11th-hour deal meant he started his rookie FIA F3 season with Hitech way short on mileage, and it yielded 15th in the standings. But he ended the year on a high by seriously impressing in his prize Aston Martin F1 test at Silverstone and was then sensational on his way to Macau GP glory. He has retained that momentum into the current F3 campaign and, thanks to a lights-to-flag win in the feature race at the Bahrain opener, he leads the way after the opening two events as his star continues to rise. SL

Arvid Lindblad

Lindblad counts support from Red Bull and made a strong impression with victory on his F3 debut in Bahrain

Lindblad counts support from Red Bull and made a strong impression with victory on his F3 debut in Bahrain

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Age: 16
Series: Formula 3 with Prema Racing
Highlights: 2023 3rd in Italian F4 and Macau F4 winner

Despite the name – dad is Swedish by birth and mum is of Indian descent – Lindblad is a Surrey boy. He was picked up by Red Bull during his glittering karting career, with Jos Verstappen believed to have played a role in this, while Oliver Rowland has guided him since his days in cadets, where he was a champion with the Yorkshireman’s team.

His first full season of cars, in Italian F4, looked sensational last year. By the end of June he had a massive championship lead and had won six of his 12 races with Prema. But mystery car ailments kiboshed his chances. With a new tub, he went on to win the Macau non-championship event in November.

Lindblad was realistic about his massive step up to F3 with Prema for 2024 – at Helmut Marko’s behest – but then went and won the sprint race at the Bahrain opener, in which he showed superb racecraft. Now his focus is on getting to the front in qualifying and feature races. To date he has qualified in the top 10 at all three rounds, and is the second-highest F3 rookie in the standings behind Imola feature winner Sami Meguetounif. MS

Who will be Britain's next F1 star?

Who will be Britain's next F1 star?

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

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