Is this the 2009 F1 drivers entry list?

Takuma Sato tested for Toro Rosso this year - will he race for them in 2009?

Takuma Sato tested for Toro Rosso this year - will he race for them in 2009?

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:

Scuderia Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen (has 2009 contract)
Felipe Massa (has 2009 contract)

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

Nick Heidfeld (has 2009 contract)
Robert Kubica (has 2009 contract)

Kubica joined Heidfeld at BMW halfway through 2006, and the pair will remain together for another year in 2009.

Renault F1 Team

Fernando Alonso
Lucas di Grassi

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

Nico Rosberg (has 2009 contract)
Kazuki Nakajima (has 2009 contract)

Williams confirmed their driver line-up earlier this year, with Rosberg entering a fourth season with the team.

Red Bull Racing

Mark Webber (has 2009 contract)
Sebastian Vettel (has 2009 contract)

Sebastian Vettel’s move to Red Bull was announced months ago. David Coulthard is retiring from F1.

Toyota Racing

Jarno Trulli (has 2009 contract)
Timo Glock

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

Takuma Sato
Sebastien Buemi

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

Jenson Button
Bruno Senna

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

Adrian Sutil
Giancarlo Fisichella

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.

McLaren-Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (has 2009 contract)
Heikki Kovalainen (has 2009 contract)

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.

2009 F1 drivers and teams
2009 F1 season
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47 comments on Is this the 2009 F1 drivers entry list?

  1. yeah that was a small hope, the buzz was bourdais getting there due to briatore’s kinda step back in the team… I do think piquet will keep it as well, he’ll do fine in the last two races ( he’s done superb in fuji so far)
    Putting sato does not make any sense in my opinion..

  2. I do hope Bourdias keeps his drive for next year, to see how well he copes under the 09 regs, which put the f1 cars more in line with the indie cars he drove the wheels off.

  3. Scuderia Toro Rosso

    Takuma Sato
    Sebastien Bourdias

    I agree with the rest

  4. Putting sato does not make any sense in my opinion..

    it makes perfect sense to the marketing men armed with spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations. Bringing in Sato would help with marketing Chuck Norris Juice to the Japs, and getting engine help from Honda in future (a utopian future where Honda engines are good again)

  5. That would be gutting for Bourdais. He’s really upped his performance since the start of the season. He’s been beset by bad luck though, which without, he could be sitting on 18 points at the moment. Alas he only has 4 points, but STR must know that recently Bourdais has been almost level with a driver as talented as Vettel. Bourdais has impressed me much more than Piquet, that’s for sure. At least Bourdais has improved since the start of the season, whereas Piquet is too inconsistent. Even though Germany was a fluke result, he did really well in the circumstances, and looked to be the turning point to his season. But he hasn’t built on that result in the way that Glock and Bourdais have built on their best performances at Hungary and Spa-Francorchamps respectively.

  6. I think the list is fairly correct but I think Roman will get the 2nd Renault seat not Lucas

  7. You’ll have a South American in the seat if Alonso stays at Renault.

    If Alonso leaves I would love to see an all French lineup at Renault of Bourdais and Grosjean.

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th October 2008, 16:03

    Rabi – I think Grosjean is Swiss, he just competes under a French licence because motor racing is banned in Switzerland.

  9. Steven Roy said on 16th October 2008, 17:21

    I’m not sure if Senna needs another year in GP2 to shine. The same what they did with Hamilton. They kept him there for another year and he won the championship. Should they do the same with Senna?

    Lewis did two seasons of Formula Renault and two of F3 winning championships in the second season of both but he only did one season of GP2 in 2006 and won the title at his first attempt.

    I think Senna is ready for F1. He finished 2nd in GP2 at his first attempt while the title went to someone with a ridiculous amount of experience in that type of series. The only other driver to impress was di Grassi who was not supposed to race in the championship. He spent the previous winter doing all of the development driving for the new GP2 car. As a result it suited him perfectly and he looked instantly impressive.

    If Senna did a second season of GP2 he would have to win the title or look as if he had gone backwards. He has no need to put himself under that kind of pressure so far better to step into F1.

    I think Keith’s grid is pretty close to what we will eventually see. I would like to see Rubens stay in F1 but at the same time I would like to see Senna given his chance. I would prefer to see him in the Toro Rosso than either Sato or Buemi. However that seat could be a poisoned chalice next season. After Vettel’s performance this season everyone will think that anything less than a stellar performance from a new driver will show a lack of ability/potential. But you have to consider that Ferrari claims to be struggling with KERS and being a Ferrari customer in that situation may not be a good place to be. An Adrian Newey chassis for a new Formula should be an advantage but it will be designed round the Renault package and then cut and shut to suit whatever Ferrari come up with. Combine that with Sato as the lead driver and it is not where I would want to be for my first F1 season.

    The only advantage I can see to Senna doing a second season of GP2 is IF he wins the championship he will know which teams have a grip on the new regs and which to avoid for 2010.

  10. Steven Roy said on 16th October 2008, 17:28

    Remember Piquet is in the Renault seat because Carlos Slim Helu insists on a South American driver. I am sure Renault would love an all French line up but in the current economic climate it is probably best to keep one of the top three richest men on the planet happy.

  11. Filipe said on 16th October 2008, 17:57

    Keith, I think you got most of them right, but I believe you are very wrong about Toro Rosso. I think chances of a Sato/Buemi pairing are very slim. Yes, Sato would be good for Red Bull PR, but this doesn’t factor Berger who has a say in who drives for his team. Berger would already be letting Red Bull put Buemi (the most promising young driver they have, but still far from one of the most successful GP2 drivers to move for F1) instead of his friend Senna’s nephew which I’m pretty sure would be his first pick for a young driver. I think it’s very telling they put Sato and Buemi to test in Jerez and few days later all but announced Buemi for next season. They were running against each other for one seat and Buemi won. One should not forget Toro Rosso unusual position, they will problably get their chassis from Red Bull late and have to develop the car during the season, so unless they get someone like Alex Wurz to do the heavy lifting for them a GP2 rookie and Sato would be a very bad idea. I expect them to either keep Bourdais or save Barrichello from retirement. Maybe they can keep Sato as a tester and have him race in Suzuka and possibly one or two other asian tracks as a PR stunt.

  12. Filipe said on 16th October 2008, 18:15

    Steven, I also think people at Renault has some worries about putting Grosjean at F1 too soon. He clearly is a great talent, but a little rough (he was by far the worst main driver Art had in a GP2 season so far). He got a lot better through the season, but it probably is a smart move not to rush him to F1. The negative side is that given how hyped Grosjean has been he does need to win 2009 to look good.

    Senna already has two GP2 seasons. In 2007, he won the main race in Barcelona, got a few other podiums and ended at 8th.

  13. Jonatas said on 16th October 2008, 18:25

    The Brazilian press has reported that Bruno Senna has signed onto participate in the first post-season tests later this year with Honda. After that, he’s supposed to be offered a test driver seat by Honda for 09.

    Steven Roy,
    To correct you, this year was Bruno Senna’s second year in GP2. His first was in 2007.

  14. I think Bruno Senna will be going to Toro Rosso…

  15. I agree with much of this, but I think Piquet stands a better chance of keeping his seat than many of us think. He has improved his form in Japan, and is still a non-threat to Alonso, so I think he stays.

    If Bourdais loses his drive it will be a real disappointment- he has improved greatly over the course of the year and deserves a second season.

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