Who will get the six new seats in 2010?

Danica Patrick has been linked to a drive for USF1 in 2010

Danica Patrick has been linked to a drive for USF1 in 2010

Three new teams on the 2010 F1 entry list means aspiring F1 drivers have a once-in-a-generation chance to grab six new places in Formula 1.

Promising young rookies and more experienced hands who were recently squeezed out are likely to be at the front of the queue. But who has the crucial combination of talent, connections and sponsorship to make the grade?

Here’s ten names that could be on Campos, USF1 or Manor’s shortlists.

Giorgio Pantano

The Italian is the reigning GP2 champion (the first not to gain instant promotion to Formula 1) and already has F1 experience from a brief stint at Jordan in 2004.

Pantano has been keeping himself race-fit with competition in the Renault Megane championship and Superleague Formula.

Read more: Giorgio Pantano beats Bruno Senna to the GP2 title – but will he reach F1?

Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna - the only driver who can rival Patrick in the publicity stakes

Bruno Senna - the only driver who can rival Patrick in the publicity stakes

Runner-up to Pantano last year and packs a surname that should have sponsors salivating. In limbo having decided not to return to GP2 this year and missing out on a seat with Honda in F1 (before it was put up for sale) and the DTM.

Having already lost a lot of career time to his peers (he was banned from karting after his uncle Ayrton was killed) a year on the sidelines is exactly what he didn’t need.

Read more: Bruno Senna (Meet the rookies)

Christian Klien

Had Red Bull been a little more patient with Klien – in particular, not rushing him into F1 in 2004 at the age of 20 – he might have done rather better. Has held down a test role with BMW since, underlining his potential. Worth another shot.

Read more: Christian Klien biography

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Another driver looking for a second chance at F1. Even before the budget cap row blew up he was tipped to end up at Force India in 2010, replacing Giancarlo Fisichella. The arrival of three more teams offers further opportunities for Liuzzi to get back in the game.

He dabbled in A1 Grand Prix earlier this year, taking pole position on his debut at Portimao in Portugal.

Read more: Vitantonio Liuzzi biography

Danica Patrick

Like Bruno Senna, another sponsor’s dream. An obvious choice for USF1, whose Peter Windsor said earlier this week:

We’re getting near to the point where we start looking at drivers and Danica is on our list for sure, because she’s the best-placed American in the leading single-seater championship of the United States. She’s doing a really great job.

Patrick is tipped to leave the Indy Car series at the end of the season, and has been linked to a move to NASCAR. Although Indy Car has more road and street courses on its schedule these days, Patrick has usually been stronger on the ovals, so for her NASCAR might make more sense than F1.

But there’s no question that F1 having a top American driver – who, of course, also happens to be a woman – would do enormous good for its popularity in the States. Therefore, we can assume Bernie Ecclestone is pulling all the strings he can.

Romain Grosjean

Renault test driver and current GP2 championship leader. Still somewhat mercurial – he has dominated some races this year but at Silverstone having grabbed pole position he then went backwards during the race. Tipped to replace Nelson Piquet Jnr.

Read more: Romain Grosjean biography

Nico H?â??lkenberg

Nico H?â??lkenberg is the reigning F3 Euroseries champion

Germany is not short of F1 drivers at the moment but it could be about to get another one. Without question the top rookie in GP2 so far this year, H?â??lkenberg could even get in the mix for the championship this year.

Like Grosjean he has an F3 Euroseries championship under his belt and a link with an active F1 team – Williams. He won the A1 Grand Prix championship for Germany and impressed in his occasional outings in GP2 Asia last winter. A highly promising prospect.

Read more: Nico H?â??lkenberg (Meet the rookies)

Anthony Davidson

Of the various drivers to have dropped out of F1 in recent seasons, Davidson is probably the one who most deserves a comeback. Impressive and improving at Super Aguri throughout 2007, he was left on the sidelines when the team collapsed in 2008. Drove for Peugeot in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Read more: Anthony Davidson

Takuma Sato

Davidson’s former team mate has cult appeal among some fans but has had thrtee shots at F1 already – with Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri. Does he really deserve another?

Sato’s popularity in Japan and sponsor-friendliness could make him a target for teams that need a paying driver. It almost landed him Sebastien Bourdais’ seat at Toro Rosso this year – and that place could well be up for grabs again in 2010…

Read more: Takuma Sato

Paul di Resta

Linked to a drive at Force India earlier this year via their new engine supplier Mercedes. Di Resta is racing for the company in the DTM, where he has been since beating Sebastian Vettel to the 2006 F3 Euroseries title. He impressed in an F1 test for McLaren and drove for Manor in F3 in 2005 – perhaps a reunion could be on the cards.

Read more: Any truth in the Paul di Resta rumours?

Who else?

Who do you think should be on the F1 grid next year? Which drivers not on this list deserve a shot at Formula 1? Lucas di Grassi? Vitaly Petrov? Kamui Kobayashi? Have your say below.

Read more

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275 comments on Who will get the six new seats in 2010?

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  1. simone said on 25th June 2009, 11:09

    Patrick said recently that she hasnt been approached by USF1 and has no plans to leave Indy right now, she also part owns her current car (team?.

