Who will get the six new seats in 2010?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. Marco has sharp elbows, but any would-be team boss only needs to look at how he was outclassed in A1GP – the talented racers regularly beat him and he was left duking it out with a rag-tag of milk float drivers. And that’s without his recent hissy fit where he whined about how Danica hadn’t pulled over to let him through when they were racing for position.

    All the arguments against Danica going to NASCAR are doubly true as arguments against her going to F1. Her personal brand has everything at the moment except wins, and she won’t get those trolling around in a newbie F1 team or in a NASCAR development deal. The only smart career move for her is to take her sponsorship and her improved results this year and use them to get into Ganassi.

    My tip for the next woman to score points in F1? Ana Beatriz / Bia Figueiredo (depending on which version of her name you want to use). That’s if F1 can prise her away from American racing, of course.

    If I were USGP I’d be looking at trying to get Villeneuve and JR Hildebrand. Though I’m sure I remember reading somewhere they had half an eye on Adam Carroll.

    Hope so, anyway – Carroll was almost a dead cert for a Lola drive if they’d made it in.

    Sato’s unlikely to be in the frame for a drive. Current word is that Formula Dream will pull its IRL sponsorship off Hideki Mutoh and switch it to Sato in a car run by Gil de Ferran.

    I personally think some of the six new places may well get filled by veterans who lose their seats at established teams, while the newcomers go straight into teams like Renault and Williams.

    1. Spot-on in regards to Danica and her “brand”- a drive in either NASCAR or F1 would just expose her for the poor-quality racing driver she is.

      Hildebrand is a good name to consider, but I believe he’s on the books at AGR for the moment. Still, he put in one of the best drivers of the A1GP season for Team USA.

  2. View from America
    Danica needs to do F1. Yes, it would be pretty much marketing. I don’t think she would be very successful and therefore IF she decided to do it it would’nt last more than a season. Two tops. Anyone ever see how ****** off she gets when someone closes the door on her? Can you imagine how many miles she would walk in F1 up and down pit lane bitching at the other drivers for the normally aggressive driving you get in F1?!
    Also, Marco Andretti, as cool as it would be to see the name in F1 again, is not ready. He would struggle I believe. Villeneuve will not be back. Montoya for sure will not be back. Anyone see him lately? He would have difficulty fitting into the car. Anthony Davidson for sure needs a ride. He’s good and deserves another chance. The new teams are going to be small operations, at least initially. They are going to get “small” drivers, entry level people, not big name drivers. The only possible exception, maybe, will be Fisichella who will be dropped by Force India in favor of Liuzzi at years end. He’s experienced and might be able to help develop a car.

  3. maybe Marko Asmer will get a seat?
    I think he is currently BMW-s 4-th backup driver? Not sure though if he has got any chance to drive an F1 car lately. http://www.markoasmer.com/

  4. Andretti. Maybe Hunder-Reay.

    I think Villenueve would definitely come back. He has unfinished biz. But he is too old. Montoya is enjoying his lifestyle and doesn’t care to run around in the back if he’s going to not see his kids at night.

    Marco is a better choice than Patrick. Having a silver and red helmet poking out of a car is going to do more for the team PR wise than having a driver who will strip to her drawers for a lad mag. Marco may not be objectively more talented than Patrick from what we have seen but he has come up through karting and he is openly committed an FI career. And he’s young enough to want to run around the back for 3 years without storming off to NASCAR. Hunter-Reay has his own sponsor (Izod), he has a billboard-scalable face, and he is pretty quick.

    The other U.S. brand names—Dixon, Wheldon, Franchitti—I think they are too set in their Normal Rockwell lives to spend their next 4 years living in empty industrial parks in India, China, and other desolate places Bernie wants to go.

    1. Having a silver and red helmet poking out of a car is going to do more for the team PR wise than having a driver who will strip to her drawers for a lad mag.

      Really!?! :-D

      Seriously though, I do disagree with this statement.

      If they are both running midfield or worse, Marco’s PR will be a lot less than Danica stripping off…

      If they are both winning races and maybe even the championship (unlikely in both cases) then I see Danicas PR being more than Marcos.

      1. Yeah Danica gets her clothes off at every photo shoot

        1. Sorry TommyB, that wasn’t what I meant when I said “Really!?!”.

          It was referring to Marcos stock, grandaddy Mario or not, being stronger than Danicas.

          1. Oh i thought you were excited and just about to go do a google image search :-D

          2. LOL! No, I’ve done plenty of those already since she joined the IRL :-D

    2. Best summary of the American drivers so far…those IZOD commercials are pretty good.

    3. The other U.S. brand names—Dixon, Wheldon, Franchitti—I think they are too set in their Normal Rockwell lives to spend their next 4 years living in empty industrial parks in India, China, and other desolate places Bernie wants to go.

      Scott Dixon is a Kiwi, although moved to race in the States in 1999, where he has twice won the IRL, in 2003 on his first attempt and again in 2008. He won the Indy 500 in 2008 from pole position. He’s tested for BMW and Williams.

      Yep, it would be great to see him get a seat, along with Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver Brendon Hartley, with or without his stupid haircut.

      1. And the other two are Brits, of course…

        You really get the impression from the likes of Justin Wilson and Darren Manning that once a European driver goes to the US they take one look around them and decide they must have been mad wanting to be in F1.

