McLaren, Ferrari, BMW, Williams and Red Bull have their driver line-ups set for 2009.
With a few informed guesses we can probably make a decent guess at what the official 2009 F1 driver line-up will look like. Here’s my thoughts, share yours below:
Ferrari confirmed their driver line-up before the Italian Grand Prix, sticking with the line-up they’ve had since 2006.
BMW Sauber F1 Team
Kubica joined Heidfeld at BMW halfway through 2006, and the pair will remain together for another year in 2009.
Renault F1 Team
There seems to be no way into Ferrari or BMW for Fernando Alonso for the time being. But with Renault returning to form late in this season, and the prospect of engine equalisation next year nullifying part of their disadvantage, perhaps he doesn’t want to move on after all?
Flavio Briatore’s lukewarm reaction to Nelson Piquet Jnr’s fourth place at Fuji suggests there might be something to rumours GP2 driver and Renault tester Lucas di Grassi will take Piquet’s place.
Williams confirmed their driver line-up earlier this year, with Rosberg entering a fourth season with the team.
Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel’s move to Red Bull was announced months ago. David Coulthard is retiring from F1.
Trulli is signed up for 2009 and Glock looks a dead cert although there doesn’t seem to have beena formal announcement yet.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
The hardest line-up to predict, with Vettel leaving and Sebastien Bourdais in doubt. Whether Sato deserves the seat may be a moot point as he appears to have marketing appeal for Red Bull, who want to export more canned caffeinated craziness to Japan.
Presumably someone will do the maths and if the value of that brand recognition exceeds the cost of fixing Sato’s STR4s the switch will be made. Disappointingly, Anthony Davidson seems not to have been given a moment’s thought by anybody.
Sebastien Buemi is a Red Bull tester and impressed in GP2 last season. His absence from the GP2 Asia roster suggests he is not spending another year at that level in 2009.
Honda Racing F1 Team
Honda have been holding out for Fernando Alonso but it appears to have been to no avail. However there are rumours Williams’ Brazilian petrol supplier Petrobras is to switch to the team to coincide with the arrival of Bruno Senna. The GP2 runner-up admitted a few weeks ago he’s been in discussion with the team.
Force India F1 Team
Team boss Vijay Mallya hinted in August that he planned to keep the same driver line-up for 2009. Paul di Resta was recently linked to the team but Mercedes’ Norbert Haug said his driver will either remain in the DTM or switch to GP2 next year.
Hamilton signed a five-year deal last season, and Kovalainen got a one-year extension before the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Do you think this is how the 2009 F1 grid will look? Share your thoughts below.