    • mp4-19b said on 25th June 2009, 16:09

      I’m really happy that she hasn’t been approached by USF1. i would love to see montoya come back & replace kovi at mclaren.that would spice up things. i dunno much about this danica Patrick as i don’t follow nascar, but i sincerely hope she doesn’t make a fool of herself in front of the entire world, as women always tend to do that! I hope Mika hakkinen comes out of retirement,just like niki lauda did in the 80’s, but that doesn’t seem a likely prospect. Poor Bruno, i really pity that guy. He has to carry the expectations of entire of Latin America on his shoulders. I really hope he does well. I know it will be extremely difficult to for him the emulate his late great uncle, who to this day remains the speed god. takuma sato definitely deserves another chance. what about yuji ide!!!!anyone remember him?
      Americans usually make a joke of themselves in front of the world very often. we’ve had some very pathetic drivers in the past, anyone remembers mario’s son who drove along side senna in 93? poor guy, made of joke of himself. i dont think is it appropriate to have female drivers. i just think they cannot handle the speed & the “G-Forces”(no pun intended).Even Andre Agassi is of the opinion that women cannot last a 5-set match. i just don’t think patrick will be able to last 300 kms of say monaco or spa. Motorsports is meant for men & we must keep it manly.

      • persempre said on 25th June 2009, 17:29

        Go take on RMA senior instructor, Sabine Schmitz, on the Nordschleife & see who looks the bigger joke.
        F1 drivers need to be top athletes but that doesn`t exclude women.
        If Patrick is good enough she deserves a chance but initially she`d probably only be there for novelty (money-spinning) value. The same could be said of any of the second & third generation drivers who share a famous surname.
        The real test comes when they have to produce results.
        Even men can`t always do it – look at Bourdais.

      • ajokay said on 25th June 2009, 18:59

        I’m really happy that she hasn’t been approached by USF1. i would love to see montoya come back & replace kovi at mclaren.that would spice up things.

        What’s that got to do with Danica not being approached by USF1?

        i dunno much about this danica Patrick as i don’t follow nascar

        There’s no need to be condescending to a top-flight race driver and athlete by calling her ‘this Danica Patrick’. She is probably the most successful active (or possibly even ever) female racing driver. And even if you followed NASCAR, you still wouldn’t find out much about her as she drives for Andretti Green in Indycar.

        what about yuji ide!!!!anyone remember him?

        Yes, I think we remember him. He has less talent than Ricardo Rosset, and that’s saying something. He had, and has, no place in Formula One.

        i dont think is it appropriate to have female drivers. i just think they cannot handle the speed & the “G-Forces”…i just don’t think patrick will be able to last 300 kms of say monaco or spa.

        Would you like to say that to the female astronauts who manage to handle the immence G-forces of a space shuttle lift-off? Danica lasts 300km of the Indycar ovals and road courses just as the men in the series do. She’s won one race so far (and before you say it’s only one race, Jenson Button had only won one race at one point) and is currently 5th in the 2009 championship standings, as well as being the highest-placed American.

        She has as much right to be considered for an F1 drive any other driver, and is probably more talented and experienced than sever other candidates.

        And if USF1 were to use her for marketing in the traditional ‘sex sells’ way, then us men only have ourselves to blame for being taken in by it all anyway.

        Speaking of female drivers, the 2010 Formula One Season wikipedia page seems to suggest that the Campos team have suggested that SĂ©bastien Buemi’s cousin Natacha Gachnang, currently in F2, is in line for a test driver role next year.

        • Toby Bushby said on 29th June 2009, 2:26

          Would you like to say that to the female astronauts who manage to handle the immence G-forces of a space shuttle lift-off?

          Good point. Actually, after testing with Fighter Pilots in the US, they (aka “them”) have determined that females can handle higher G-forces for longer periods than males in general. Something to do with the shorter distance from heart to brain. This could also be applied in any number of instances relating to real life, or so I’ve heard….

      • stillious said on 25th June 2009, 22:52

        I cant believe what you have written there, mp4-19b. You do know it’s 2009, right? It is you that is the complete joke I’m afraid.

      • Leslie said on 26th June 2009, 0:03

        I don’t normally reply to people who don’t have real names but I feel sorry for you with your sore knuckles. Get over it.

      • Bhudi said on 26th June 2009, 11:09

        “i dont think is it appropriate to have female drivers. i just think they cannot handle the speed & the “G-Forces”(no pun intended).Even Andre Agassi is of the opinion that women cannot last a 5-set match. i just don’t think patrick will be able to last 300 kms of say monaco or spa. Motorsports is meant for men & we must keep it manly.”
        This is the kind of archaic, backward thinking that the world doesn’t need anymore! I mean in this day an age – making comments about women like that is just wrong! get a life buddy !
        And for your information – Danica Patrick drives Indy car not Nascar.
        Montoya drives Nascar now because he couldn’t cut it in the F1 world, and was to inconsistant. No chance in hell he’ll be back.
        They also say most men wouldn’t survive childbirth…

      • Ace said on 26th June 2009, 12:36

        Even Andre Agassi?? Wow.

        • scunnyman said on 27th June 2009, 10:02

          I for one doubt Danica will come to F1, she doesn’t seem to want to try formula one.
          But i would like to see her in a decent car in formula one. As a man, i think she would be good for F1. there have been women in F1 before but not very good ones in bad teams. But Danica has shown she has some talent and if she could get the right drive with the right teams and right management she could do well. maybe even win. And she’s quite easy on the eye.

