Following on from the start of yesterdays series looking into F1’s future stars, today I’ll take a closer look at someone who had his first taste of F1 machinery in spring 2015, and will no doubt be looking at landing a full time drive in the coming seasons, Alex Lynn.
22 year old Williams development driver Lynn will continue to race for DAMS in the 2016 GP2 series following on from his 6th place finish with the French squad in his debut season in the series. Two wins, poles and fastest laps from 2015 represent a stellar hall from Lynn who will remain with DAMS to challenge for the highly converted GP2 title, where he is likely to face competition from 2015’s other top rookies Sirotkin and Gasly.
Following in the footsteps of fellow Brit Jolyon Palmer who will make his F1 debut for Renault in 2016, how long will be it be until we see another great British talent grace the F1 grid, and how did Lynn arrive in one of the hottest seats in GP2?
12 wins from 20 races and a 1st place finish in the 2011 Formula Renault UK championship set Lynn up for a move to British F3 for 2012. Confirming his talent by securing 4th place in his debut season meant a move to F1’s traditional proving ground, the F3 Euroseries was on the cards for 2013, and 3 wins, 5 poles and 14 podiums for F3 heavywieghts Prema Powerteam ensured Lynn finished 2013 with a third place in the championship table.
GP3 followed in 2014, and a fantastic debut season of eight podiums, including three race victories in Spain, Austria and Belgium ensured Lynn won the GP3 title with Carlin by 44 points from fellow Brit and 2010 F2 champion, Dean Stoneman.
A step up to GP2 with DAMS was a just reward for his 2014 efforts and although struggling with difficulties at times, Lynn more than proved his worth with a sixth place finish a strong grounding for a full title assault in 2016. By combining his GP2 career with Williams development driver duties, Lynn is arguably placing himself right among the frontrunners should a seat at Williams become available for when F1’s new rules are set to take effect in 2017.
With Raikkonen almost certainly entering his last season in F1, and Valteri Bottas’ stock continuing to rise the prospect of a vacant seat at Williams is a distinct possibility. Don’t forget, despite Massa’s resurgence under Claire Williams and Pat Symmonds at Grove, the Brazilian will be 35 by the end of 2016 and after 229 race starts, there’s no guarantee he would want to continue in F1 for longer.
With Claire Williams telling Autosport early on in 2015 that she would love to see another British driver in a British team, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone betting against Lynn being one of the frontrunners should there indeed be a vacant seat at Williams for 2017, and if Lynn can steer DAMS to the GP2 title ahead of talent such as Sirotkin, Gasly and most likely Esteban Ocon then it may only be a matter of if, not when we see Lynn lining up to take his place on the F1 grid. Watch this space.