Revealed: The five most under pressure drivers heading into F1 2024

Sam Cooper
Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and George Russell.

With only 20 seats, staying in F1 can be a tricky business.

Dealing with pressure is part of the job description for an F1 driver but some face a bigger year than others in F1 2024.

With long-term contracts a rarity in F1 and just 20 seats going, it is often a case of survival.

Each year they must prove themselves and these five need a particularly strong 2024 to answer some lingering questions.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull

The driver the most in the spotlight in 2024 is undoubtedly Sergio Perez.

He has a deal that runs until the end of this season but with an underwhelming 2023, there were plenty of question marks as to whether he would even make it into his final year.

The usually ruthless Red Bull gave Perez some slack, gifted that opportunity by the performances of Max Verstappen, but there is still a lot of pressure on the Mexican going into the new season.

He is still only 33 so has plenty of years left racing should he choose, but there is a real question of where he will be driving.

Right now, it seems like a two-way fight for that 2025 Red Bull seat but if Perez does not perform in 2024, do not be surprised to see a certain Australian given the nod…

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri

Speaking of that Australian…

Daniel Ricciardo may seem like the next Red Bull driver in waiting but he too has a challenge on his hands in 2024.

The Honey Badger’s stock could hardly have been lower after his McLaren exit in 2022 and while he was able to return to the grid with AlphaTauri, it was a truncated comeback due to his hand injury.

There are plenty who doubt how much of the old Ricciardo is left in there and 2024 will very much be a test to see if he is capable of returning to his old seat.

Should Red Bull decide to end their time with Perez, Ricciardo will need to have shown he is ready for that opportunity.

George Russell, Mercedes

Considering he is the only driver on this list who already has a contract into 2025, George Russell is under no pressure for his seat but he does need to put in some good performances after a troubled 2023.

His most consecutive points finishes last season was capped at four and he would go on to finish well behind Lewis Hamilton in the standings.

It was not something some would have seen coming considering how well he did in his debut year with Mercedes, but the question now is: is George Russell a good driver, or a good driver of bad cars?

If 2024 is another step forward next year, Russell needs to prove that he can battle at the front on a consistent basis and show Mercedes he is the man to bet on once Hamilton hangs up his helmet. recommends

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Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1

Away from the title contenders, there is another familiar name that is under a bit of pressure – Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn’s underwhelming 2023 passed by without any real notice as Alfa Romeo looked uncompetitive from the off, but while one season as of a write-off may be accepted, stretching that to two or even three raises questions.

Bottas is 34 and it is arguable that not since the start of the 2022 season have we seen him close to his best.

He has stated he wants to be there when Audi take over in 2026, but he has to prove he deserves that in the meantime.

Logan Sargeant, Williams

Rivalling Perez as the most under-threat driver on the grid comes at Williams with Logan Sargeant.

The young American looked as if he had been rushed into F1 a little too early in 2023 as he struggled to adapt in the same way that fellow rookie Oscar Piastri did.

But Williams kept stating they believed in him, saying he had targets to fulfil without revealing what they were, but is it a warning sign that it took until after the season had finished for his deal to be extended?

Sargeant finished 21st in the 2023 standings, ahead only of Nyck de Vries and a pointscorer only because both Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton were disqualified in Austin, and there were one too many rookie mistakes.

A sophomore season may bring out the best of Sargeant but, if not, it is unlikely his stay in F1 will continue much longer.

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