With the news this morning of Romain Grosjean to partner Kimi Raikkonen at
Renault Lotus the 2011/2012 F1 Driver Magic Roundabout is officially on.
To summarise, so far we know that Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull will keep their 2011 line ups for 2012, phew. Beyond the top four teams it gets a little more complicated. Yes, Lotus have now confirmed their race drivers, but that leaves Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna without seats. They’re both funded drivers, and both very popular (not that that matters), but have they done enough to go elsewhere and race in F1 2012? We’re certain Petrov’s public outburst in the Russian media pretty much ended his career at
Joining this pair we have Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil, Daniel Ricciardo, Tonio Liuzzi, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg.
It’s more than likely that Nico and Paul will be confirmed at Force India, but that annoucement is taking longer than expected to come out.
Sauber have had rising stars Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez signed-up for several months. Toro Rosso will almost certainly stick with long-term drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, leaving Ricciardo hoping to usurp Jarno Trulli from his
Lotus Caterham seat. However that’s been complicated further by Petrov’s addition to the mix: the Russian’s combination of big bucks and decent pace will make him very tempting. Another Red Bull protegee – Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne – is hoping to land a race seat too, but seems more likely to become third driver at Toro Rosso.
Williams have one seat going at present, alongside the recently confirmed Pastor Maldonado, making their second berth very, very fiercely fought over by every driver named above plus a few funded GP2 wannabes. HRT have one seat available to partner Pedro de la Rosa and are likely to take a pay driver despite having Tonio Liuzzi on a two year contract. Spanish GP2 racer Dani Clos is favourite after running at the young driver tests.
Marussia have confirmed Glock and Pic for 2012 so they’re all sorted and currently watching the roundabout go around and around again.
What do you think folks – who will or should end up where for 2012?