The Williams Driver Academy is probably the last chance saloon for Jack Aitken. He is already 25 and now on his third season of Formula 2. There is a creeping suspicion that the likeable British-Korean driver might be reaching his ceiling.
Jack Aitken Early Career
Aitken graduated to single-seaters from karts in 2014. He started in the Formula Renault Eurocup with Fortec Motorsports. It was a decent debut with one win among four podiums. He moved to Korainen for 2015 and won the title along with the Formula Renault Alps title. Following this double championship win, Aitken was signed to the Renault Driver Academy.
He then graduated to GP3 racing with Arden International in 2016. Aitken switched to ART Grand Prix for 2017. His teammate in 2017 was George Russell who won the title. Aitken was second and 79 points adrift. He was only just ahead of his other teammate Nirei Fukuzumi.
Promotion to Formula Two
Aitken again partnered Russell at ART in 2018 but this time in Formula 2. Aitken would also become the Renault test and reserve driver. And while Russell again took the title, Aitken was only 11th in the championship with a single Sprint win to his name.
Campos signed Aitken for 2019 and he took 3 wins on his way to a much improved 5th place in the standings but it was still some way short of the expectations of both Renault and Aitken who parted ways at the end of the season. Aitken was subsequently announced as a reserve driver for Williams in 2020.
2020 has so far been a disappointing year for Aitken. A pair of 3rd place finishes at Silverstone has been his only sight of the podium. He did enjoy a drive in the Williams F1 car at the Styrian Grand Prix and will again at the young driver test, but these are both silver linings.
Jack Aitken GP Grandstand F1 Seat Prediction:
It once felt like Aitken would follow Lando Norris and his former teammate George Russell up into F1 in due course. But the breakthrough season that would have seen him become a title challenger should have been 2019 and it just didn’t happen for him for whatever reason.
But there clearly is plenty of talent in Aitken as seen by Williams signing him to their academy after he departed Renault. That being said, Williams’ Academy signings are not as bold as the other teams. The drivers chosen seem geared towards public relations and funding the team more than they are to do developing the next new F1 driver. So while I am not confident Aitken will find a berth in F1, I feel sure he has a long and happy career ahead of him in other categories such as WEC or Indycar.