Everybody knew that the drivers’ market was headed for a shake-up in 2007. It became clear that the contracts of the three best drivers in the world, Schumacher, Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso were all expiring at the same time – at end of 2006. It was a unique event in Formula One history and meant that all three could be driving at different teams in 2007. Nobody Is Perfect October 2009 T-Shirt In normal circumstances one or two of the top drivers might be out of contract at the same time, but never three. Yes my point is actually that in 2006, everyone believed Raikkonen and Alonso would share all titles between them for the next 10 years, and in the end it didn’t happen. So if history really were to repeat itself, Verstappen, Leclerc & co won’t win much, and guys still in junior series will share 9 WDCs.
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Lewis and Seb were still coming through. If you’d been asked on this day in 2009 who was going to win the WDC in the next decade, you’d have said Lewis, Seb and Fernando, right? It was clear by then that Kimi’s heart wasn’t in it, but we didn’t know that Fernando would go to Ferrari at that point (or if we did, we thought he’d be their next champion – I don’t think anyone expected Red Bull to be as good as they were, 2010-2013, and for Ferrari/Alonso to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory quite Nobody Is Perfect October 2009 T-Shirt like they did). In terms of the four I’ve mentioned above, I think it’s fairly clear that Max is a once in a generation talent and Leclerc has potential to be the same thing.
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We’re not sure about Russell yet but I think most agree he has an enormous amount of potential, and Norris is definitely good enough to challenge for race wins in the right car. Championships? Maybe, maybe not, still Nobody Is Perfect October 2009 T-Shirt too early to tell. I don’t see anyone in the junior series who would be capable of beating those guys… none of the current F2 grid are really F1-worthy (yet), or at least none of them are on the same level Russell-Norris-Albon were last year. That said, with the massive rules shakeup in 2021 maybe a midfield team will produce a consistent race winning car – I can see Racing Point having the potential to do that. But the big 3, 4 if you include McLaren and 5 if you include Renault, have got the drivers that will likely play a big part in F1’s next decade (Russell, Ocon, Leclerc, Max, Albon, Norris, Sainz, Ricciardo).