These Are The Best Formula One Drivers You Need To Know Now
In case you want to ask Fernando Alonso about Taylor Swift.
(Bloomberg) -- Miami is about to explode in a supernova of Formula One hype.
During the week leading up to the Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix May 7, rapper Ludacris and DJs Martin Garrix and Kaskade will perform at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, while DJs Zedd and Tiesto and singer Maluma will play at a well-known club called LIV. Across town, nightlife hotspot E11even is selling table packages for as much as $200,000, and New York eatery Carbone is offering $3,000-per-person pasta dinners at its beach-themed pop-up.
Oracle Red Bull Racing, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG Petronas are all holding events of their own, but that doesn’t mean the team drivers won’t be elsewhere, too. Last year at the Miami GP, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen celebrated his victory at E11even along with Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton, Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Lando Norris.
You should get prepped on who’s who in case you run into them. If anything it’ll come in handy for striking up a conversation and asking if they’re possibly dating Taylor Swift. (Fernando Alonso, we’re looking at you.)
Here are the F1 drivers you should know this year.
Team: Red Bull RacingCurrent standing: 1Country of origin: Belgium
Son of F1 driver Jos Verstappen and karting champion Sophie Kumpen, the 25-year-old became the youngest driver to compete in F1 when he entered the 2015 Australian Grand Prix—he was 17 at the time. He first raced in F1 that year with Scuderia Toro Rosso, then joined Red Bull in 2016. The reigning F1 world champion (he won in 2021 as well), Verstappen is in a five-year contract extension with Red Bull for the 2023-28 seasons.
Fun facts: A devoted sim (simulation) racer, Verstappen is currently dating Kelly Piquet, the daughter of retired Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet and sister of Julia Piquet, who’s dating Nascar star Daniel Suárez.
Team: Red Bull RacingCurrent standing: 2Country of origin: Mexico
A former karting champion who finished 11th in the 2004 Skip Barber National Championship, 33-year-old “Checo,” as his fans know him, has worked his way through the ranks driving for Sauber, McLaren, Force India and Racing Point. In 2021 he joined Red Bull, signing a contract through the 2024 season.
Fun facts: Pérez collects watches and is an avid golfer. He crashed his first car, a Chevrolet, rushing home to get his soccer cleats before a match.
Team: Aston MartinCurrent standing: 3Country of origin: Spain
Alonso, 41, is new to Aston Martin, joining this season on a multiyear deal alongside Lance Stroll. But he has plenty of experience and success. After working his way up from age 3 in the karting and junior racing circuits, he won the World Drivers’ Championship title in 2005 and 2006 with Renault; he’s also driven for McLaren, Ferrari and Minardi. Alonso is the only Spanish F1 driver to have won a World Drivers’ Championship.
Fun facts: On April 24, Alonso posted a TikTok video set to the tune of Taylor Swift’s , in what seemed to be a response to rumors he’s dating the singer. He’d previously been married to the Spanish pop star Raquel del Rosario and engaged to Spanish TV presenter Lara Álvarez.
Team: MercedesCurrent standing: 4Country of origin: UK
If you’ve heard of only one F1 driver, it’s probably Hamilton. The seven-time world champion is a bona fide superstar, with celebrity friends and partnerships with brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, Puma, IWC and Johnnie Walker. The 38-year-old Brit joined the Mercedes team in 2013 and in 2014 started a run of winning six titles in seven years (his first title was in 2008, with McLaren). But the future of Hamilton and Mercedes remains uncertain—his current contract ends at the end of this year.
Fun facts: Anyone who follows Hamilton’s Instagram knows about his English bulldog, Roscoe, who counts 750,000 followers of his own and is often showcased lolling around in the sunshine. But Hamilton’s favorite place to visit is Colorado, where he skis, eats pancakes and sits by the fireplace. He says he loses 5 to 10 pounds per race from sweat. Lewis, that is, not Roscoe.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team: FerrariCurrent standing: 5Country of origin: Spain
The 28-year-old Spanish driving ace is the son of Carlos Sainz Sr., a two-time World Rally Champion driver. Like every driver on this list, he started in karting, working his way through the ranks of Formula 3, GP3 and various other racing series. Sainz Jr. joined a Red Bull junior team in 2010 and in 2015 started racing F1 at Scuderia Toro Rosso, where he became partners with Verstappen. After stints at McLaren and Renault, he joined Ferrari in 2021—that contract ends after the 2024 season. Close observers say the avid golfer may end up with a new team from Audi after his contract ends. Audi’s F1 chief Adam Baker said “it would be great to have” him.
Fun facts: Sainz Jr. drove a Volkswagen Golf as his personal car until recently, when he commissioned a Ferrari 812 Competizione, which starts at $602,0000. The one he ordered has special tread plates that say “Smooth Operator.”
Team: Aston MartinCurrent standing: 6Country of origin: Canada
Stroll, 24, is the son of Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll, chairman and owner of the Aston Martin F1 team and Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc. His mother is Belgian fashion designer Claire-Anne Callens. He worked his way up through karting, Formula 3, Formula 2 and endurance racing until joining Williams in 2017. Stroll drove for Racing Point from 2019 to 2020 and in 2021 joined his father’s team, Aston Martin, which had been rebranded from Racing Point after Lawrence Stroll bought a stake in Aston Martin in 2020. At the beginning of this season he missed some early training because of a wrist injury he sustained in a cycling accident. In a statement, Stroll said that the damage wasn’t significant and that a successful surgery fixed the problem.
Fun facts: Stroll collects motorcycles and talks often in the press about cliché Canadian food, especially maple syrup and poutine.
Team: MercedesCurrent standing: 7Country of origin: UK
After graduating through the karting and junior series ranks, the 25-year-old Brit started his rookie season with Williams in 2019, then switched to Mercedes in 2022. He’d done early race testing with McLaren as well.
Fun fact: At 6 feet 1 inch, Russell is uncommonly tall for an F1 driver, most of whom are well under 6 feet.
Team: McLarenCurrent standing: 8Country of origin: UK
The 23-year-old Norris comes from an English father and Belgian mother, so he holds both British and Belgian citizenship. He pursued horseback riding and high-speed motorcycles before getting into karting, then left school at 16 and made his debut with McLaren, as backup to Sainz Jr. at the Australian Grand Prix in 2019. At the time, Norris was 19, Britain’s youngest-ever F1 driver.
Fun facts: Like many other F1 drivers, Norris claims golf as a hobby. More interestingly, he says photography is a pursuit as well.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.