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 – 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?
Toro Rosso are already losing German wunderkind Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull – 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.
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 – 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 – 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.
Rubens Barrichello is not a rookie trying to win a second year – 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?
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