Is this the 2009 F1 drivers entry list?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.


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.


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?”

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

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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.

  11. Before singapore toro rosso tried sato and buemi, after the test buemi made a good impression on the team and franz tost told he would be racing for them on 2009. So i think sato made little or no impression and i´m thinking that if bourdais makes no moneky (like singapore) he will be retaining his drive

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

    I thought he was French, and with the Swiss thing, ermm Buemi.

  13. Grosjean is Swiss, but also has French nationality. From what I understand he actually is much more Swiss than French, but his managers decide to make him run as French because it would be better career-wise.

  14. Grosjean is Swiss, but also has French nationality. From what I understand he actually is much more Swiss than French, but his managers decide to make him run as French because it would be better career-wise.

    I didn’t realise he had such complicated nationality. Sounds like a modern Bernard Gachot who changed nationality so often he ended up with an EU flag on his helmet.

  15. I would like to see Rubens back on the grid next year – I think he is being scapegoated over the dog of a car he has had to drive the last two years with Honda.

    And for consistencies sake, I’d like to see two Seb’s at Torro Rosso for next year. For some reason Sato just doesn’t seem to fit in :)

  16. I want Rubens to stay at Honda, but I have a feeling that Bruno Senna may just get that seat, which is great, but not when it’s at Rubens expense…

    And I think the STR line-up will be Boudrais and Buemi, but Sato may just get Buemi’s seat too…

  17. @ Steven Roy

    I didn’t realise he had such complicated nationality. Sounds like a modern Bernard Gachot who changed nationality so often he ended up with an EU flag on his helmet.

    Well, it wasn’t that complicated with Gachot: he was a Belgian, born in Luxembourg, living in France.

    And what to think of Andreas Zuber: he’s Austrian, but races under a licence from the United Arab Emirates.

  18. Fergus Gallas
    17th October 2008, 11:38


    1 – Rubens has advanced talks with Berger. He needs an experienced driver due to so many changes in F1 specs.

    2 – Piquet is not out of F1. He has a confirmed seat and in my opinion well deserved. What If i’d say Petrobras is going to pave the place for Nelson?

    3 – Bruno Senna is not ready. I don’t understand why people rate him so high. He has never won a title in any category. He is inconstant to say the least. He will take a test seat. Seen somewhere that has been settled by the team and his mother.

    As for the rest of the grid it looks that you got it right, i’m affraid.


  19. I don´t agree with the line up in Toro Rosso, Renault and Honda.

    I think it would be the worst decision to change Bourdais to Sato. For me Sato is a totally mediocre driver, who hardly finished a race last year, and was not fast at all. Bourdais right now is starting to deliver even beating Vettel with this new aero package.
    Sato has already been given more than 3 years of opportunities to prove how good he is. To all of you who have a good knowledge of drivers do you really beleive he deserves a return?

    I think Bourdais is good on demanding Toro Rosso for his confirmation because he is a good driver and for sure much better than the other candidates available. I do beleive he is a candidate for Reanult and Honda too. I even think he has a better opportunity to land in Renault than Di Grassi or Grosjean. If Piquet is changed because of his underperformance because of being a rookie, placing any of the above mentioned would be unwise because I think they will deliver the same. Remember that Kovalainen even having fridays practices did not perform well on the first half of the year. So again placing unexperienced drivers that are not superstars on gp2 will be like starting all over again.

  20. I think the problem Rubens has is that he is so similar to Jenson. They have similar driving styles and similar performance. Since Rubens is a known quantity that means Button may not be as good as Honda thought he was. So now they have the choice of staying with those two or trying to find a young driver who is the driver they thought Jenson was or to push Jenson to prove he still has that ptential in him.

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