F1 2009 driver rumours: Sato and Sutil

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fisichella and Sutil set for another year at Force India in 2009
Fisichella and Sutil set for another year at Force India in 2009

Two new rumours surrounding next year’s F1 drivers have emerged.

Takuma Sato has been tipped for a comeback and Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella look likely to stay on at Force India for 2009.

Takuma Sato to Toro Rosso

Rumour rating:
F1 Fanatic rating 1

A rumour in Swiss magazine Motorsport Aktuell places Takuma Sato at Toro Rosso in 2009. Apparently Gerhard Berger is considering fielding two new drivers for the team in ’09, one a GP2 graduate such as Sebastien Buemi or Bruno Senna, the other a more experienced hand.

Sato, with 90 Grand Prix starts to his name, is being tipped as the experiecned half of the equation. As a bonus, he may help Red Bull sell to the Japanese market. This scenario would leave Sebastien Bourdais without a seat.

I’m sceptical about this rumour. With the best will in the world it’s hard to see Sato as the kind of experienced driver Toro Rosso need to take them forward. Honda only kept him in F1 because of his PR value to them and he never shook off his crash-prone tendencies. But maybe Toro Rosso see something in him I don’t. What do you think?

Force India to keep Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil

Rumour rating:
F1 Fanatic rating 4

Vijay Mallya said yesterday:

I have two good drivers. The experience of Giancarlo is invaluable and Adrian has lots of talent – I think he is improving race by race, becoming more consistent.

I am quite happy with them and, more importantly, they have a great attitude that will help me to face the challenges of tomorrow. I think they will be very satisfied driving the 2009 car, which I am sure will be a significant improvement and a big surprise.

That sounds like a pretty strong vote of confidence in his two men – it’d be surprising to see him go back on that at short notice. Force India face a long haul up the grid and stability in the driver line-up would be a bonus.

Aside from Monaco, Sutil has not impressed very much this year, but there aren’t many likely alternatives to him out there. Mallya is known to want to get an Indian driver in his car one day, but the most likely candidate is Karun Chandhok and judging by his GP2 form it’s still too soon to promote him – he’s made a lot of mistakes and had one win, in a sprint race where he took pole position by dint of finishing eighth in the previous day’s race.

Share your thoughts on these rumoured moves and any other changes you’ve heard of below.

F1 2009 drivers and teams
F1 2009 season