Should rookies in F1 be given multiple years to prove themselves or should it be sink or swim? Back in the days before the F1 cost cap which is meant to even the playing field between the high and low end teams, I think teams could afford to keep a crash happy rookie or any rookie for a couple of seasons before they made the choice to drop them due to low performance, but post cost cap era where every single crash could cost the team dearly on things like development, teams are on the hunt for more naturally talented rookies who are more apt to adapt sooner rather than later.
This season a prime example of this is Nyck De Vries. He finally got his chance in F1 last year when last second, he was called to sub in for Williams driver Alex Albon after he fell ill due to his appendix prior to Monza. Nyck did really well, notably in just the one race, and was given a seat for '23 basically so Alpha Tauri could release Pierre Gasly to drive for Alpine after Alpine's reckless loss of upcoming rookie Oscar Piastri. Nyck then proceeded to crash a few times this season and entangle himself with other drivers to the point where Red Bull axed him even before the start of the traditional silly season of the summer break where drivers fates for the next season are often decided.
Is that fair? A lot of fans didn't think so, but I'm not one of them. Sport, especially F1, is based on improvement and overall performance. It's not there to baby rookies and hold their hands until 3 years later, they finally get it, because the waiting list to get into F1 is VERY long considering there are only ever 20 seats.
Teams spend millions, to make millions, and in doing so, want top of the line. When a team does well there is a huge financial benefit that helps the entire team and the development of future cars. You don't get that if you spend your money just trying to rebuild the old specs or from a driver who can't ever get into the points, podiums, or even show that they can challenge to try to get there if their car isn't that good.
This season, New Zealand reserve driver, Liam Lawson, had to jump into Alpha Tauri's car to drive for returning veteran Riccardo (who ironically was there to replace De Vries) after Riccardo unfortunately broke a bone in his hand in an accident where he didn't or couldn't let go of the wheel after a seemingly minor crash in Zandvoort. Liam having never driven half the tracks or in an F1 race prior, has shown what a potential rookie can do when they are "just that good." He's now scored his first points plural, in F1, he's driven the most physically grueling race, he's driven through monsoon weather, and managed to pip current teammate Yuki in finishing order and the reigning world champ in qualifying in just 3 races time.
This years Australian rookie Oscar Piastri who finally got his drive in a usually difficult to drive McClaren, has proven that though there is a learning curve, it doesn't have to include loads of mistakes that cost the team. Talent is talent and that often can't be taught. Contrast that with American rookie Logan Sargeant who has had quite a number of crashes and is potentially on the cusp of losing his seat because he hasn't yet shown at the very least, the improvement needed to get him another drive in 2024 (in my opinion). His team boss Vowels has said he has to earn his seat, but with another crash in Singapore this weekend, and Liam Lawson scoring points before him having little to no experience in the AT car, it's not looking great.
F1 is ultimately about being the best of the best in designing the best car, in your pit crew, and ultimately with the driver for that team. Several rookies have proven that it doesn't have to take 3 years to get someone in the car who can adapt and score or challenge for points. Fans and teams are hungry for drivers who are going to mount a challenge. It seems the days are now long gone where it was acceptable and expected to see rookies putting it into the wall their first year and I'm all for it. The only way to prove yourself in F1 has always been, on the track.