Barrichello, Bourdais and Piquet: will they still be F1 drivers in 2009?

Nelson Piquet Jnr\'s first home Grand Prix could be his last

Nelson Piquet Jnr's first home Grand Prix could be his last

David Coulthard announced in July that this weekend?s Brazilian Grand Prix would be his last F1 start.

But there is uncertainty over the futures of three other drivers on the grid ?ǣ two of whom count the Brazilian GP as their home race.

Will Sunday?s race mark the last F1 appearances for Rubens Barrichello, Sebastien Bourdais and Nelson Piquet Jnr?

Sebastien Bourdais

Toro Rosso are already losing German wunderkind Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull ?ǣ would they really want to risk starting 2009 with an all-new driver line-up by dropping Bourdais as well?

The Frenchman?s form has been unspectacular but in recent races he has gotten closer to Vettel on speed. He was classified in front of Vettel at Fuji before being given an extremely harsh penalty, and his race at Shanghai was ruined at the first corner.

He may not have done enough to given him a cast-iron claim on a seat for 2009, but I don?t think he?s done anything that merits a sacking. Nor do I think that, in Takuma Sato and Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso have two especially strong candidates to replace Bourdais with. I hope the Interlagos race isn?t his last.

43% of F1 Fanatic readers voted that Bourdais should keep his F1 seat for 2009.

Nelson Piquet Jnr

At the beginning of 2008 there were rumours Piquet would be swiftly dropped. After a fortunate second place at Hockenheim matters improved for a while but he slumped once more and found himself getting knocked out in Q1 again.

He?s fought back in the dying stages of the season ?ǣ but how much of this is down to improvements in the car, which team mate Fernando Alonso has driven to two wins and a fourth in the last three races?

Renault may find it an easy choice to replace Piquet with Lucas di Grassi for 2009 ?ǣ another Brazilian GP2 runner-up who has already impressed Renault?s test team. Sunday?s race could be Nelson Piquet?s Jnr sole appearance in the event his father won twice.

52% of F1 Fanatic readers voted that Piquet should keep his F1 seat for 2009.

Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello is not a rookie trying to win a second year ?ǣ he?s F1?s mot experienced driver. But he hasn?t got a contract for 2009, and team mate Jenson Button is believed to be more likely to stay at Honda next year.

There?s a strong chance that Sunday?s race will be Barrichello?s 16th and final home Grand Prix.

Which of these drivers do you think will be racing in F1 for the last time this weekend?

F1 2009 season
2009 F1 drivers and teams

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Rubens Barrichello will start his 266th Grand Prix this weekend

Rubens Barrichello will start his 266th Grand Prix this weekend

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35 comments on Barrichello, Bourdais and Piquet: will they still be F1 drivers in 2009?

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  1. Chalky said on 29th October 2008, 15:16

    I reckon Bourdais should stay. The new 2009 rules should benefit his driving style. Slicks and less aero. Being a multiple CART winner isn’t enough for F1 as history, but I think he’s done enough for a 1st season and should be given a 2nd.

    Piquet. Always completely outshone by Alonso. However, due to poor qualifying speed, correct me if I’m wrong, has always been on a heavy fuel load for a race. This always seems to compromise him as it wears his tyres more and then he’s spinning off somewhere. I can’t see Renault keeping him given their form, unless he’s bringing in “a lot” of sponsorship. I’d drop Piquet. But I’m not sure who’d replace him though. Lots of choice out there.

    Barrichello. Tough call for Honda. If you’re keeping one old hand with Button, do you risk the 2nd seat with a young gun or keep Reubens. I’d keep Reubens unless the chance to sign Alonso or Bruno Senna comes along.

  2. With Rubens due in the FIA press conference on Thursday, I think it may well be to announce his retirement – I can’t think of any other reason why he would be in there with DC and the title contenders, other than he is Brazilian obviously!

  3. I think Barrichello and Bourdais have justified their places in F1, and I can’t see many who would be a better bet than either of them. The opposite is true of Piquet, and he’s consistently underperformed. I still think Nakajima doesn’t warrant a drive next year either, but he basically guarantees engines for Williams, so he’s staying.

  4. John Spencer said on 29th October 2008, 15:45

    We need Bourdais for another year with a different team mate to see if Vettel really is the wunderkind his performance against Bourdais might suggest. I’ve got a suspicion Webber will up his game and Vettel won’t seem so stellar.

    Piquet was in a way unlucky to debut against Fernando Alonso, but Renault should be willing to punt on someone else. Anyone else, really.

    Rubens has been lucky this year that Jenson has been moaning and not really bothering. But does he want another year at Honda? Another year struggling to stay off the back of the grid while everyone says you’re past your best which btw was never that great anyway? Does anyone seriously believe Honda will make a miraculous step forward? I don’t.

  5. chill said on 29th October 2008, 16:18

    I don’t think that Lucas will do any better compared to Nelson. Alonso will beat them both. If they improve the car and next driver won’t make mistakes then it’s because of the improved car. I think Nelson was forced to jump over the shadow and he ended up in the wall. Any rookie will fail like this. Alonso somehow managed to squeeze the water out of the rock while still keeping the car on track :) Id like to see how Nelson performs next season.