    • i hope that these drivers will participate:
      Anthony Davidson
      Nico HĂĽlkenberg
      Bruno Senna

  2. KarolMcD said on 25th June 2009, 11:12

    Out of that lot, Christian Klien has to rank as the best. He showed great potential but having to share his seat with Pizzonia prevented him from developing properly. If he was given time to develop it would be him and not Vettel that would be challenging Button.

    Of the rest, I’d like to see Giorgio Pantano and Anthony Davidson get drives.

  3. Hamish said on 25th June 2009, 11:12

    If I could have two drivers that currently aren’t in F1 as a lineup – Juan Pablo Montoya & Scott Dixon

    • anirudh said on 26th June 2009, 9:00

      yea, Montoya should have been in F1 right now… with all the new overtaking promotion rules, it would have been really nice watching his weird driving style(nd of course overtaking)

    • Alex 3 said on 27th June 2009, 21:18

      Dixon is a good driver most of the time but has the odd off and he is a big guy by todays F1 standards

  4. Kovy said on 25th June 2009, 11:14

    Apparently USF1 have been talking to Patrick. She’s been in the IRL for 5 years and has 1 victory, I just want to see her in F1 so I can laugh at her getting crushed and all the people who are fawning over her.

    • Bookgrub said on 25th June 2009, 11:34

      That raises a question for me:

      If USF1 approached and secured Patrick as a driver, they will be doing so on the basis of her as a marketing tool.

      For her to really remain viable as such, she would have to be at least competing with her team-mate.

      Who else could USF1 credibly secure who was on par or worse than Patrick, when she’s clearly worse than Bourdais, and he’s ranked among the worst current F1 drivers?

      And can USF1 remain viable if both their drivers can’t get the most out of their machines?

      • Dougie said on 25th June 2009, 12:14

        when she’s clearly worse than Bourdais

        Why is she “clearly” worse than Bourdais?? they raced in different series. In 2005 when they both ran the Indy500 as Rookies, she absolutely crushed him, she even led the race.

        Danica results in IRL do not reflect how well she is actually doing in the races. How well she would do in F1 is another thing, I’d like to see her at least try.

        • She absolute crush him is pretty excessive. She was 4th that day, Seb was 6th when he crashed two laps for the end and she was racing for a then top team (her team mate Buddy Race had won there the previously year) while he was racing for a Champ Car team that usually doesn’t use the chassis/engine combo they have to run at Indy. They were the two top rookies that day.

        • scunnyman said on 27th June 2009, 10:06

          Agreed Dougie. Nobody knows how she’ll do.I’d at least give her a go.

          • Dougie said on 27th June 2009, 23:12

            I’d at least give her a go.

            LOL!! Out of a score of 10… I’d give her one… :-D

  5. Marc said on 25th June 2009, 11:17

    i want to be a F1 driver!

  6. Bookgrub said on 25th June 2009, 11:24

    Please, not Danica Patrick.

    Her appointment would be for all the wrong reasons – sex, nationality, public profile. On results and demonstrated potential, weighted by the competitiveness and standard of the series she competes in, she shouldn’t even be an outsider.

    Compare her to Bourdais in IRL/Champ:
    Bourdais: 72 starts, 31 wins, 39 podiums, 27 poles
    Patrick: 71 starts, 1 win, 5 podiums, 3 poles

    Could anyone seriously consider her?

    • ajokay said on 25th June 2009, 11:42

      I think so. She may not have fared anywher near as well as Bourdais in Indycar, but Bourdais hasn’t exactly been setting the F1 world alight, even with his impressive Stateside CV.

      I think it could be interesting to have a female driver in F1 who could actually qualify and have chances of top-10 positions, unlike the previous six attempts which have ended at worst with complete failure to pre-qualify, and at most with half a point for 6th place in a shortened race, I do believe.

      Who knows, she might even be half-good.

      It would be nice to see Kilen and Davidson back in race seats, they still have much to proove. Not so sure about Sato, he’s had many shots now.

      And I’m sure that if Pantano is really as brilliant as he thinks he is, he would have had a second shot at F1 already.

      Senna is probably a shoe-in for a seat somewhere, he’s bound to worm his way in eventually.

      Hasn’t a certain Jacques Villeneuve been sniffing around as well? It would be cool to see him back, he could certainly bring the experience that one of the new teams would need.

      Therefore, I wouldn’t mind seeing:

      USF1 – Villeneuve & Patrick
      Campos – Senna & De Resta/Pantano (maybe)
      Manor – Davidson & Klien

      • Oliver said on 25th June 2009, 11:45

        Villeneuve is Canadian.

        • USF1 already said they want one young american driver and one experienced driver of no specific nationality.

          My bet is the young american driver will be either Graham Rahal (if he wants it) or Ryan Hunter Reay (with Jonathan Summerton as aan outside possibility). While the other driver will be a current teste driver (Klien, De La Rosa or Gene) or a current driver driver that loses his seat (thinking about it Bourdais at least is a known name for americans).

          • Alex 3 said on 27th June 2009, 21:20

            I wouldn’t put Bourdais in my new team. He has accomplished nothing in F1 to date.

