Whatever Happened to…?

A look at former F1 drivers and where they are now

Let me set the scene…

It’s midnight. I’m lying-in bed. My dog Wilbur is cuddled up next to me – I stare at the ceiling. Many things are running through my head…‘when’s the last time I changed my Brita filter? Where did I put my passport? and THEN…what happened to Brendon Hartley?’

In an attempt to calm my midnight thoughts, I thought I would share where some of our favorite F1 drivers from the past four seasons are now.

Brendon Hartley

Hartley is an interesting case. He raced for Scuderia Toro Rosso, now AlphaTauri F1 in 2017 and competed full-time in 2018. A former Red Bull Junior driver, Hartley had numerous missed opportunities and driver replacements during the first few years of his career. During his 2018 season in F1 he found his best finish was ninth and was soon replaced by Alexander Albon. He was never really given a chance, but a lot of talented drivers aren’t.

Following F1, Hartley like a lot of drivers, made the move to Formula E. Hartley raced in the first five-rounds of the 2019-2020 season for GEOX Dragon, but was soon replaced by Sérgio Sette Câmara.

Today, Hartley races in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with Toyota Gazoo Racing. He is finding success in the series and in one-off races. In 2020 Hartley and his team took home the win in the coveted 24hrs of Le Mans and he continues to make the most of every opportunity given.

Stoffel Vandoorne

We saw Vandoorne as Fernando Alonso’s teammate at McLaren F1 from 2016-2018. If you know racing, then you know that this was a “transition and rebuild,” period resulting in high-emotional reactions from drivers, bosses and engine manufacturers alike. It was no surprise that the Vandoorne McLaren relationship ended when it did.

Although an extremely talented driver, Vandoorne did not fit into the culture of McLaren and in turn, was unable to get a ride in the following seasons. Luckily Vandoorne created a relationship with Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 and was able to find a full-time ride in the rising series, Formula E.

Today Vandoorne is a force in Formula E, racing for Mercedes-Benz EQ FE. In addition, Vandoorne is the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 reserve driver. Vandoorne should have had the opportunity to take Lewis Hamilton’s spot in the 2020 Sakhir Grand-Prix when Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19, but the team made the decision to employ Williams F1 driver, George Russell instead…

Drama.

Marcus Ericsson

At the end of his F1 career, Ericsson was teammates with the iconic Charles Leclerc at Sauber, now Alfa Romeo Racing. When Leclerc switched places with Kimi Räikkönen from Sauber to Scuderia Ferrari F1 it was clear that Ericsson’s future at the team was challenged. Eventually it was announced that Ericsson would not be returning.

Ericsson is currently racing in IndyCar (we love to see it) for Chip Ganassi Racing. With numerous top-five finishes Ericsson is finding his stride in the series, and with Ganassi, I am sure a win is not too far for the young Swede. The IndyCar family is very lucky to have him.

Hopefully I’ll get a more peaceful sleep now.

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