A reserve driver role is a perfect way for drivers without a full time seat to either gain experience in F1, or keep themselves ticking over until a seat opens up.
A perfect example of this would be with Nico Hulkenberg.
The German lost his seat in F1, to be replaced by Esteban Ocon at Renault and took up a reserve driver role, replacing Sergio Perez at Racing Point when the Mexican tested positive for Coronavirus.
The German now finds himself in a reserve driver role for Aston Martin, even stepping in for Sebastian Vettel for the first two races of 2022, with his fellow countryman feeling unwell in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Now approaching the 2023 season, the reserve driver role has kept Hulkenberg in the F1 picture enough for him to be a strong candidate for a seat next season, with the German being heavily linked with Mick Schumacher’s seat at Haas.
Soon to be retiring Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel has, however, confirmed that he will not be taking up a similar role, squashing rumours that he would be partially remaining in Formula 1 next season.
“What does a replacement driver do?
“He comes to the races and then does nothing, right?”
“So that’s really out of the question for me, unless we’re talking about Suzuka,” he joked.
The four-time world champion told fans in an emotional Instagram video that he was retiring to focus his efforts elsewhere, and spend as much time with his family as possible, meaning travelling to every race would prove counteractive to his plans.
One driver who might be considering taking the reserve driver route is Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian being rumoured to take the role at a top team like Mercedes, before returning to the grid in 2023.
“I’m putting together a plan to try to get back to the front of the grid and back to winning ways, all those things I’m capable of,” he told a reporter when asked about next season.
“It’s not ‘see you later’.
“You’ll see me around,” concluded the eight-time race winner.