Ranked: Which team has the most efficient academy for finding F1 talent?

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

These three are the jewels of their respective team’s academies.

Although the idea of nurturing young drivers has been going on for decades, Formula 1 took a step up in professionalism in the 21st century.

Almost all constructors now have their own academies, designed to find the next Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton.

Of course, that is easier said than done, so here are all nine current teams (excluding AlphaTauri) ranked by the percentage of their academy alumni to make it into F1.

It should be noted that a driver is counted for a team regardless of how long they were a part of the academy and a driver, such as Zhou Guanyu, can also be included in multiple team’s tallies.


Haas are currently the only outfit on the grid not to have a junior academy but they do give young Ferrari blood a chance.

Charles Leclerc is the most notable example of this having tested for Haas during 2016.

AMF1 Driver Development Programme

Drivers: 1
Percentage made it to F1: 0%
Percentage won an F1 race: 0%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 0%

In defence of Aston Martin, this is the newest academy on the grid having only been established in 2022 and as of now, Felipe Drugovich is the sole member of it.

He joined in 2022 after winning the F2 world title but has so far had to bide his time behind Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso in his quest for a full-time seat.

Sauber Academy

Drivers: 27
Percentage made it to F1: 0%
Percentage won an F1 race: 0%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 0%

The Sauber Academy is one of the newer ones on the grid having been born into life in 2019 in collaboration with Czech team Charouz Racing System.

In total, 27 drivers have been a member at one point but none of them have yet to make it to Formula 1.

However that could change in the next few years with Théo Pourchaire knocking on the door off the back of his F2 title win in 2023.

Red Bull Junior Team

Drivers: 93
Percentage made it to F1: 18.28%
Percentage won an F1 race: 5.38%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 2.15%

Now this may come as quite the surprise but the reason why Red Bull’s percentage is so low is because they have had more drivers on their books than anyone.

Red Bull’s junior programme actually started before the team even existed with the academy being set up in 2001. Initially it was to help young drivers into F1 but now with two teams in place, the goal is clear – find the next big talent for their own benefit.

And on that front, they have been very successful. 50% of the last four world champions have come through the Red Bull academy and it has developed generational talents such as Sebasitan Vettel and Max Verstappen.

They have also had the most drivers go on to get F1 seats with a total of 17 and even though their percentage may be low, there is a good argument that Red Bull now have the finest young driver academy.

Ferrari Driver Academy

Drivers: 26
Percentage made it to F1: 23.08%
Percentage won an F1 race: 7.69%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 0%

Despite being in the sport since 1950, Ferrari’s academy is much younger having been set up in 2009.

Of those to have been through it, Charles Leclerc is the lead candidate but Sergio Perez as well as Lance Stroll were members at one point.

23% of their academy products have gone on to compete in F1 while 7.69% have won a race (Leclerc and Perez).

They are still waiting for their homegrown title win so can Leclerc be the one to do it?

Alpine Academy

Drivers: 56
Percentage made it to F1: 25%
Percentage won an F1 race: 5.36%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 0%

Alpine have one of the oldest academies on the grid but it has gone through a lot of name changes since its 2002 inception.

It started life as the RF1 Driver Programme before becoming Renault Driver Development and then Renault Sport Academy but when the team was bought by Lotus, it turned into the LRGP Academy and then Lotus F1 Team iRace Professional Programme followed by Lotus F1 Junior Team.

After Lotus’ messy departure, it returned to Renault and following the team’s rebrand, it become the Alpine Academy.

Despite its longevity, it has yet to produce a genuine superstar with just three drivers having won a race.

Oscar Piastri looks likely to add to that number but is of course doing so in the papaya of McLaren.

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Mercedes Junior Team

Drivers: 11
Percentage made it to F1: 27.27%
Percentage won an F1 race: 9.09%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 0%

Mercedes started their own drivers programme four years after their return to the sport and one of their most famous alumni is George Russell who sent Toto Wolff an email asking for a place.

A year and half later and he was their simulator driver before moving to Mercedes at the start of 2022.

Other drivers include Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein but a rising star to keep an eye out for is Andrea Kimi Antonelli who, having won the FRECA championship, is taking the big leap to F2 in 2024.

McLaren Driver Development Programme

Drivers: 25
Percentage made it to F1: 28%
Percentage won an F1 race: 4%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 4%


The oldest academy on the current grid can also claim to have produced some of the finest drivers.

Lewis Hamilton is of course the standout having joined in 1998 before winning the world title nine years later but Lando Norris also looks a potential world champion.

Of the 25 drivers to have been a part of it, seven have made it to F1 but it is only Hamilton who has won a race. Will Norris change that in 2024?

Williams Driver Academy

Drivers: 25
Percentage made it to F1: 28%
Percentage won an F1 race: 4%
Percentage won an F1 world title: 4%

In terms of drivers nurtured into F1, Williams just pip their long-term rival McLaren by 0.57%. 14 drivers have been registered to the Williams academy and four of them have made it to F1 including 2023 rookie Logan Sargeant.

They have however failed to win a race yet but that could change in 2024 should either of Stroll or Sargeant take a surprise victory.

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