With four rookies in this year's 2008 Formula season, how do they stack up nearing the completion of their first season?
Sebastien Bourdais, Timo Glock, Kazuki Nakajima and Nelson Piquet are all fighting for the title of top rookie of 2008.
After failing to secure a ride in 2003 after graduating from Formula 3000, Bourdais set camp in the now defunct CART/Champ Car World Series. The Frenchman garnered much success, winning four straight titles, before returning to Europe to join Formula 1 once again.
Driving for Toro Rosso, Bourdais has struggled with transition to Formula 1, contrasting the efforts and early success of Juan Pablo Montoya several years earlier. He finished seventh in the season opener in Melbourne before a lean period of races, in which he was not able to get into points until Spa.
Along with being overshadowed by younger teammate Sebastien Vettel, Bourdais has shown subpar performances, which could lead to his F1 career ending (once more).
After a frightening incident in the season opener, Glock struggled to get to grips with the Toyota and was consistently outpaced by Teammate Jarno Trulli. However, Glock was able to produce a mid-season turn around in form, gradually improving with several points scoring finishes and a magnificent second in Hungary.
Glock is set to be retained at Toyota for 2009 alongside Jarno Trulli.
After graduating from GP2, Nakajima made his debut in the 2007 season finale in Brazil. The 2008 season has proved a tough one for the Japanese driver, with substandard performances at most rounds, most likely due to the lack of performance of his Williams.
Further, Nakajima has been comprehensively outpaced by teammate Nico Rosberg and has struggled to get out pf the first segment in qualifying. Nakajima is set to be retained by Williams for 2009, though many suggest he is driving at Williams only for his close ties with Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, which supplies engines to Williams.
Nelson Piquet Jr.
Following the footsteps of his World champion father, Piquet has most definitely not had the success of his old man. Leading up to his entry into Formula 1, Piquet drove in GP2 in 2006, finishing second to Lewis Hamilton. He was the Renault test driver in 2007, and was then signed to partner Fernando Alonso for 2008.
This season has been a tough one for Piquet, as he has had several below par performances. Piquet has been overshadowed considerably by Alonso and has been outperformed in nearly every race.
He was able to get a podium in Hockenheim, after a safety car provided him the chance to leap up the field. Otherwise, it has been a lacklustre season for the Brazilian. It is not yet known whether he will be in Formula 1 in 2009; many are suggesting he will be given the boot at Renault.
By a considerable margin, Timo Glock is the best rookie in this 2008 season, both on paper and on track.