The Covid pandemic did a number on a lot of drivers plans and left some stranded without a drive for an entire year. But even ignoring the virus, feeder series are getting more expensive by the year, which means drivers are not just dropping out because of a lack of talent. We take a look at nine of them.
By Ed Spencer
Mahaveer Raghunathan (Formula 2)
Raghunathan had a truly diabolical rookie season at MP Motorsport where he racked up more penalty points than actual points as the Indian looked completely lost in his maiden season in the second tier of motorsport.
With a race ban and a single point as well as several eyebrow-raising moves it was hardly surprising that MP looked elsewhere for 2020 leaving Raghunathan on the sidelines for the following season.
However, with his sponsorship money still behind him, Raghunathan is looking for a return to Formula 2 at some stage in 2021.
Jordan King (Formula 2)
Raghunathan’s teammate Jordan King wasn’t so lucky either in attaining a ride for 2020 as King found his sportscar programme with Ginetta cancelled after the World Endurance Championship postponed the Sebring 1000km.
Since then King has not been able to find a drive in any series and with Ginetta ending its LMP1 campaign at the end of the year, it looks that King’s options are limited for 2021 with sportscars going through a transitional period as well as other championships filling up.
Giorgio Carrara (Formula 3)
In 2019 Giorgio Carrera had spells in four championships which included spells in three Formula 4 championships and a brief foray in the Formula 3 championship all with Jenzer Motorsport.
Although the talented Argentine who races under a Swiss licence took four wins in the Spanish and Italian Formula 4 series, Carrara couldn’t step up with Jenzer for a full-time drive in Formula 3 due to a lack of funds leaving the Argentine on the sidelines for the season.
The good news for Carrera is that he is still a part of the Jenzer team doing simulator work however his plans for 2021 are up in the air and which series he will race in for next season.
Billy Monger (EF Open)
2019 saw one of the feel-good stories of the motorsport year when Billy Monger, two years after losing his legs in a Formula 4 crash at Donington, won the Pau Grand Prix for Carlin in a truly remarkable turnaround for the man they call “Billy Whizz”.
Sadly for Monger 2020 would see him unable to race, leaving him on the sidelines to test the new Extreme E Spark ODYSSEY 21 as well as TV punditry for Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage.
Although Monger was set to drive in Extreme E for 2021 a team has yet to be found for the Brit and his future remains unknown.
Leonardo Lorandi (Formula Renault EU)
The brother of ex Trident Formula 3 driver Alessio, the younger of the two Lorandi’s spent the 2020 season on the sidelines.
After being left on the sidelines for the following season after a wretched Formula Renault Eurocup campaign which saw him only manage one podium, Lorandi spent the 2020 season neutering the next generation of Italian talent at the South Garda Karting track.
It is unclear whether both Lorandi’s will find a championship to race in for 2021.
Marta Garcia (W Series)
Spending 2018 on the sidelines after being dropped by the Renault junior academy, Marta Garcia was one of the best finds of the 2019 W Series season taking a win at the Norisring and in turn kept her racing career alive.
Garcia was meant to spend a second season in the series but with the championship being cancelled in early June Garcia and most of her W Series colleagues spent the season on the sidelines.
However, Garcia like W Series will be back for the 2021 season and with a place on the Formula 1 support bill for the series the possibilities that Garcia could be catching the eye of Formula 3 and Formula 2 team bosses.
Emma Kimilainen (W Series)
At the age of 31, Emma Kimilainen proved to many that despite her age as well as her complications from a neck injury that she could still compete with the best with a win at Assen and fifth in the inaugural W Series despite missing two rounds of the season.
Despite that upward momentum from the second half of the W Series, Kimilainen faced a year at home when the W Series cancelled at the beginning of the summer.
But Kimilainen is set to comeback with the W Series when the series returns to action in 2021
Sebastian Alvarez (British F4)
Last year was a season of triumph for Sebastian Alvarez as the young Mexican’s stock rose rapidly after finishing runner up in the British Formula 4 championship taking five wins on the way to being just pipped for the title by Zane Maloney.
Alvarez was due to graduate to British F3 with Double R Racing however financial circumstances relating Covid-19 meant that he lost his drive and with it, a season on the bench beckoned.
The Mexican has returned to testing a Formula 4 car just last month however and is hoping to do British F3 in 2021.
Conrad Clark (Chinese F4)
Kiwi Conrad Clark had a dominant 2019 winning the Chinese Formula 4 championship by over seventy points and not finishing out of the top six in any of the championship’s races.
Despite the success, Clark’s only racing in 2020 took place on the simulator in the FR Americas Iracing invitational championship without success as the New Zealander finished off his schooling career whilst on the sidelines.
Clark is looking at returning to racing in Formula Regional in the United States or Japan for 2021 although those plans have yet to be fully confirmed due to the pandemic.
“Last year was a bit of a funny one especially coming off the back of the first championship win I didn’t expect to be having a year as I have, but for 2021 there’s is a big attraction and have been doing some testing with Toyota, but are yet to finalise and confirm what I’m doing as sponsorship is the last part of the puzzle that I need so fingers crossed I’ll be in a car soon and then beyond next year depending on COVID 19 I’d be looking towards formula regional in America or Japan.”