16 Jul 2012

F1 Driver market for 2013 and beyond

It's nearly the halfway point of the season.  Here's our roundup of who is likely to be where in the top teams in F1 2013 and beyond.

  • Fernando Alonso - confirmed at Ferrari.  Fernando loves Ferrari and is unlikely to move on.
  • Phillipe Massa - no contract for 2013.  Until Webber signed with Red Bull Massa's seat was at risk.  Likely to be retained for 2013 then removed to make way for Vettel or Grosjean in 2014.  May end up at Williams or Sauber in 2014.
  • Lewis Hamilton - making noises about talking to other teams.  However this is unlikely to have any substance behind it.  It is all part of contract negotiations.  Lewis wants to stay at McLaren but on a higher wage.  They want to reduce his wage.  Therefore he puts out noises about going to Lotus.  Empty threats that may rattle McLaren into sacking Lewis in 2014.
  • Jenson Button - confirmed at McLaren.  Likely to stay at McLaren.  He has no reason to move and if Lewis gets itchy feet they will retain Jenson as a stabiliser.
  • Sebastian Vettel - confirmed at Red Bull but may be tempted to move elsewhere in 2014.  Maybe Ferrari or even McLaren who would love to have Vettel should Hamilton's wage demands prove to be his undoing.
  • Mark Webber - confirmed at Red Bull for 2013.  After then he will look for a good wage packet for his retirement.  Both Mercedes and Lotus have history with Mark and would have him back like a shot.
  • Kimi Raikonnen - Kimi needs to feel comfortable.  He's earned enough to retire so will drive for whichever top team will have him and that he feels comfortable in.  Lotus for 2013 but maybe Williams in 2014.
  • Romain Grosjean - hot property.  Expect to see him at Lotus in 2013 then Ferrari or Red Bull should a vacancy arise.
  • Michael Schumacher - one or two more years at Mercedes then he'll retire again.
  • Nico Rosberg - Nico blows hot and cold.  Probably not in huge demand by the top teams.  Maybe a Ferrari number 2 in 2014 or packed off to Force India.
  • Paul DiResta - waiting for Schumacher to leave Mercedes then he'll be shoehorned in.
  • Nico Hulkenberg - young, German, good looking.  Will also move to Mercedes when Michael leaves to replace Rosberg.
  • Pastor Maldonado - who knows?  Who can afford the repair bill?  Brilliant on his day.  Expensive when he's not.  If he develops as a driver he may stay at Williams or take his dollars to Force India.
  • Bruno Senna - Bruno has got to improve or he will be packed off to Brazil.  Likely to stay at Williams in 2013 but if not Sauber would be happy to take his sponsorship money.
  • Sergio Perez - hot property.  Someone must have an option on him.  Perhaps Ferrari or even Red Bull but when Webber leaves.
  • Kamui Kobayashi - there should always be room for a Japanese driver in F1 and Kamui has been one of the best.  Sauber tend not to hang on to drivers very long though.  Either he'll stay at Sauber or end up at Force India or Williams.

  • Heikki Kovalainen - deserves a better drive than Caterham.  Good enough for Williams.
  • Valentino Rossi - if the Ducati carries on being rubbish and MotoGP on it's self destructive spiral will we see a shock move to F1?
  • Dario Franchitti - Dario is three years younger than Michael Schumacher.  His only F1 outing was at a test in a Jaguar.  He is the best British driver of modern times not to compete in F1.  Will he be tempted to spend a couple of years in the pinnacle of motorsport?