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?

  1. Wesley said on 29th October 2008, 21:52

    I said once before on another post just what Chalky said….the new rules will benefit Bourdais,slicks and less aero.He did VERY well in Champ Car,I think he deserves another year at least.

    I like Rubens but,I think putting around in a Honda at the back of the field is not exactly like going out in a blaze of glory,it is time for him to call it quits.

    …..and Piquet hasn’t impressed me one bit.He already has his one (undeserved )podium trophy for a keepsake,maybe he should be happy with that.

  2. beneboy said on 29th October 2008, 22:43

    @Nick (No 10)

    To be fair to Rubens he did spend his best years as Schumi’s number two at Ferrari.

    Had he been allowed to race him for the championship then I reckon he could have had a good go at winning at least one.
    He showed he could be faster than Schumi when he was allowed to be and I say that as a big Schumi fan.

    It was a tough choice for him to make, be a number one at a smaller team with little chance of ever winning anything or go to Ferrari and have a chance to at least win a few races even though he knew he’d always have to support Schumi due to the political structure at the team.

    I think he’s one of the best drivers not to win a championship & it’s a shame Honda haven’t been able to give him a decent car.

  3. nelore said on 29th October 2008, 22:57

    Renault is Alonso so IMO it does not matter who they put in there.That second driver will always be second banana. He would help with the constructors championship but would never be able to outshine Alonso. McLaren gave both drivers similar cars last year and LH has the ability to to get it over Alonso but that team is exceptional. Alonso is a two time world champion when Schumi was strong so it is always tough to compete with him.

  4. Patrick said on 30th October 2008, 5:38

    Bourdais has gotten a bad rap this year, and yea, he has been outclassed, but Vettel truly looks to be something beyond special. Bourdais might not have the points to show it, but he has done very well and has had a fair share of mechanical and other issues.

    I’d love to see him at Renault, but I’m not sure he and Flav make such a good team. That being said, he should stay in F1 somewhere if Toro doesn’t want him.

    Barrichello is past his prime, make him a test driver and use his skill there to help the new Honda for ’09. Piquet is a letdown and I think many others could and would do more with that car.

  5. In all honesty piquet and bourdais were always going to struggle in their first season,their cars were never going to compete with the frontrunners, unlike hamilton who made his debut in one of the best cars outhere so i would not drop the two of them.Barrichello on the other hand should quit give one of the next generation of drivers a chance.

  6. Keith; the figures you have stated are referring to a poll conducted in August; so I scarcely think; those figures represent anything. I would think; Bourdias will stay; Barrichello will quit; Piquet will go back to a testing role.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th October 2008, 9:14

    Sumedh – they seem to reflect the split of opinion in these comments fairly closely. August wasn’t that long ago!

  8. I agree that Piquet is unlucky to debut with alonso, but so did Hamilton in the same car as Alonso and he beat him to 2nd, as there was a lot more fighting between them. I think Piquet should be dropped, bourdais should stay and Rubens should go.

  9. santori said on 30th October 2008, 10:27

    I’d keep Bourdais. He’s getting on top of his problems (which, anyway, were probably because of this one car and needn’t mean much for the future. See Raikkonen; Heidfeld).

    I’d keep Piquet. He debuted in a tricky car against probably the best driver in F1 and I expect he’s been feeling like he’s been running out of time all year. His lack of testing last year did him no favours but he’s driven some good races and if he sorts out his qualifying (which was one of his strengths in other categories) he should be fine. Why would Renault want to go through all this again with it’s third new driver in three years? I want to see Di Grassi in F1, too, though.

    And I’d keep Barrichello. He’s driven very well this year. Again, I want to see Senna or Di Grassi in F1 but who would do a better job than Rubens? If I were a Honda boss I’d give him another year at least while keeping a close eye on several young drivers.

  10. All 3 should stay. First get the cars right (Renault seems to be closer now) , then if they fail , sack them , but not before.

  11. donwatters said on 30th October 2008, 12:30

    SeaBass: Of course. He’s earned another year…and I really think it could be a break-through year for him.

    Piquet: I don’t think so. He just doesn’t seem to have it.

    Rubens: A tough choice. Probably best if he retires.

  12. Heck i say keep all of them, since next season the whole car is a different equation, you would really want some static variables. these drivers are settled in, and the car design upset is enough to throw a team off it’s rythm, let alone a new driver and his excess bagage…

    Rubens and Bourdais should be held onto, they will definetly earn their cash next year. …

  13. Mystic Pizza said on 30th October 2008, 13:07

    I’d say keep Bourdais and Barrichello. As identified in the piece on Bourdais above it seems very unfair if he were to lose his seat on the back of another Steward’s enquiry that fell Ferrari’s way. He has closed the gap on his team-mate and unless Red Bull are going to radically change their Renault engine, I would not be at all surprised if Toro Rosso remain higher than their “sister” team despite wunderkid Vettel.

    Barrichello is still very competitive despite not being in a very competitive team. His wealth of experience and development skills should be rewarded with a race drive – not just an excuse to pension him off. Surely he knows when the time is right for him to retire, not to have the decision forced on him by bringing in younger and younger drivers. Age doesn’t always maketh the man. At this rate, pit stops will have to be made for nappy changes rather than fuel or tyres!

    Piquet has been given the opportunity to try and has shown some promise but whether that is enough to satisfy Renault or more importantly Flavio remains to be seen. Renault have always taken chances with their drivers, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. It’s catch 22, do you give someone who’s lacks experience another crack of the whip or bring in someone with no F1 experience who might be wonderful? I’m glad I’m not a strategist but suspect that Piquet will be demoted.

  14. Matt,
    Although hamilton tied on points with Alonso last year lets not forget the preferential treatment he got towards the end of the season, it was clear that Ron favoured hamilton and that obviousy hampered Alonso’s chances of doing well.

  15. beneboy said on 30th October 2008, 16:47

    amy,
    I seem to remember a certain “equality steward” in the McLaren garage at the end of last year ensuring that both drivers got an equal chance of winning.

    Lewis may have been favoured by Ron but if Alonso hadn’t been so childish then his relationship with Ron would have been much better, threatening your boss is not an intelligent career move.

    Alonso only has himself to blame for not being a 3 times world champion now.

    No teams give equal treatment to their drivers but to suggest that Alonso’s chances of winning last season were hampered by Ron Dennis, in my opinion, doesn’t give a fair reflection of the circumstances or Ron Dennis.

    (I’m not a McLaren or Hamilton fan by the way.)

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