      • Bookgrub said on 25th June 2009, 11:55

        She may not have fared anywher near as well as Bourdais in Indycar, but Bourdais hasn’t exactly been setting the F1 world alight, even with his impressive Stateside CV.

        That’s the point, isn’t it? Nobody is looking at the also-rans in GP2 and suggesting that they have a serious shot here – Patrick is being suggested because she is:
        1. American
        2. Female
        3. Not completely useless

        That doesn’t sound like a reasonable selection criteria for a team at the pinnacle of open-wheeled motorsport.

        • ajokay said on 25th June 2009, 12:17

          ‘Not completely useless’ seems to be enough for other teams when choosing their drivers, namely McLaren with Kovy, Williams with Nakajima, Force India with Fisi, Toyota with Trulli.

          Renault misread the memo though, they’re happy to go with ‘completely useless’ Piquet.

          I don’t think she’s far any worse than some of the other midfielders.

          And I know Villeneuve is Canadian, but he has F1 experience, and at least he’s from the same land mass.

          Anything to make sure Scott Speed doesn’t end up back in F1.

          • ajokay said on 25th June 2009, 12:18

            *she’d fare any worse

          • mani said on 25th June 2009, 16:52

            If she gets chosen by USF1, it’ll be just for marketing and not for racing. I’ve not followed IRL very well, but, checking her profile doesn’t really convince me that she deserves a seat in F1.

            She might be a good driver, but not the best even in IRL. F1 had always looked for the best in the past, and should look for the best int he future too. (of course there were/are exceptions like Piquet, who got the chance for wrong reasons)

            We already have enough exceptions, why to have one more? IMHO, chances for her to have a better outing in F1 than what she delivers in IRL currently (strictly in terms of racing) is very less.

          • Leslie said on 26th June 2009, 0:12

            Villeneuve was lucky to get a world championship. He does, however, have other valuable talents for a new, back of the grid team. He can drive around following other cars and he can keep out of the way when being lapped.

            Pity because he seems like a nice guy.

    • Dougie said on 25th June 2009, 12:17

      Bourdais was in a depleted Champ Car series… Patrick was in the IRL… it’s beyond comparison.

      The only fair comparison is the 2005 Indy500 where they both competed as Rookies, and she completely crushed him both in qualifying and the race, she even led the race.

      As I’ve already, I’m not a big Danica fan (well ok, maybe a little…) but she has done well in the IRL races (final results aside) and I would like to see how she would do in F1… just out of curiosity.

      • A depleted ChampCar series is still a far better measuring stick of F1 potential than a slightly-less-depleted IRL series that races on 75% ovals.

        And yes, if you want to use your 2005 Indy 500 as an indication of skill level, I agree, Danica is far more qualified to race in the Daytona 500 than Bourdais.

        • Dougie said on 25th June 2009, 14:42

          Fair point Kevin, however I wasn’t using it as an indication of skill level. Just as the only fair comparison between her and Bourdais.

          That said the best drivers are in the IRL and, this year, Danica has finished in the top 6 in all but one race including 3rd at Indy and a respectable 4th on the Long Beach Road Course.

          • mani said on 25th June 2009, 16:57

            If she is in top 6, then that shows there are few better racing talent than her in IRL itself. :)

      • PinballLes said on 26th June 2009, 4:45

        If USF1 think Danica Patrick is the best driver for them, then go for it.

        I haven’t followed her career closely; however at the Gold Coast Indy last year she was considerably slower than the rest of the field. It was quite noticeable sitting in the grandstand on the 3rd corner, her approach speed, mid corner speed and exit speed would have been I guess 30 or 40km/h slower than the front runners.

        Maybe she wasn’t comfortable in the car or the car wasn’t running right, but it raised a questions in my head over her ability on road courses. Maybe she was just having a bad weekend.

    • Wesley said on 25th June 2009, 14:39

      Maybe USF1 can sign up Scott Speed along with Danica Patrick so us Americans can look forward to having both our cars as backmarkers.

      If they hire Danica I will not root for them…she will not be competitive,they will only consider her as advertising,what a joke!

      • Dougie said on 25th June 2009, 14:53

        If they hire Danica I will not root for them…she will not be competitive,they will only consider her as advertising,what a joke!

        Complete sexism if ever I heard it!!

        If she can beat Dan Wheldon & Justin Wilson, amongst others, in the IRL (Oval and Road courses) then she is deserving of a place in F1 more than most.

        • todd said on 25th June 2009, 15:22

          its all a bit harsh to write her off as a marketing tool – she’s clearly holding her own in racing, she doesn’t progress through the ranks to high end racing on marketing alone – you still need to know how to drive.

          she’s getting podiums and racing higher in the grid than most other drivers, so she’s clearly a competent driver, but f1 is a different animal to IRL.

          obviously you can’t dismiss the marketing benefits, but that’s no different to looking at takuma sato as a driver, or alonso for that matter. they both have pulling power with sponsors.

          sure alonso is a bad comparison when it comes to skill, but i’d compare her to sato almost, average driver, sponsor pull can hold their own.

          i’d at least put her in an f1 car for a week, let her get to grips with it all and see if she can throw down some good test times.

          they can worry about championship winning drivers when they have a race winning car.

