F1’s Next New Champion, Bagnaia’s 2025 Teammate, F2 vs The Road To Indy – #AskDre May 2025

Who becomes Bagania’s 2025 teammate? Is F2 outshining the Road to Indy? And what would I turn into a Jon Bois docu-series? Ask Dre returns for May!

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Read time: 10 mins

Hey folks, welcome to another edition of Ask Dre, the show where you the wonderful Motorsport101 Audience ask your boi Dre some questions about Formula 1, MotoGP, IndyCar, Formula E, and occasionally, other shit that takes your fancy! This edition talks about Carlos Sainz’ future, MotoGP’s silly season, and much more! So let’s crack open the mailbag on another Ask Dre!

This is a tricky situation for Aprilia because their next move after swinging and missing on Fabio Quartararo is going to come down to what Ducati does with its own, REALLY messy politics. 

Ducati wants to decide who Francesco Bagnaia’s teammate is by Mugello, a fortnight from now. There are three clear contenders. Enea Bastianini, who’s in title contention right now after a horrible 2023 barely of his own making. Jorge Martin, who’s using his raw speed and near-miss of a title campaign as leverage to force a move from a Pramac team he’s almost certainly walking away from at year’s end. And Marc Marquez, who’s competing for wins on a GP23 right now and is the biggest star in the sport. 

Enea wants to stay, Jorge wants to come but knows he hasn’t got Marc’s resume, and Marc’s prepared to walk from his lucrative Red Bull partnership if it means securing top-tier equipment. He wants to win, but according to Simon Patterson of The Race, he wants to stay at Gresini, a team he loves working with. 

There’s another factor in this, Ducati’s bikes. Pramac is tempted to switch to Yamaha. I suspect they’re fed up with playing second fiddle to the Bologna factory and if Yamaha eventually finds pace again, they’re in the box position to challenge on all fronts, with the Japanese factory desperate to have a competitive partner to aid development. If Pramac switch, it frees up two GP25’s AND the contract of Fermin Aldeguer who is guaranteed a Ducati in 2025. Does VR46 get those bikes? Or does Gresini? And would a GP25 in that camp be enough to convince Marc to stay?

Whoever loses out on that Ducati Factory ride should immediately be targeted by Aprilia. I suspect it’ll be Martin or Bastianini. I still think there’s an outside chance it’s both if Aprilia doesn’t believe Maverick’s a top contender anymore. Both JM89 and EB23 have proven track records competing for Championships and they’d both be fantastic riders to build a team around. If it was me, I like Martin’s raw speed just a little more than Enea’s consistency, but you could make a decent argument for both. 

If it’s me, you sign Jorge Martin for the factory team, give Marquez a GP25 as a compromise so he doesn’t lose any of his sponsors, and give VR46 the other one if they’re prepared to take Fermin Aldeguer’s contract. Sorry Enea. One more thought – VERY plausible that Jorge Martin wins the World Title and then takes the #1 plate to KTM or Aprilia. Imagine.

Hypothetical is right Deckster, I suspect that’s not happening. I am a little puzzled that Sainz is taking so long to decide on his future, with the latest rumours being he’s holding for Mercedes, while they’re keen on promoting Kimi Antonelli out of Prema in F2, whereas Audi wants him to be their star driver going forward. 

For me, it’s a no-brainer, you take the #1 package at Audi and see what they’re prepared to put in. But if worst comes to worst and there’s no room at the inn for Carlos, I’m sure they could give him a run in a Hypercar at some point. If Porsche is currently entertaining Sebastian Vettel two years after his F1 retirement and Ferrari’s already done well with Antonio Giovinazzi, why not? 

I think there’s a very good chance that Magnussen sits a race out at some point. Magnussen got all 10 of his current penalty points THIS season, and because every point stays on your license for a calendar year, his points don’t start going away until March 9th, 2025. With most driving incidents on track now coming with two penalty points as standard, Magnussen essentially has to go perfect for the rest of the year to avoid a ban. Even the good drivers have a hard time avoiding that. Only eight of the current twenty drivers on the grid have less than two points at the time of writing. 

