Jean-Eric Vergne

Once fuelled by Red Bull (well, the drinks firm’s driver academy), Vergne has rebuilt his career in Formula E, a championship powered by electricity. Despite the increasing level of competition in the single-seater championship, Vergne became the first driver to clinch a second drivers’ title – and helped his DS Techeetah team secure the makes’ crown.

Fernando Alonso

Alonso kept himself busy in his first season of Formula 1 ‘retirement’. He won the 2018/19 World Endurance Championship crown and his second straight Le Mans 24 Hours title in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid he shared with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, and made his rally raid debut in preparation for the 2020 Dakar Rally in a Toyota Hilux. He also returned to the Indianapolis 500 – but since he failed to qualify, we won’t dwell on that…

Rising star

Robert Shwartzman: From its foundation in the 1950s, Formula 3 has been an indicator of true racing driver talent and its latest leading light is Russian Robert Shwartzman, who this year claimed the inaugural FIA F3 Championship. The 20-year-old took three victories in the Formula 1 support series and kept scoring consistently, which allowed him to clinch the crown at his home round at Sochi with a pair of podium finishes. He’s already a member of the Ferrari Academy for young talent and Formula 2 is likely to be next as he strives to emulate countryman Daniil Kvyat and make it to the top.

It was also a good year for…

Former McLaren protégé Nyck de Vries claimed the Formula 2 championship and parlayed that into a works Mercedes Formula E seat. Meanwhile, Nicholas Latifi turned his runner-up spot (with the help of some financial support) into a Williams Formula 1 drive.