          • mani said on 25th June 2009, 18:34

            “they can worry about championship winning drivers when they have a race winning car.”

            without championship winning driver, they can’t build a championship winning car

        • mani said on 25th June 2009, 16:58

          Yes, she deserves more than most out there. But there are few more who deserve it better than her.

        • Wesley said on 25th June 2009, 19:28

          Sexism has nothing to do with it.Danica is an attractive woman who is not that good of a racer,if they hire her it would not be because of her skills. I am looking forward to having an American team to root for and I would like better drivers.I also slagged Scott Speed in my post because I feel the same about him…he is highly marketable yet is not a good F1 driver.If Danica does enter and does well,I will gladly eat my words….but don’t accuse me of being sexist.

      • RKW said on 25th June 2009, 15:46

        Honestly, USF1 is not likely to be competitive anyway. The two “country name” teams are also going to have in common that they can’t keep up.

        • mani said on 25th June 2009, 17:10

          I still try to understand, why Malya has named it “Force India”, when the real force is not from India… Nothing offensive! I’m an Indian, and I’m not happy with it.

          I like F1, and I’m following it for quiet sometime now (11 years at least, if I remember well… I enjoyed watching Mika/Schumi/Kimi/Alonso/Vettel and many more). I know F1, even before I know who Malya is, he has brought something unnecessary into F1 by branding a team’s name specific to a country (happy that he has not gone that far to make it all Indian team). A different name, with more options to Indian engineers (like me) would have been much convincing to me.

          But, USF1 had gone little further, to have a national team… I hope, when they come in, they would realize they should have opened up their mind and should have built a better team with all good technicians (anywhere from the world). I personally don’t like this point of making teams national, it is not the F1 I want.

          • Travis R said on 25th June 2009, 20:19

            I agree with you about making teams national – I’m not really sure I like it, either.

            “I hope, when they come in, they would realize they should have opened up their mind and should have built a better team with all good technicians (anywhere from the world).”

            I don’t think US F1 are close-minded about getting technicians from anywhere in the world. Considering neither Peter Windsor or Ken Anderson are American-born, they’re already international! :) Nonetheless, one of the reasons they cited for basing themselves in North Carolina is because that is the home of NASCAR, and there is a glut of available ex-NASCAR people looking for jobs (the economy has taken its toll on NASCAR). So, they have a lot of American hiring options with motorsports experience. They’ve also said that people like Rubens Barrichello would be considered, as they need the people with F1 experience. I’m sure if someone like Adrian Newey volunteered his services, they would make room for him!

            From what I’ve read about Force India, Vijay Mallya does want to be even more Indian, but it all takes time to build adequate F1 experience within the group. I think both Force India and US F1 will have a similar start – you start with experienced F1 people, no matter where they’re from, and introduce countrymen as talent is needed. Over the course of time, you finally build an experienced team of countrymen. It could take decades.

    • scunnyman said on 27th June 2009, 10:10

      And who was Bourdais competition? not as strong as Danica’s.

  7. Sebastien Carter said on 25th June 2009, 11:27

    Adam Carroll is someone who I’d like to see in F1. He did really well in A1 this year and has done good things in the past as well. One to look out for I think.

    Also…

    Michael Schumacher anyone?

  8. frecon said on 25th June 2009, 11:32

    Apparently USGPE only is interested on US drivers (Patrick and the Scott Speed return are the strong rumours.

    Campos Meta wants at least one spanish driver (if not two). De la Rosa could be the experienced driver, and Alguersari and Mehri are the best placed for the other seat.

    Today i have read a lot of rumours about the possibility of Manor not wil be included on 2010 Championship, and one of the “big teams” surpringsily out of Mosley’s list could have the place.

    Anyway, with the moves in the other teams I think next season we will have a lot of new drivers “in”, and a lot of 2009 drivers “out” or changing team.

    • frecon said on 25th June 2009, 11:36

      oops Sorry, I forgot Mehri is still too young for F1

    • Martin said on 25th June 2009, 14:01

      USDPE is using the US driver as a way of generating sponsors. Lets face it, and I am from the US, we dont have a relevent series to bring up the drivers for F1. Every kids dream in racing in the US is either Nascar or Indy, neither of which appeal to me. Driving those cars requires less of a driver thatn a F1 car. And all of the recent US driver who came to F1 from an american series(Not necessarily american citizen) Only Villenueve performed well in both and won in both. Montoya has been good in cart but after he came to F1 he was only competitive with Williams,when he went to Mclaren he was so so.
      If USGPE is serious they will find a driver from the current batch that isnt employed by the curent F1 teams or find a driver in 1 of the eurpean series to help the team out. They also will need a driver with expierience to help develope the car. I also dont know that doing it from the US is going to make their lives any easier.
      I hope they do well and can be competitive but they wont with Patrcik or Speed.

      • Williams 4ever said on 25th June 2009, 18:36

        Montoya has been good in cart but after he came to F1 he was only competitive with Williams,when he went to Mclaren he was so so.

        @Martin – I am not sure how you have arrived at that conclusion. Of his 7 F1 wins 4 came spending four seasons with Williams ( which was on downward spiral since 2000 anyways). His 4th win for Williams (incidently last F1 win for Williams) driving dog of a Williams 2004 car in Brazil. And in one year with McLaren he scored 3/7 wins. And given that post his “Mysterious Injury” (coinciding with Childbirth) he was always given second choice on strategy since Team had Kimi is close battle with Alonso.

