Formula 1 mock draft: How the grid might look if teams drafted drivers

What if Formula 1 operated an NFL-style draft system? Who would the teams select, and how would the season pan out?
Formula 1
Formula 1 / Eric Alonso/GettyImages
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In a sporting world where there is often a search for parity and a level playing field, Formula 1 remains sport’s biggest arms race. A cost cap may have helped put a lid on the big teams’ spending, but the unavoidable truth remains that Formula 1 remains a sport of the “haves” versus the “have nots”.

The top teams get the top sponsors, the top engineers, the top aerodynamicists, and, of course, the top drivers.

But what if Formula 1 wasn’t like that? What if the drivers were allocated to teams via an NFL-style draft system? It’ll never happen, of course, but seeing that the NFL Draft is just around the corner, let’s suspend reality for a while and play "Fantasy F1" to see what might have happened if a real-life draft actually took place before the start of the Formula 1 season.

The rules

Before we start picking drivers, we need some ground rules, and for the purposes of this article, we’ll keep things nice and simple.

The drivers will be selected by the teams themselves, with the draft order determined by the finishing positions of the teams in the 2023 constructor standings. The team that finished last in the standings (we’re looking at you, Haas) will get the first pick, while the reigning champions (Red Bull) will get pick number 10. For the purposes of this draft, and to keep it as simple as possible, the pool of available drivers features only drivers currently in full-time rides. 

The first 10 picks will determine each team’s number one driver for the season. Then we simply repeat the process, with the same order, to select the number two drivers, with the remaining 10 picks. There are no trades and no pick swaps – it’s as straightforward as a Max Verstappen Sunday drive.

As we run down the order, we’ll try to give some reasoning for why we think the teams will pick the drivers in question. Then, once all 20 picks are in, we’ll present the new draft-selected Formula 1 driver lineup.

Ready? Let’s do this…