Rookie Watch: 2011

There are 4 F1 rookies on the grid this season; Paul Di Resta (Force India), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Sergio Perez (Sauber), Jerome D'Ambrosio (MarussiaVirgin). Narain Karthikeyan is new to F1 this season but his F1 debut was in 2005 (Karthikeyan was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo at the British Grand Prix on 10th July 2011).

 Sergio Perez (Mexico) finished in second place in last year's GP2 season with the Barwa Addax Team, and is part of Ferrari Driver Academy. He now drives for Sauber in F1.

     Paul di Resta (UK) won last year's Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) Championship and is managed by Anthony Hamilton (Lewis Hamilton's dad). He replaces Vitantonio Liuzzi at Force India.

Jerome d'Ambrosio (Belguim) was a test driver for Virgin Racing in 2010 while also competing in GP2 with the DAMS team. He finished the 2010 GP2 season in 12th position and now partners Timo Glock at MarussiaVirgin racing.

Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) who won the GP2 series in 2010 with Rapax Team, replaces Nico Hulkenburg at Williams and new his team-mate is F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello.

Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) is currently driving in the Formula Renault 3.5  series for ISR and is also the test driver for Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. An opportunity to drive an F1 car arose with Hispania Racing. Daniel's first F1 race was at the British GP 

This page will keep track on these rookies and their achievements in their F1 debut year, and it would be interesting to find out:

1) Which rookie will complete the most races this year?
2) Who will score the most (if any) points this season?
3) Who is likely to finish higher than 'more established' drivers?
4) Which driver will have the most overtaking moves in 2011?
5) Who is likely to keep their race seat in 2012?
6) Who will be the first to fall victim to the 107% qualifying rule?

Paul di Resta was also voted Best Rookie of the year and was awarded a trophy at the Autosport Awards on 4th December 2011.

(The most recent race is at the top of page)

Brazil GP
Di Resta finished his rookie season with an 8th place finish (4points) bringing his total for his first year in Formula 1 to a respectable 27 points to help seal Force India's 6th place in the World Constructors' Championship.

Rookies' Table after Brazil GP: DIR (27) PER (14) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)
Abu Dhabi GP
Paul Di Resta was the only rookie to finish within the points (9th place) = 2 points
Rookies' Table after Abu Dhabi GP: DIR (23) PER (14) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)

Indian GP
Perez was the only rookie to score a point at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. Di Resta finished in 13th place, D'Ambrosio 16th, Ricciardo 18th, Maldonado DNF

Rookies' Table after Indian GP: DIR (21) PER (14) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)

Korean GP
Paul di Resta qualified in 9th place ahead of his team-mate and finished the race on Sunday 10th, Perez 16th, Ricciardo 19th, D'Ambrosio 20th. Maldonado retired on lap 30

Rookies' Table after Korean GP: DIR (21) PER (13) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)

Japanese GP
Sergio Perez was the only rookie to score points at his team-mate's home race, he finished in 8th place (4 pts). di Resta finished in 12th place, Maldonado 14th, D'Ambrosio 21st, Ricciardo 22nd

Rookies' Table after Japanese GP: DIR (20) PER (13) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)

Singaporean GP
Another spectacular drive by Paul di Resta meant he finished in 6th position (8 points). Sergio Perez also scored 1 point after finishing 10th.

Rookies' Table after Singaporean GP: DIR (20) PER (9) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)

Italian GP
Perhaps due to his family's roots in Italy, Paul di Resta was the only rookie to finish in a point at Monza. It also happened to be his debut F1 race at this track.

Rookies' Table after Italian GP: DIR (12) PER (8) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)

Belgian GP
Only rookie to finish in a point scoring position was Pastor Maldonado (Williams) who finished 10th and claimed his first F1 WDC point. Di Resta and 'local boy' D'Ambrosio finished in 11th and 17th respectively. Perez and Ricciardo both retired.

Rookies' Table after Belgian GP: PER (8) DIR (8) MAL (1) DAM (0) RIC (0)

Hungarian GP
Perez qualified 10th, Di Resta 11th and Maldonado 17th. Di Resta moved off the racing line after Lewis Hamilton's spin but kept his car on the track to finish 7th - the only rookie to score in this race.