No, I don’t think the FIA will intervene and veto something like this, the FIA themselves wanted to have a system in place to police drivers conduct on track. It’s a feathered touch given you need to realistically commit four to six offenses over the course of a year (likely the higher end) to sit a race out, but there’s no good reason the FIA would overturn their own system. Tell that to Williams over Kimi Antonelli. 

I’m not sure anyone else is due in. Lola/Yamaha with assistance from ABT is pretty cool, and I’m glad some of the field has now committed to Gen4, I do wonder about Porsche.

Porsche were really on the fence about committing to Gen 3 over fast-charging pitstop tech concerns and sketchy communication between the series and the teams. There were fears they were going to quit in 2022 but ultimately have tied themselves down until the end of this rule cycle in 2026 with Andretti as a partner. 

But given their incredibly harsh disqualification in Misano over a part taken off the spec sheet list, and a new controversy reported by Sam Smith at The Race, where Pascal Wehrlein was told to give a position back in Monaco despite being ahead as they entered a caution zone, I do wonder if the German factory is starting to get a bit fed up of this shit again. Hopefully, the frustration is only skin deep there.

No matter how you slice it, half the grid is still yet to commit beyond 2026 and into Gen 4 – Mahindra, Porsche and Stellantis. Talking them round is going to take some effort, unlike Jaguar who are about the only powertrain supplier that seems genuinely interested in pushing for electric tech at the forefront of their brand.

My gut feeling is… maybe, Sammy? Both series major pipelines are in a kinda weird place right now. 

To me, F1 has killed off what I call the “Project Rookie”. I’ll get to why. But F1 has become super averse to risk. 2023’s offseason was the first in the sport’s history where no drivers changed teams at all, no rookies, retirements or moves for 2024. Lewis Hamilton declaring a Ferrari move for 2025 has opened the floodgates again but if it weren’t for that, I’d be struggling to find a major move. 

The F2 Class of 2025 is going to be just Ollie Bearman and Kimi Antonelli. And they’re super high-end prospects, almost sure-fire talents. Both teenagers, both super fast out of the box, Bearman was super impressive in his Ferrari stand-in role in Jeddah, and Antonelli’s junior record is pristine, skipping F3 for good reason. They’re S-Tier, similar to Oscar Piastri who triple-killed FRECA, F3 and F2 in three straight seasons. 

The “Project Rookie” is a longshot who might become a decent journeyman, someone you take a punt on hoping it might work out in the right environment, or you’re compromising on raw ability for commercial or cash-related reasons. Logan Sargeant, Zhou Guanyu and Nicholas Latifi are the three names of recent times that spring to mind. This brand of rookie might die off sooner rather than later. 

Fernando Alonso will race in his Age 45 season, F1’s first since Graham Hill in 1975. Lewis Hamilton will enter his fifth decade of life in scarlet red. Nico Hulkenberg will become an Audi factory driver in his Age 38 season. Chuck in a golden age of super-talented recent youth graduates (Verstappen, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris, Russell, Albon, Piastri, a middle class of Gasly, Ocon, with Bearman and Antonelli to come), it’s become harder than ever to make the F1 grid. In the eyes of some, that’s great. Gatekeep, gaslight, girlboss.

And I think that’s why we’re seeing more F2 drivers move to North America. F2 isn’t the blanket evaluator of talent we want it to be. IndyCar has become the outlet for F2 drivers who were either hard done via the “Mechachroming” spec nature of the series, or the limited funding makes more sense in a series that doesn’t need as much of it to get by. Christian Lundgaard is a star in the making in IndyCar, Marcus Armstrong and Callum Illot have both gained footholds, and Theo Pourchaire could be another future star for McLaren. F1’s hopefuls has become the backbone of IndyCar’s future.