        I wont include 2006 Season at all since McLaren had closed work on that season in winter 2005 on back of Alonso signing. They turned up every race with some or other issues with their cars, and releasing their drivers(mostly JPM) in wrong time in Q2 ensuring that Qualifiers got tanked as well. Not to mention one race when first touch JPM got of car was in actual qualifiers where he still made it to podium in Imola.

        So to summarize. Lets not make random statement without sufficient data. JPM is proven winner, but for any driver to excel in F1. He needs is a) Right Car b) Confidence that team management is fully behind him.

        In his case during Williams tenure Partial Management in form of Sir Williams backed JPM while Patrick Head was Ralf Backer. And in case of McLaren. Ron’s love for Kimi was well known and way Ron changed colors after signing Alonso I have elaborated above. JPM’s F1 story was wrong place at wrong time. And we should leave it at that. Though given the quality of the majority of current grid, A proven Race-winner like JPM is what is needed, but while FOTA-FIA mess has been resolved, F1 is still essentially by the Europeans, of the Europeans and for the Eurpoean affair, where natural racer like JPM will always be strangled, So I don’t expect any return from him…

        • Jay Menon said on 26th June 2009, 2:33

          Williams 4ever,

          Finally, somebody who actually shares my opinion. This is the exact same thing I’ve been telling people about JPM, but nobody ever listens! JPM was a real racer, and if you think about it, over the last decade or so, there hasn’t been much place for real out and out racers in the sport. I remeber reading an interview with Jackie Stewart a couple years back, he went on to mention that the last real racers in F1 were Villeneuve and Montoya, Eddie Irvine was also mentioned I believe.

          JPM’s was a case of bad management, both personal and team wise. He was unfortunate on track during the early 2000s as the Ferrari juggernaught steam-rolled past everyone. Having said that, he was the only driver who genuinely rattled the Schumi’s cage during the time, don’t believe there are many who hold that accolade, one Mika Hakinnen comes to mind.

          I would love to Juan back in F1. He will still be a force to be reckoned with if he gets a decent seat, but I think a return is highly unlikely. I watched a SPEED-JPM interview a couple months back, where he mentioned that he loves the environment in NASCAR unlike the corporate/business-like approach of F1. He just wants to race, and he can’t be bothered about all the politics that one has to play in the world of F1.

          Although I love Fernando Alonso, JPM will always be my favourite driver of all time.

          • Williams 4ever said on 26th June 2009, 13:24

            Although I love Fernando Alonso, JPM will always be my favourite driver of all time.

            Thanks for the thoughts and this is affection for JPM and FA (in that order) is mutual. JPM is second favorite driver after Prost and first favorite “racer” of all time.
            Unfortunately JPM’s nondiplomatic ways of handling things messed up his F1 career.and especially to succeed in F1 Political prowess is must. I sometime wonder how Vettel is managing his career without any “Professional Manager” and “Father” on his side. Its just Vettel and his lawyer. Vettel making career decisions and Lawyer reviewing the contract . Amazing kid

        • Martin said on 26th June 2009, 3:39

          I wont argue the Williams/Montoya vs Head/Schumacher battle as I dont have that data. I have noticed Head taking strange positions on things over the years but I figure that was just Head being Head.
          I will agree with you that Mclaren somewhat started tanking him after he announced he was leaving and I do blame Ron for that. I saw him perform the same scenario on M Andretti for Mika. But I will stand by what I saw out of Montoya in the years he was in the sport. His car was competitive enough as they (Ralf and Montoya) were winning races but they should have performed better, especially Montoya. I have watched JPM race in all the different series, and I wasnt impressed.

          • Williams 4ever said on 26th June 2009, 13:17

            I will agree with you that Mclaren somewhat started tanking him after he announced he was leaving and I do blame Ron for that.

            @Martin – Again a case of wrong data.
            Let me place the data/events in order for you.

            Ron made a shady back door deal with Alonso in Winter 2005 and from that point onwards shut down the 2006 campaign. Every race in 2006 McLaren team went like bunch of rookies, with some of other technical problems with their car. Can you imagine in Imola JPM had first touch of car (that too T-car) only in Qualifiers and he used fuel burn mode in Q3 to get acclimatised with the car. Kimi had already cut deal with Ferrari and didn’t care rat’s ass about Ron’s dirty games. It was JPM’s career at stake and his resume was getting muddied, so in desperation he went and signed deal with his mentor/friend Chip Ganassi after USGP and Ron showed him door with immediate effect.
            He had given advanced notice of his next move only to Williams end of 2003 after Williams (Head) messed up him race(and maybe WDC championship) in Magny cours weekend.

            In Williams Days while his car setup was copied by Ralf. those weekends where he struggled to setup car He didn’t get Ralf’s setup . Magny was the last straw on camel’s back.

      • Montoya fan said on 3rd November 2009, 7:22

        I have no idea why Montoya ever left F1. He was for sure one of THE most entertaining drivers ever.. Really hope he comes back to Mclaren as some one needs to teach Hamilton a thing or 2.

