Teenage dreams
(part 1)

Teenage dreams (part 1) 01

How important is experience? Nino Farina was nearly 44 when he won the very first F1 World Championship in 1950, while the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio was 46 when he clinched his last world title and 47 when he took his final grand prix victory. The oldest F1 race winner in history was Italy’s Luigi Fagioli, aged 53 when he finished first at the 1951 French Grand Prix. The oldest driver to start a grand prix was Louis Chiron, who had already celebrated his 55th birthday by the time he drove in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix.

These days it’s a very different story as the emphasis is on youth. And by youth, we’re talking about drivers who aren’t even old enough to have a license for the road. What they do have is talent and bravery in spades, competing in high-profile events that range from rallies in Europe, to Trans Am in the USA, to Formula 1 all over the world. Keep an eye on these guys… 

Teenage dreams (part 1) 02

Lando Norris
No list of quickest teenagers could be complete without Formula 1’s only under-20 racer. Brit Norris has long been seen as a precocious talent – he beat Lewis Hamilton’s record as the youngest world karting champion aged 14. Further titles followed in Formula 4, Formula Renault and Formula 3, and he became the youngest winner in the Formula 2 series when he won the opening round of 2018 in Bahrain.

That impressive record has helped him earn his F1 break this year with McLaren, and the 19-year-old scored points in just his second race in Bahrain with a fine sixth-place finish. It makes him the third-youngest driver to score in F1, after his contemporaries Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll – who also started young.

Teenage dreams (part 1) 03

Colton Herta
One of Norris’ biggest rivals in his F4 days was a team-mate who was even younger than he was. Herta later returned from Europe to his native United States with his sights set on IndyCar, where his father Bryan previously competed.

Like Norris, Herta has stepped up to his dream series this year, but his second race was even more of a success: he won it. His victory at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas – home to F1’s US Grand Prix – six days before his 19th birthday made him the youngest race winner in IndyCar history.

Teenage dreams (part 1) 04

Kalle Rovanpera
Rallying is often considered an old-man’s game relative to circuit racing. It takes many years to accumulate the experience to be competitive at the highest level, and most don’t start competing until they’re legally old enough to drive on the road. Rovanpera is different.

Encouraged by his father Harri, a former WRC driver, Rovanpera started driving rally cars in his native Finland at a very young age. He was already a YouTube hit at the age of eight! Before his 17th birthday he had already won two national rally titles in Latvia on Pirelli tires. Now 19 and having proven himself on the world stage with wins in WRC2, it’s only a matter of time before he’s competing at the very highest level.

To be continued…

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