  6. I think Bourdais will Stay, he always complained about his car during the season. I think if Bourdais was given a well balance car that suits his driving style he will shine.

    Piquet, I don’t think he will make it to 2009. But why not giving him another chance. People learn from their mistakes nobody is perfect and nobody is Ayrton Senna.

    Barrichello, the oldest Warrior in F1, I think its shame for Honda if they drop him, in fact they should him another seat for two more years just to compensate him for the rubbish car they have in 2008. And give him a dignified retirement in 2011 after he starts for make a good results. The problem is clearly is not from him. The problem is from the bad car.

  7. No, No, Yes, in that order of your asked question. Don’t agree with it, but that’s the way it looks to shake out.

  8. beneboy said on 29th October 2008, 19:17

    I’d give both Piquet & Bourdais another season to see how well they improve with a bit of experience behind them.

    Lots of drivers have had a tough time in their first few seasons yet have gone on to be very good drivers and in some cases champions.

    Barrichello is a tougher call.

    There’s no doubt he’s a good driver but he’s getting old for an F1 driver & can’t have many more seasons left in him.
    If Honda are going to keep Button next season then I’d have to go with a younger driver as his team mate.

    I’d be sad to see him go though, he’s given a lot to the sport and as a Ferrari fan I can’t praise him enough.

  9. PRIDE said on 29th October 2008, 19:17

    I think Bourdais will shine if he has second season with the new specs and a year of maturity. If you review rookies in the past, many have been beaten by his teammates the first year, but not in the second. If I were Toro rosso I would not gamble, I think he already has gained the experience, knows the team, the tracks, he finishes the races, he is getting to q3 in the last races (except singapore, the team has invested a lot of money on him, and he is right now at the same level as Webber. Neither Sato nor Buemi impresses. Really I would prefer Bourdais-Luizi if it is a must that a redbull driver should stay. At least Liuzzi is F3000 Champ. What has Buemi won?. Although I think Bourdais is a much better driver than any of those.

    Piquet definetley has not impressed and is inconsistent. But Di Grassi or Grosjain could be the same in the first year. So give him a second chance.

    Barrichelo is faster than Button, but probably if someone of the three should go I would choose him. Not because he is a bad driver,I think he is very good, but probably it´s time for him to retire and better if it is in a high

  10. Bourdais should stay, to become ‘senior driver’ at Torro Rosso partnering a rookie. Maybe the added responsibility will be the making of him? Meanwhile, over at Red Bull, it will be very interesting to see how Vettel does against the more experienced Mark Webber.

    Over at Renault, I really don’t see them sticking with Piquet. Anyone who does sign for them will definitely be the junior partner, with Alonso getting priority. So it would be a rookie for that seat, then.

    Speaking of Brazilians related to famous Brazilian F1 drivers, I have no doubt that Bruno Senna will get a drive somewhere on the basis of his name alone. But will he live up to the hype? Probably not. The poor sod will be compared with his late, great Uncle Ayrton before he even steps into a car. And who can live with that sort of comparison?

    As for Rubens – it’s ‘thank you and goodnight’. Another F1 driver who had bags of potential (I remember him racing against DC in Formula 3 back in the day when F3 used to be shown on Grandstand) but never quite fulfilled it. That would be Jenson in a few years time, then.

    But hey. What I’d like to see in 2009 would be perennial test driver Anthony Davidson finally getting a chance to race in a decent car. Dream on…

  11. I would hate to see Barrichello go but it seems like he is. If I had to choose between Button or Barrichello for 2009 I would choose Barrichello.

    If Alonso stays at Renault next year Alonso will want a slower driver in the second seat but also a driver who can help him have a chance at the title so I see Piquet going.

    Sebastien Bourdais I say for shore will stay at STR. No point going into 2009 with two rookie drivers. Bourdais knows the car, the team and the tracks which is what torro rosso need next year.

  12. HounslowBusGarage said on 29th October 2008, 20:46

    Look at it the other way round – in Barrichello’s case at least.
    As a driver who had raced through the wonder-years with Schumacher at Ferrari, would you want yet another year at the back with Honda?
    Financially secure, reputation intact, would you want to thrash about for tenth place (on a good weekend) with a crap car?
    I can’t think of any reason to stay, unless Honda are going to come forward with a rocket-propelled balista for next season – and that’s not going to happen.

  13. I still feel the deciding factors about these three seats are where is Alonso next year as well as will Red Bull take the Ferrari engines and dump the Renault engines in which case would Toro Rosso have the Renault engines? If so perhaps Grosjean or di Grassi at Toro Rosso alongside Bourdais?

  14. No-Yes-No
    That’s what i think…

  15. I want Piquet to keep his seat for 2009 for the simple fact that he has drove fantastically at some points in the season despite not always having the results. He is also a perfect team mate for Fernando as he does not beat him too often, he does not whine about favouritism and he seems to just get on with it.

    I think Barrichello has earned his honda seat this year after outscoring honda’s wonderchild Button. He has also drove well and seems far more comfortable within the team now Ross Brawn is there.

    Bourdais? Naa, he has not driven well enough to earn his seat and has been royally shown up by Vettel.

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