There are a few drivers who spring to mind who are at different points of their careers but could do worse than look across the pond at what opportunities there might be.
In terms of a driver who has been around for a little while now, it’s Antonio Giovinazzi. Clearly the Italian is viewed as a safe pair of hands by Ferrari as he remains the Scuderia’s reserve driver, but it has been over four years since he made his debut and he’s now in his third full season at Alfa Romeo, where he has picked up 19 points so far.
All of those points have come courtesy of ninth- or tenth-placed finishes, aside from a fifth in the dramatic 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. But with Carlos Sainz newly-signed and Charles Leclerc on a long-term deal, there doesn’t look to be any chance of a Ferrari seat, nor would you say Alfa is a team on a rapidly upward trajectory.
Giovinazzi’s problem might be a lack of direct funding for an IndyCar ride, but that’s not such an issue for a newer driver on the grid in the form of Nicholas Latifi. The Canadian brings significant backing to Williams and has done a solid job in his year and a half so far, and he reminds me a lot of Ericsson – capable of being a frontrunner and winning in Formula 2 machinery, but not showing the potential that suggests he will ever get further than a midfield seat at best.
It’s a gamble of course to make such a call at this early stage, and it’s probably not fair to expect Latifi to want to give up on F1 having so recently found a seat, but the ceiling seems a lot lower with Williams (and any other team he would realistically end up at) than it does if he considered a move to the US.
The biggest draw though would quite clearly be someone from a top team, and the most obvious candidate there is Valtteri Bottas. 2021 has not been going to plan for the Finn – partly through his own performances and partly through terrible luck – and it does feel like a matter of time before he’s replaced.
It has felt that way for a few seasons, but Bottas usually does a very good job for Mercedes in ensuring both championships are won, and on that basis I’ve always felt he fully deserves his spot. While he would be foolish to walk away from such a drive if it was still being offered to him, any other move is likely to be down the grid, whereas he would create quite a bit of interest if he switched to IndyCar at that point.