Good news folks. After crying my eyes out consistently since the end of the motorsport season (Ok, I might be exaggerating here), I have stopped for long enough to write this article!
2019 promises to be an exciting year in the world of motorsport. An injection of youth at the top of Formula 1, fresh faces appearing in Formula E and Fernando Alonso competing for the Triple Crown in May.
Stories derived from these series will likely dominate news throughout the year but what about those in lower Formulae hustling to make it to the top? Here are six drivers to keep an eye out for in 2019.
Competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2018, Jüri Vips enjoyed a consistent season on his way to 4th in the championship. Entering as a rookie, Vips endured a slow-ish start before picking up his first win at Round 8 at the Norisring.
The win was enough to kick start his season and he followed up that first win with another three before the season was out. He eventually finished 81 points behind winner Mick Schumacher but finished as second best rookie behind Robert Shwartzman.
This strong season came on the back of a 2017 ADAC Formula 4 Championship win and this has caught the attention of Red Bull who have added him to their junior programme.
Vips will stay in F3 next season as the series merges with GP3. With Red Bull's backing, don't be surprised to see this guy making waves.
After a seemingly constant stream of Brazilian drivers entering the top ranks of motorsport, the well has run somewhat dry as of late. Budding hopefuls such as Sergio Sette Camara, Pietro Fittipaldi and Enzo Fittipaldi are doing their best to break into the big leagues, perhaps Felipe Drugovich should be added to that list after a sensational 2018.
Taking part in the Euroformula Open Championship, Drugovich dominated the championship from start to finish. In 16 races, Drugovich took victory 14 times and in the two races he didn't win, he finished second. The end result was 405 championship points, 159 more than second place and 210 more than third.
As of yet, little has been said about Drugovich's 2019 plans other than Formula 1 remains the goal and that he wants to remain in Europe. A spot in F3 seems a likely destination. Based on this season, he certainly deserves a chance.
Getting his first taste for British F3 with three races in 2017 , Linus Lundqvist made his intentions clear in 2018 after taking victory at the first race at Oulton Park. Despite facing stiff competition Lundqvist maintained his form throughout the year.
He took a total of seven race wins from the 23 on offer. He supplemented this with six other podiums as he finished 85 points clear of second placed Nicolai Kjaergaard.
2019 promises to be an exciting year for the Swede. A GP3 test in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2018 bodes well for a seat in the new F3 series next season. He will also broaden his horizons as he competes in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
By winning the GP3 championship in Abu Dhabi, young French driver Anthoine Hubert became the 9th, and final, winner of the series. History suggests that winning GP3 is a huge stepping stone for a career. 6 of the other 8 champions have progressed to Formula 1. The only two who didn't are Mitch Evans and Alex Lynn who have competed in Formula E. No pressure Anthoine....
Hubert took *only* two race victories in the year. Second place Nikita Mazepin took four. Fifth place David Beckmann took three. This just proves that whilst Hubert didn't dominate the championship, his consistency was rewarded and it's a quality that will serve him well as he progresses through the ranks.
No news as to what he will be doing in 2019 just yet but anything other than a seat in F2 would be both surprising and disappointing.
2018 was a busy year for Shwartzman as he competed in 46 races in total. The bulk of those took place in the European Formula 3 Championship where he finished 3rd in the championship, the highest ranked rookie. That position seemed unlikely for much of the season, after 21 races Shwartzman had just two podiums to his name but the final nine races yielded 8 podiums, including two wins.
This dramatic turnaround occurred in parallel with Mick Schumacher's similar ascension, thus going under the radar slightly but if he can carry this form into 2019, he will be a force to be reckoned with. Whether that be at F2 or F3 level.
Besides his Euro F3 exploits, Shwartzman won his first single seater series with victory in the Toyota Racing Series. The series was littered with highly rated prospects including Richard Verschoor and Marcus Armstrong so the championship win was hard-fought.
The pool of young, British talent is undoubtedly at its highest level in a long time. George Russell and Lando Norris will both be appearing in F1 next season. Others such as Jack Aitken, Enaam Ahmed and Jamie Caroline are also impressing. Add Max Fewtrell to the list.
The 19-year-old claimed his second championship win in three years with victory in the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup, adding to his success in British F4 back in 2016. 10 wins and 30 podiums in that spell is an impressive tally.
His championship win this year came despite pressure from the likes of Ye Yifei, Logan Sargeant, and one of our drivers to look out for last season, Christian Lundgaard. The turning point in the season was a five race stretch in the second half of the year where he claimed 6 podiums in a row. Three wins, two seconds and a third. An impressive run considering no other driver had more than three in a row.
It's uncertain where Fewtrell will head in 2019 but with the backing of the Renault Sport Academy, he should be sorted for an upgrade.