And there’s a consequence for that too – The Road to Indy is getting passed over. There’s still some promising talent there like Jacob Abel, Nolan Siegel and Louis Foster but can they stand up in the long run? F2’s graduates are likely more experienced, have faced stiffer competition and can often raise more funds. If you made it to F2, chances are you’re raising around three million a year to compete. That’s nearly a full-time IndyCar seat for a year. Compare that to the six-figure prize money for winning NXT, or famous cases like Myles Rowe needing two cheques from Roger Penske just to get to Indy NXT, or Linus Lundqvist nearly never making IndyCar despite WINNING the series and… yeah, the Road to Indy can’t compete for talent or funding. 

Both series’ paths have become far more aligned in recent years. I’m not sure both ladders are necessarily better for it. 

Hi Chaz! If I was still a betting man, it’s hard not to say Charles Leclerc here for me. Of all the current scenarios between drivers that haven’t won a World Title, I like Leclerc’s odds the most. He’s an excellent qualifier, a proven winner, has been the yardstick at Ferrari for half a decade now, and I think he has enough talent to potentially beat Lewis Hamilton alongside him next year.

I really like what Ferrari’s doing as a team heading into the 2026 regulation change and if they’re bringing in Adrian Newey, it’s the most convincing formation of talent in an F1 team since the early 2000’s.

Lando Norris is probably an honourable mention here but when was the last time McLaren had any sign of being the best car in F1 consistently? 2008?

I still haven’t properly done an F1 race yet. I did a Friday at Silverstone when I was part of the staff at the WTF1 Clubhouse last year but not the more meaningful days of action. I’ve been fortunate enough to do MotoGP twice, once as a fan at Brno in 2018, and last year as a member of the media at Silverstone.

I’d still like to do a full F1 weekend in the States somewhere, probably in Austin out of the three we have. I wouldn’t mind IndyCar at some point because of the level of accessibility but I don’t love the series enough to commit that kind of money and time for a full race weekend, even for the 500. Also would like to do Formula E for the last time in London this year before it likely heads to Silverstone next year. 

Ah Wesley, I see you too are a man of culture. Fantastic question by the way and you’d be spot on, I am a huge Jon Bois fan, back from his early days of Pretty Good to his latest episode “Reform”, which you really should check out on their Patreon, well worth the price of admission. SB Nation does some of the best work in sports culture and they come highly recommended from me. 

If I ever got the honour to request a story, it would be around the sport of cricket and the summer of Ben Stokes. Cricket I think would be a fascinating story to tell in terms of its history, its similarities to baseball (a far more recognisable sport to their largely American audience), and how bullshit a lot of its politics are. 

On top of that, the story of Ben Stokes is a wild one. A New Zealand immigrant who chose to represent England, originally making the England side as a bowler, before becoming one of their staple all-rounders in the side. There’s also the matter of his assault charge and court case that got him dropped from the side, despite the fact he was protecting a gay couple from being bullied on the street. He was eventually acquitted in 2018 but 2018 sports media wasn’t ready for that kind of conversation (I’d argue it still isn’t.)

And then we eventually get to the Summer of Stokes in 2019, and how he had his two greatest innings – His World Cup Final 84* and Super Over triumph to win England’s first ever World Cup, and then explaining the Test Format and his 135* to save the Ashes against Australia in the 3rd Test at Headingley. It’s two of the greatest moments in cricket history and Jon Bois would make a beautiful story. 

And given Secret Bases’ new Podcast mentions another cricket legend, Sir Don Bradman in its first episode, it’s good to know it’s at least on the radar…

See you in June for another edition of Ask Dre!

About the Author:

Dre Harrison

Somehow can now call himself a Production Coordinator at the Motorsport Network, coming off the back of being part of the awkward Johto Era at WTF1. All off a University Project that went massively out of hand. Weird huh?

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