There are currently four sons of ex-F1 drivers already in F1 – Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer, Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen. There’s a chance they’ll be joined by more in the next few years because there are a load of sons of former drivers racing across the junior single-seater categories at the moment, and some of them are performing pretty well. Here are some of the names you might be getting to know (again) in the next few seasons.
Giuliano Alesi – GP3
Son of the legendary Jean Alesi, Giuliano’s career is still very much in it’s infancy. After finishing 4th in the French F4 championship in 2015 he joined the Ferrari Driver Academy and moved up to GP3 for 2016. He’s managed just one point so far this season in a competitive field, but at only 17 years old has plenty of time to develop and progress.
Louis Delétraz – Formula V8 3.5
Louis’ father, Jean-Denis, only competed in three Grands Prix for cash-strapped backmarkers Larrousse and Pacific and was somewhat out of his depth, but went on to have success in endurance racing, taking two class wins at Le Mans.
But at just 19 years old Louis Delétraz has every chance of making it to F1 on merit – he dominated the Formula Renault NEC championship in 2015, and came close to winning this years’ Formula V8 3.5 crown, just being pipped by Tom Dillmann in a tightly-fought battle. He certainly has the right guidance for the future as part of Renault’s young driver programme.
Pedro Piquet – FIA European Formula 3
Son of triple champion Nelson Piquet and brother to Nelson Piquet Jr., Pedro Piquet won Brazilian F3 titles in 2014 and 2015 before making the switch to Europe to race in the European F3 championship which was dominated by Lance Stroll. He only scored a handful of points, finishing 19th in the championship, but with a year of European experience behind him he could be one to watch in 2017. Oh, and if the name seems familiar, it may be because of this horrific crash he had last year. In fact, crashes seem to be a bit of a theme of his career so far. Maybe that’s his brothers fault.
Aurélien Panis – Formula V8 3.5
Olivier Panis’ win at Monaco in 1996 is one of the great moments in the history of F1. His son Aurélien has plenty of experience in junior formulae and had an outside shot of winning the Formula V8 3.5 championship this year, but 2017 will probably need to be a big year for the Frenchman if he wants to get on the radar of some F1 teams.
Mick Schumacher – ADAC Formula 4
Not many people have heard of Mick Schumacher’s Dad, Michael – after all, he only won 91 GPs and seven world titles – but it looks like Mick is worth keeping an eye on. The 17 year old raced in both German and Italian Formula 4 this year, finishing runner-up in both championships. His name alone is bound to take him pretty far but thankfully it looks like he’s got the talent to live up to it.
Will Palmer – Formula Renault Eurocup 2.0
It doesn’t look entirely likely that Jolyon Palmer will get a second year in F1, but it’s not the end of the world for the Palmer family as his brother Will is currently on his way up the ranks. Will dominated the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 season and won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, the prize for which was a test in a McLaren. In 2016 he raced in Formula Renault, finishing 7th in the FR Eurocup and winning his first race at the final round in Estoril.
Roy Nissany – Formula V8 3.5
Roy’s Dad, Chanoch Nissany became the first Israeli to take part in a Grand Prix weekend when he drove in practice for Minardi at the Hungaroring in 2005 and drew headlines for being way off the pace and complaining that the car had too much grip.
Thankfully his son Roy is to be taken a little more seriously, as 2016 proved a breakthrough year, winning three races in Formula V8 3.5 and challenging for the championship. It was a timely occasion to display his talents, as like Panis 2017 could be a make-or-break season for his Formula 1 aspirations.
In fact, Formula V8 3.5 has been something of a hotbed for F1 dynasties this year. In addition to Delétraz, Panis, and Nissany three other drivers on the grid can claim F1 heritage. Johnny Cecotto Jr.’s Dad is a former motorcycle champion who partnered Senna at Toleman, René Binder is the nephew of 70s F1 racer Hans Binder, while Pietro Fittipaldi is the grandson of double champion Emerson. That’s a lot of big names in one paddock!