  9. Hakka said on 25th June 2009, 11:38

    1. Anthony Davidson (I’d miss his commentary on BBC though)
    2. Montoya
    3. Bruno Senna
    4. Villeneuve
    5. Sato
    6. PDLR

    • frecon said on 25th June 2009, 11:49

      I dont think Montoya is interested in F1 anymore. And pretty sure he’s not interested in small new teams.

      • frecon said on 25th June 2009, 11:50

        I’d love to watch Juan Pablo driving F1 again though

      • KarolMcD said on 25th June 2009, 11:56

        I don’t think Montoya’s interest in F1 matters, I doubt anyone of the teams would trust him enough to employ him.

        • Williams 4ever said on 25th June 2009, 18:53

          I don’t think Montoya’s interest in F1 matters, I doubt anyone of the teams would trust him enough to employ him.

          If thats the case, how do you explain two serious interest by two mid-field teams in JPM in last two years?? STR who was faring better than Parent RBR was openly wooing JPM to join them.

          JPM/Valentino Rossi(even Alonso) had time and again mentioned F1 is all about the car and the Engineers. To win a race and win a championship in F1, its simply not possible till you are in Good Car and Your team management is backing you for wins. So Rossi stayed clear off F1, Alonso is openly flirting with Ferrari.
          Of the three names I mentioned Alonso has been lucky, he demonstrated in Minardi that he has capability to out-perform the car ( and Stoddardt let him do that), Flavio took him as preferred driver in Renault and favoured him sometimes covertly sometimes blatantly in favor of his team mates ( read Trulli who won Renault first race ahead of Alonso, and Fisi who won ahead of alonso in 2005). Now as a double world champion, whenever he shows those Minardi like glimpses where he out performance the car, his past results (in much favorable conditions) still make “Experts” go gaga over his driving skills. If only someone gave the same credit to JPM for Driving 2004 Williams dog cart to victory in Brazil to prove his point that he was better than Ralf when team favored Ralf. And him doing his best to drive the Fragile 2005 McLaren car whenever Kimi was confined to P20 Start thanks to Engine Penalties (of Teams doing)

          • Gman said on 25th June 2009, 19:37

            Yeah, a few midfield teams were interested in JPM last season…and he rebuffed all of them and insisted he’s staying in NASCAR.

            Like it or not, Juan Pablo isn’t coming back to F1 anytime soon.

          • Martin said on 26th June 2009, 3:51

            JPM/Valentino Rossi(even Alonso) had time and again mentioned F1 is all about the car and the Engineers. To win a race and win a championship in F1, its simply not possible till you are in Good Car and Your team management is backing you for wins. So Rossi stayed clear off F1, Alonso is openly flirting with Ferrari.

            I dont agree, M.Schumacher took a uncompetitive car and won with it. His first year at Ferrari the car was horrible but he was 3rd in points with 3 wins.
            Villenueve started winning once he was allowed to set the car up the way he wanted it not the way the team did.
            It does take a good car to win the championship and it does take the team being behind you, but the best car and team cannot make you a winner if you dont have it. When you do have it you can beat better cars than yours because you know how to minimize your weaknesses and exploit the other guys.

          • Williams 4ever said on 26th June 2009, 13:38

            I dont agree, M.Schumacher took a uncompetitive car and won with it. His first year at Ferrari the car was horrible but he was 3rd in points with 3 wins.

            You are missing something again. and something that is most vital. Management backing. Classic case in recent days is STR 2006 , while the team was not giving the drivers competitive car, they didn’t give the drivers enough backing and being honest about “resources” given to them. Franz Tost gave (and even gives) impression as though he is giving the field leading car to the drivers ( then it was Speed and Luizzi) and the drivers were failing it. If your car sucks @least be patient and let driver try his own ideas and show patience with the driver.
            Post 2005 Williams have finally realized that reality and they honestly admit, that bigger factor is that their car sucks and they wouldn’t put it on inexperience/inability of the drivers to find optimum setup.

            Villenueve started winning once he was allowed to set the car up the way he wanted it not the way the team did.

            Now you have given example that contradicts your own logic of driver driving above the car’s capability . This example is of Management showing patience with Driver and giving confidence to Driver that they are behind him. Something what Ferrari did to Schumacher and Renault did to Alonso, while they were having fast but unreliable car in 2004.

  10. Oliver said on 25th June 2009, 11:43

    What has Danica achieved in IndyCar?

    • Damon said on 25th June 2009, 15:53

      She’s now in her 5th IRL/IndyCar season. So far she has won only 1 race, and had only 3 more podium finishes. Her biggest success was the third place in this year’s Indy 500.

      Her highest finish in the championship was the 6th place last year.
      In this season – she’s currently 5th in the standings.

      This is really not bad, but not outstanding either.

      • Oliver said on 25th June 2009, 16:05

        Precisely, as one would expect a team serious in its F1 foray would be interested in fielding a very strong driver that will be capable of reducing any inadequacies their car might possess.

      • U only say that because she is female. I’ll pick any other male driver in IRL who has been around as long as Danica in Indycar.
        Ed Carpenter: 85 starts, 0 wins, 0 poles
        Vitor Meira: 96 starts, 0 wins, 2 poles
        AJ Foyt 4: 82 starts, 0 wins, 0 poles

        Compare that to Danica with 71 starts, 1 win, 3 poles

  11. Anthony Davidson drove for Aston Martin at Le Mans.

  12. Rob said on 25th June 2009, 12:04

    Regarding USF1, and their likely aim to have two American drivers, is anyone else thinking Marco Andretti? I know he has had difficult times in IRL lately but he tested the Honda & is a marketable name. Also I wouldn’t be shocked to see a Red Bull young driver replacing Bourdais at Torro Rosso next year, Brendon Hartley perhaps.

