F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and as a result, is one of the hardest sorts to break into.
With just 20 spots on offer, drivers looking to get into the competition find it incredibly difficult to secure a route in and even being part of an academy is no guarantee.
From F2 winners to former F1 drivers, here are six drivers looking for a 2025 seat.
Mick Schumacher is the only driver on this list to have had a permanent F1 seat but he is also perhaps one of the least likely to get another go.
The problem with Schumacher is he is a known quantity. Whereas the others have exciting potential and questions yet unanswered, the Formula 1 world largely knows what Schumahcer can do even if it did come in difficult circumstances at Haas.
It was there that Kevin Magnussen, an experienced driver but by no means a world beater, comfortably outscored him and it was telling that no one came calling after a year out in 2023.
He will at least be driving this year with Alpine in WEC but it is hard to see a route back into F1 for the young German.
Of all the drivers on this list, Liam Lawson looks the most likely to reach the promised land.
Red Bull have all but guaranteed him a seat in 2025 but the only question is where?
The obvious destination would be AlphaTauri with Daniel Ricciardo either moving up to Red Bull or out of the sport and Yuki Tsunoda likely to remain in place until the partnership with Honda ends.
But could a move come sooner? In theory, if Red Bull opt to remove Sergio Perez before the end of 2025, a seat will most likely open up at AT which Lawson will be a prime candidate for.
He could even go on loan to another constructor, say Williams if Logan Sargeant does not improve, before returning to the Red Bull family – similar to George Russell’s path at Mercedes.
Winning F2 used to give you a good chance of moving up into F1 but these days, the reality is rather different.
Of the five most recent F2 champions, it is only Oscar Piastri who has a seat for 2024 and while the likes of Nyck de Vries were given a chance, it was not immediately after their success.
Pourchaire faces a similar situation to recent F2 champions of not having an obvious route to go.
He is a Sauber academy product which suggests a seat will be open to him in time but Valtteri Bottas looks set to continue for a little while yet.
That would mean Zhou Guanyu stepping aside, which does seem possible with rumours that Sauber were even debating bringing in Pourchaire for this coming season at the expense of the Chinese driver.
Felipe Drugovich is Theo Pourchaire but a year further down the line having won F2 in 2022 and then signed with Aston Martin as reserve driver later that year.
In 2023, he got a good amount of time in the car due to Lance Stroll’s pre-season injury but it has yet to translate into race action.
In 2024 he will fulfil a similar role but with Fernando Alonso looking likely to extend beyond this year and Lance Stroll’s contract status unknown, the Brazilian may have to look for opportunities elsewhere if he wants an F1 spot.
Pato O’Ward is the most experienced driver on this list having completed four full seasons of IndyCar racing and also a significant portion of time in an F1 car with McLaren but, like the others, there is not an obvious route into F1.
He is part of the McLaren driver development programme but both of the current McLaren F1 drivers are younger than the Mexican is.
It would seem likely then that he will stay in IndyCar for at least the near future as he looks to turn his title ambitions into silverware.
Colton Herta’s F1 future seems to be very much linked to that of Andretti’s with the 23-year-old all but assured a seat should the American family be given an F1 spot.
But the problem is a superlicence. As of right now, Herta has 22 points which is 18 short of what he needs to be granted one. It is, of course, a situation Herta is familiar with after Red Bull sought to bring him last season, only to be rejected by the FIA.
Andretti will not be entered in 2024 meaning Herta has at least a year to boost his points total but the problem is IndyCar is valued so poorly by the FIA.
To be eligible for a 2025 slot, Herta would need to win the whole series which, considering he finished 10th in the last two campaigns, is a tough task.