2009 F1 driver rumours

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Rubens Barrichello, Honda, Istanbul, 2007, 470150

An interesting new rumour about the 2009 F1 driver line-up puts Fernando Alonso at Honda alongside Jenson Button next year.

Do you believe it? And what should we make of these other rumours about who goes where in 2009?

Fernando Alonso to Honda

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Autosport have given over two pages to this surprising rumour in this week’s issue, suggesting Alonso might move teams again in 2009 to join Honda.

The partnership of two-times champion Alonso with the strategic and technical savvy of Ross Brawn is certainly an appealing one.

But I think this is a pretty doubtful rumour. Would Alonso really want a third new team in as many years? Would Brawn drop Barrichello who, despite his struggles earlier in the season, has scored in the last two races and is a useful known quantity in a team where technical upheavel is taking place in their quest to re-join the front runners? And it would make no sense if the claims Alonso has signed for Ferrari for 2010 are true.

Having said that, Honda seem to have put more weight behind their 2009 campaign sooner than any other team and were first to test the new KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). If they have got something truly special up their sleeve and reckon they’ll be at least at Renault’s level next year, they might just pull off what would be a surprising coup.

David Coulthard out of Red Bull

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It’s dangerous to try and write Coulthard’s career off because people were doing it four years ago and he keeps bouncing back. But even though he scored a podium in Montreal there are persuasive indicators that this might be his last year at Red Bull and possibly in F1.

Mark Webber has generally out-qualified and out-raced Coulthard so far this year, and Red Bull have a driver lined up to nab Coulthard’s seat…

Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull

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Vettel has a calm head on young shoulders – much calmer than all those early-season incidents would suggest, as he was lagely blameless for them. He’s the only driver in either of their teams to come through their youth programme and his promotion alongisde Webber would be a useful vindication of the considerable effort Red Bull invests in bringing up new talent.

Romain Grosjean to Renault

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Grosjean was favourite for the GP2 title this year and although he’s lagging behind Giorgio Pantano (remember him) and Bruno Senna at the moment, it has a lot to do with a large slice of bad luck at Monte-Carlo and a moment of madness at Barcelona.

He sampled the R28 for the first time yesterday and if he does win the GP2 title Renault may well choose to put him straight in the F1 team, because a year’s testing seemed to do little for GP2 graduates Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jnr.

Meet the rookies: Romain Grosjean

Bruno Senna to Toro Rosso

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Bruno Senna is linked to GP2 via team boss Gerhard Berger, who was his uncle Ayrton’s team mate from 1990-92. After Senna’s win at Monaco in GP2 Berger suggested he could be a Toro Rosso driver in the future:

I’ve told Bruno to go and win the championship. I think he has a good chance to be in the game, as he showed with his performance at a difficult place. There’s no reason why he can’t win the championship. He has a good car and he’s a good driver. Now he needs to get everything together, win the title and then take the next step.

I don’t think it’s a question of a test, it’s a question of how he can get to F1. He needs the right car, and we need to ask if he’s the right guy for us. I don’t want to start any speculation, but he has my full support.

The four drivers fighting for a 2009 F1 drive

Fernando Alonso to BMW

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Alonso both deserves and needs a place in a top team, but with Robert Kubica in such excellent form do they need Alonso?

Coulthard / Vettel / Piquet merry-go-round

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A rumour doing the rounds before Canada (posted here by Frecon) suggested an imminent three-way trade moving Coulthard to Renault in Nelson Piquet Jnr’s place, relegating Piquet to Toro Rosso and promoting Vettel to Coulthard’s old seat.

I could see it happening next year, perhaps with Piquet finding his way onto the sidelines rather than another F1 team, but I don’t think it’ll happen before the year is out.

Danica Patrick to Honda

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Honda have flatly denied they are even going to give a test to Patrick, first woman to win an Indy Car race, despite a lot of people getting very excited about it.

Read more about Danica Patrick at Maximum Motorsport

What do you make of these rumours? Have you heard any others?

2009 F1 season