    Overall Keith, I think your list above is a good one, you’ve listed a lot of (if not all) realistic candidates for the seats. Great article.

    Also I wonder if the new teams arriving will lift some of the pressure off some of the elder statesmen of F1, such as Rubens & Giancarlo, and prove a life-line for their continuing careers?

    • Nefer said on 25th June 2009, 15:03

      Yeah Brendon Hartley is a great idea. As a fellow Kiwi I’d love to see him get a drive! :-)

      • Gman said on 25th June 2009, 19:38

        He’s got to be the next Red Bull-backed driver to get a seat with one of their two teams, either him or Wickens.

  13. GaryP said on 25th June 2009, 12:15

    If i were one of the new owners i’d strongly consider hiring the Stig to drive.

  14. Dougie said on 25th June 2009, 12:22

    I see Danica Patrick (mmmm) and Rubens Barrichello at USF1… and Button/Senna at Brawn. Romain Grosjean will be at Renault, and Nico Hulkenberg will either be at Williams (if Rosberg goes to McLaren) or McLaren himself, possibly BMW.

    Pantano has been too long in GP2, he may be champion but he never really set the world alight. Its too late now for F1.

    Klien/Liuzzi have missed the boat, for me you have to show something exceptional in your first year or two in F1, if you haven’t and you don’t get a seat, there won’t be one later either… unless its about money of course. The same goes for Davidson and Sato.

    di Resta is an unknown for me but I think being in DTM may go against him. I don’t recall anyone getting out of DTM to somewhere better, it’s like a big black hole.

    Bourdais will be out at the end of this year, and STR would do well to replace him with Brendon Hartley.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 25th June 2009, 13:48

      I can’t see Brawn letting Rubens go as he has proved extremely valuable during set-up through FP1,2 & 3.
      I think they will continue with the same driver line-up.

      • Wyzzard said on 26th June 2009, 10:08

        I’ve been thinking that with his knowledge of set-up and his driving experience, Rubens might be more valuable to Ross Brawn on the pit wall, if Ross could find another hotshoe for the seat Rubens would vacate.

    • Sasquatsch said on 25th June 2009, 14:06

      Christijan Albers went from DTM to F1 (with Minardi) so it’s possible.

    • Xanathos said on 25th June 2009, 15:32

      Rubens Barrichello certainly won’t go to drive for USF1.
      Peter Windsor has been talking about employing an experienced non-american driver for their first year and in other interviews it sounded like he was eyeing Rubens, but that was back in February and he propably thought that barrichello would be sidelined for 2009 and then be eager to return in 2010. But now Barrichello is racing for a frontrunning team and i don’t think that he would be willing to drive for a likely backmarker next year.
      And Windsor has also dropped the idea of a foreign driver and said that they will have two americans. I think his favourite will be Jonathan Summerton, he’s been talking about him quite a bit.

      • Petron@s F1 said on 25th June 2009, 17:10

        Rubens have only one year contract…and might be not signet for 2010 sezon !!!!

        Also good choice is Pedro de la Rosa ;)))

        for publicity Danica is No1

        …;)))

      • Gman said on 25th June 2009, 19:38

        Finally, someone mentions Summerton…thank you!!!

        • The problem with Di Resta is that he already is a Mercedes driver. Mercedes could easily placed him in a good GP2 ride for three seasons by now and they did nothing. He is good for them where he is and as long as he is under contract I do0n’t think Mercedes will move him. I know british fans want him in F1, but Di Resta is the new Allan McNish. Blame Mercedes, but I doubt he will get a F1 ride anytime soon.

  15. ajokay said on 25th June 2009, 12:25

    Fernando in a shock move to Campos for some Spanish-on-Spanish action?

    • frecon said on 25th June 2009, 12:34

      Although I think you are kidding and you don’t think it, I have to say that Adrian Campos was kind of Alonso’s manager when he drove in Minardi and made test for renault, and I don’t think that they are going to be togheter again.

      De la Rosa could be the spanish- on-spanish. Maybe is too late for Pedro, after years of testing, and 2009 without touch an F1 car.

      • Alonso also drove for Campos when he won the Nissan Open Fortuna series, or whatever it was called then (it is now the World Series by Renault).

        Dani Clos is a decent prospect if Campos are looking for a Spanish driver.

    • Williams 4ever said on 26th June 2009, 13:44

      Fernando in a shock move to Campos for some Spanish-on-Spanish action?

      That would be Villenueuve like Suicidal mistake when he trusted his Manager Craig Pollock and Joined BAR. His career went down the hill with that one blunder. F1 Drivers need to be selfish when Career matters. Emotions give lots of Pain. I guess Fernando did one Emotional Harakiri already by driving for team where his favorite Driver drove. That was emotionally sucking experience wasn’t it? With management backed rookie copying setups and getting preference in strategies (after Monaco’08).. and history is recent to be gone over again

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