There is always big flow of new talent rising up through the open-wheel racing ladder. To get up the ladder, you need to stand out, especially towards the top end (Formula 1, Indycar, etc.). So who has been impressive this year?
DEAN STONEMAN (GBR)
Current series: Formula Two
Stoneman has won this years F2 championship, securing a test drive with WilliamsF1 team. He did this by winning six races and finishing on the podium 13 out of 18 times, finishing 42 points ahead of main rival Joylon Palmer.
His F2 title is a great addition to an already great resume; one which includes the 2008 Formula Renualt UK Graduate Cup and runner up in 2007 Formula Renault BARC, which he lost to fellow Brit Hwyel Lloyd, another impressive development driver.
CRAIG DOLBY (GBR)
Current series: Superleague Formula (SF)
With three races left, Dolby is 10 points behind leader and former champ Davide Rigon. His driving throughout the championship has been impressive and some of his overtaking manoeuvres have been sometimes brash, but incredibly brave and have mostly paid off. The winner of this years SF gets a F1 test and with five drivers still in the running for this test, Craig needs to rediscover his early season form.
An SF title would add to his Formula Renault Belgium title and last years second place finish in SF.
PASTOR MALDONADO (VEN)
Current series: GP2
Maldonado clinched the 2010 GP2 series in the penultimate race, despite not finishing the race. A GP2 title is almost a sure-fire way graduate to F1, as all five title holders, including 2008 F1 champ Lewis Hamilton have been in F1 at some point in their careers. He also has the prospect of becoming the first Venezuelan driver since Johnny Cecotto (1984) to drive in F1.
He adds the GP2 title to his Italian Formula Renault title in 2004 and his third place Formula Renualt 3.5 in 2005.
DANIEL RICCIARDO (AUS)
Current series: Formula Renault 3.5
He already holds the test driver role at Red Bull Racing, he still needs to prove his racing prowess. He currently sits only three points behind leader Mikhail Aleshin with two rounds to go. If he beats Aleshin is the last races, he would add this title to his 2008 Formula Renualt 2.0 West title (where he won 8 of 15 races) and his 2009 British F3 title. Though his best chance would?ve been a drive with his team, he may have to wait another year before he can get his chance in F1.
ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (MEX)
Current series: GP3
He clinched the GP3 title with two races to go, earning him a testing role with the Sauber team. He has been impressive over his short open-wheel career, winning the 2008 Formula BMW Europe at the age of 17 and runner up in 2007 Formula BMW America. A great prospect for the future.
CONOR DALY (USA)
Current series: Star Mazda
The son of former F1 veteran Derek Daly has set a record 9 poles, 7 wins and 11 podiums on his way to this years Star Mazda championship (with one race left), driving in a league of his own, adding this title to his Skip Barber National title. One to watch, coming through the American development series.
SCOTT PYE (AUS)
Current seires: Formula Ford
Pye has spent four years driving in Formula Ford, alternating between Australian, New Zealand and switching to British series this year, where, although lying 13 points behind leader Scott Malvern with one race to go, he has won 11 races, more than any driver this season.
YUJI KUNIMOTO (JPN)
Current series: All-Japan F3
Kunimoto has earned his FIA Super Licence by winning this years All-Japan F3 with a record ten wins a row. He has a good chance of making it to F1, as previous Japanese F3 winners include current drivers Adrian Sutil, Pedro de la Rosa, and other compatriots Naoki Hattori and Toshio Suzuki have also made it to F1.
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