Rookies' Table after Hungarian GP: PER (8) DIR (8) DAM (0) MAL (0) RIC (0)

German GP
Di Resta qualified 12th, Maldonado 13th and Perez 15th. However Di Resta was involved in a collision early in the race and finished unlucky 13th. Perez finished just outside the points on 11th. Daniel Ricciardo completed his 2nd F1 race and finished ahead of experienced F1 driver, Karun Chandhok

Rookies' Table after German GP: PER (8) DIR (2) DAM (0) MAL (0) RIC (0)

British GP
Despite being the highest qualifying rookie at the British GP, Maldonado failed to score points. Whereas Perez climbed up from a qualifying position of 12th to finish 7th. There is a new rookie in the paddock, Daniel Ricciardo. He takes Narain Karthikeyan's seat in the Hispania Racing car.

Rookies' Table after British GP: PER (8) DIR (2) DAM (0) MAL (0) RIC (0)

European GP
An uneventful race in Valencia saw none of the rookies scoring points and Perez just missed out on 1 point, finishing in 11th place.

Rookies' Table after European GP: DIR (2) PER (2) DAM (0) MAL (0)

Canada GP
Perez didn't participate in the Canadian GP because he wasn't fully recovered from accident in Monaco. Former Sauber driver and current McLaren reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa was drafted in to take his place.

Rookies' Table after Canada GP: DIR (2) PER (2) DAM (0) MAL (0)
Monaco GP
Monaco GP was one of Maldonado's favourites and did well to get into Q3, so did Perez however the Mexican driver had a big shunt coming out of the tunnel so miss this race. Di Resta qualified in 14th, 1 place ahead of his team-mate.  

Perez's car after Qualifying accident at Monaco GP
During the race, Maldonado was running in 6th position but at the re-start of the race after it was red-flagged momentarily, he was involved in a collision with Lewis Hamilton and didn't finish the race.

Rookies' Table after Monaco GP: DIR (2) PER (2) DAM (0) MAL (0)
Spanish GP
Sergio Perez drove a stunning race to finish ahead of his experienced Sauber team-mate Kobayashi and in a point scoring position of 9th place (2 points). No other rookie scored points at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Rookies' Table after Spanish GP: DIR (2) PER (2) DAM (0) MAL (0)
Turkish GP
Di Resta qualified behind his team-mate for the first time this season. Sergio Perez qualified ahead of his team-mate Kobayashi who had to start at the back of the grid. All rookies finished outside the points this race. Perez finished in 14th place, Di Resta's car was retired.

Rookies' Table after Turkish GP: DIR (2) PER (0) DAM (0) MAL (0)

Chinese GP
D'Ambrosio outqualified and finished ahead of his more experienced team-mate Timo Glock. Paul di Resta also out-performed his team-mate, although the Brit finished just outside point- scoring position. Maldonado finished a full race for the first time and Perez had a rotten day as he was involved with 2 major collisions and served a Drive-Through Penalty.

Rookies' Table remains unchanged after Malaysia: DIR (2) PER (0) DAM (0) MAL (0)

Malaysian GP
Perez continued in good form in Malaysia but his race was cut short by damage to his car by flying debris. Paul di Resta was the only rookie to finish the race and he finished in a point-scoring position. D'Ambrosio and Maldonado also didn't finish the race.

Rookies' Table so far: DIR (2) PER (0) DAM (0) MAL (0)

Australian GP
Sauber were disqualified from the race due to a technical infringement on their rear-wing. Therefore Perez's 7th place finish was inherited by Massa. This also promoted Paul di Resta from 12th to 10th, earning him his first F1 Championship point.
Jerome D'Ambrosio finished his first race in 14th place
Results: 1) VET, 2) HAM, 3) PET, 4) ALO, 5) WEB, 6) BUT, 7) MAS, 8) BUE, 9) SUT, 10) DIR.

Photos from and Getty Images (c)