Thursday, 4 August 2011

2012 driver market

With 8 races to go in 2011 there is plenty of drivers fighting for their futures, particularly in the midfield. From signed contracts to foreign rumours, there's plenty of factors that make up the 'silly season' Here is a little summary of things. Of course even the drivers i have marked as confirmed may change as options are to be taken up or contracts could be cancelled but hopefully it's a half realistic perspective on how things will take shape next season!

Almost certain
Outside chance

Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber

The current world champion Sebastian Vettel has a long term contract with Red Bull. Mark Webber will decide his future this month as he decides if he has the motivation to continue. I think he will but that 2012 could well be his final year driving in F1.


Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton

Both drivers have deals which go to the end of 2012 but Jenson Button still has an option on his contract to sort out. Expecting that to be a formality.


Felipe Massa
Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is now well embedded with the Scuderia. Rumours still crop up over the future of Felipe Massa but Ferrari insist he will be part of the team in 2012.

Mercedes GP

Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg

Again this should be an unchanged line up. A decision over Michael Schumacher's future is in his hands and he says he wants to complete the 'project' he set out to do when he returned to the sport in 2010.

Renault GP

Vitaly Petrov
Robert Kubica
Romain Grosjean
Nick Heidfeld
Bruno Senna
Adrian Sutil
Nico Hulkenberg

Vitaly Petrov is signed for 2012. However the second seat at Renault is shrouded in doubt. Robert Kubica has it waiting for him but he needs to prove before next season that he is over his rallying accident and is able to drive at the level required. Current driver Nick Heidfeld has had a mixed season and been criticised at times by Eric Boullier. Bruno Senna got a practice run in Budapest whilst GP2 championship leader Romain Grosjean is on the 'radar' for next season. Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg could be outside shots if either leaves Force India.


Pastor Maldonado
Rubens Barrichello
Adrian Sutil
Nico Hulkenberg
Romain Grosjean

Despite no points registered yet, Williams have indicated that they are happy with Pastor Maldonado and want him to stay on. Rubens Barrichello has made it clear that he wants to stay on with the Grove based team as well but talks have stalled so far. An unchanged line up still remains the favourite outcome but Adrian Sutil and Romain Grosjean have been linked. Nico Hulkenberg left last year after being offered a 5 year deal which would have sent him to HRT for this season. Would be a shock u-turn but he still has many admirers within Williams

Force India

Paul di Resta
Adrian Sutil
Nico Hulkenberg

Paul di Resta has impressed in his rookie year and though tipped for a future at Mercedes will likely be still with Force India next year. Adrian Sutil was looking away last year but ended up staying on and again options seem limited. With Nico Hulkenberg waiting in the wings will he find himself squeezed into a sideways move in the driver market?


Kamui Kobayashi
Sergio Perez

No changes at Sauber who are having a good year with this pairing

Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi
Jaime Alguersuari
Daniel Ricciardo
Jean-Eric Vergne

All to play for at Toro Rosso but how will it play out? Daniel Ricciardo impressed early on in his practice outings and seems set to get one of the seats. With his career diverting to HRT it puts a bit more pressure on him to show his worth but he'll likely get his chance. For Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, well both have impressed at different moments of the season but with no opening at Red Bull likely, somebody is heading for the exit door. Jean-Eric Vergne is another hot young talent but i would expect the best he will get at Toro Rosso next season is a Friday role.


Heikki Kovalainen
Jarno Trulli
Karun Chandhok

Mike Gascoyne has strongly hinted that Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will be retained. Karun Chandhok struggled in Germany and though he may race again in India it is unlikely he'll get a regular seat without one of the current pair moving on.


Vitantonio Liuzzi
Narain Karthikeyan
Javier Villa
Dani Clos
Daniel Ricciardo
Jean-Eric Vergne

Oh HRT, how on earth can you tell what will happen with this team next month, let alone next year! Vitantonio Liuzzi should have a good chance of staying on. Of the other current drivers, Narain Karthikeyan has struggled but has the backing of Tata. Daniel Ricciardo will probably move on. The current owners are keen to get a Spaniard in with WTCC driver Javier Villa amongst those linked. An outside shot but if Red Bull want to give Jean-Eric Vergne experience will he get slotted in with HRT like Ricciardo has been? You never know...

Virgin Racing

Timo Glock
Jerome D'Ambrosio
Robert Wickens

Timo Glock is staying on with Virgin and hoping for a better future. Jerome D'Ambrosio seems to have a good relationship with the team and really his main stumbling block could be a potential lack of financial backing. Young starlet Robert Wickens is currently a reserve and potentially a future option


  1. Saw Wickens racing today on Eurosport, seems very capable and won the race with a good pit stop strategy and some solid lap times.
    Not sure how much the difference is between the formula though and no idea regarding how much the skill level requirements ramp up going into F1.
    But he looked fairly solid

  2. I didn't know much about him until this year but he has been very impressive. I like Vergne though he had a tough weekend. Ricciardo has a lot of hype and is starting to show now he is racing with HRT. WSR is becoming more and more a feeder series for F1 it seems as well

  3. Tata motors will buy the whole HRT team in 2012 f1. And will rename it as TATA-Jaguar f1 team .
    Do you know any more details regarding this.
    The 2012 f1 car chassis will be from Toyota .
    the engine will be changed from Cosworth to Renault ...

  4. Hi Muthu. I had read something about HRT maybe going for Renault engines but nothing about a TATA buyout (although there is the sponsorship connection at present). The Toyota link up has been touted before but that seem to have failed to materialise.

    Where did you see/hear about it?

  5. Muthu, talk about wishful thinking!

  6. Tata motors is the owner of Jaguar and Land Rover .
    In F1 they are looking for :-
    1. They are looking forward for Brand name publicity in the European countries for selling efficient & new technology quality cars and Trucks.
    2. They are also planning to bring back Jaguar pride and popularity in racing . So that ,this will help them to increase their sales in European subcontinents, China , India,Australia and Middle east.
    3. Tata is also planning to have a local assemble units India, in order to release new models of Jaguar and Land Rover at a decent affordable price.
    4. Already TCS ( Tata consultancy Solution ) Software division of Tata supports Ferrari f1.
    5. They have lot of money, f1 will help TATA Motors to improve there R&D for Race car.
    But TATA is trying to enter into f1, with Jaguar .