        1. Williams 4ever
          26th June 2009, 13:49

          once a European driver goes to the US they take one look around them and decide they must have been mad wanting to be in F1.

          Add SeBass to that list. Just because certain Italian Managing a French Squad didn’t like him, Bourdais’s just claim to the race seat on back of good start in European series was thwarted and he had to swim across the pond(and now has to put up with unreasonable and fickle minded Tost)

  5. Ukyo Katayama!

    Even good ‘ol Murray Walker thought he was the best driver F1 has ever produced!

  6. I haven’t heard anybody mention this guys name yet but it is likely that USF1 will end up getting Mario Andretti’s grandson, Mark.
    I also wouldn’t be surprised to hear the name Castroneves tossed around a bit.

    1. Not sure Marco deserves a place — he’s trading on his name a bit too much. Also, if we want to see some characters spice up F1, he wouldn’t be one I’d pick — I think the lobotomy operation went wrong…

  7. motorsport is all about adrenaline rush. as far as i know women get a rush of adrenaline when they are appreciated as being sexy or beautiful or something. women and motorsport are poles apart. just for entertainment purpose we could have this danica participate for a few races, just to see her make a fool of herself. all of us know women are dumb.

    1. I’m not a woman, but raised eyebrow!

    2. lol – the old clichĂ© of a man who forgets a woman was 50% responsible for his very existence ;)

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        25th June 2009, 20:28

        You’ve got to be joking…

        1. Mark Hitchcock
          25th June 2009, 20:41


    3. i wonder if this is an example of what alianora defined for me ages ago…can it be i’ve actually encountered a troll?

    4. Now THAT was a sexist comment.(@ mp4-19b)

      1. Now THAT was a sexist comment.(@ mp4-19b)

        LOL!! Agreed!! :-)

    5. I’d like to see you go head to head with Danica for a few races. You know, just for ‘entertainment purposes’.

  8. I’d really like to see Danica racing (in f1) next year. I’d like to see any female, really, granted they could handle the cars. No reason a woman couldn’t race as well as a man, which makes the lack of women in the top tiers of racing shameful, really.

    1. I don’t see why its shameful, the simple fact is they have the same chance to get into f1 as a man, probably greater due to the increased marketting factor due to the lack of other women.

      Its not F1 being sexist, its just that they pick the best drivers around. And proportionally there are so many more men racing than women that chances are the very best racers will be men. Its that simple.

    2. Not so much against a female in F1, but come on people have ever seen Danica drive, she is by far the most over rated driver in history. She is nothing more than a marketing tool used to promote the IRL (idiot racing league) and does not have anywhere near the talent to drive in F1.

  9. sato and pedro de la rosa for me.

  10. what about Marko Asmer (he was a tester with BMW at hone point). Not sure where he’s at now but worth checking – Peter Sauber always had good driver intuition….

  11. Nothing new there, I’ve even seen Mosley dressed in a similar outfit despite he’s not a racing driver :-)

  12. StrFerrari4Ever
    25th June 2009, 16:46

    interesting choices however I feel drivers such as Hulkenberg , Patrick & Senna need another year for more development so they dont just arrive in F1 and be a flop.I’d love to see Tonio Liuzzi back in F1 Davidson is another & I always believed Klien was a driver capable of wins and if he returns to F1 he could show that to everyone and finally good ol’ Taku :D

    1. I’m betting you’ll see Liuzzi replace Fisi at Force India next season.

  13. Danica is used to race longer distances and times in IRL than she would in F1, and the g-force she experiences on ovals isn’t ridiculous. Some of her co-competitors pointed at her size and weight to explain her (relative) success after her first Indy 500. We know it would actually benefit her in F1. It would be fair to actually wait to see what she can do before deciding for or against her on behalf of her sex and . I don’t think for myself she would do a great job, as she doesn’t fare so great on road courses and is better on ovals. But as far as USF1 wanting an american driver who know road courses, she is as good a pick as anybody else.
    The comparison between Bourdais and her in Indy 2005 doesn’t mean anything as she was making the whole year in one of the top IRL team, when Bourdais entered the race with Newman Haas who bought a couple of cars just for this one event.

  14. Anyone who thinks Montoya should return must be forgetting that he is a fat whinger who is perfectly moulded for North American motorsport.

    Is Bertrand Gachot available?

    1. My personal post of the day, here.

  15. Oh, come on guys!

    You know you want Danica on USF1!

    It will be lovely to see them fail and fall.

    1. Now, we know you’re saying that in the hopes of getting me all fired up, right ;)

      I do agree with you on Danica though, she’s be a disaster in F1, regardless of the team.

    2. Why would they care if they failed, when the sponsorship is doing great.

  16. I would say Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Speed.

    1. Juan Pablo wont come back to F1. He has pretty much already said that.

  17. Markus Winklehock is a good driver… he had one really good race in f1 but was then forgoten about

    He’s deffinatly good enough… and he has a mildly ammusing name

    1. hear hear. i want Markus back too. he’s led a GP! even some drivers on the current grid havent acheived that.

  18. I would love to see a USF1 lineup of:
    Juan Pablo Montoya
    AJ Allmendinger

    1. I second the vote for A.J. Allmendinger – I don’t know if many people around the world are familiar with him.

      JPM has said he’d never go back to F1, but with the economic troubles affecting NASCAR, teams are cutting back and he could end up looking for work.

  19. It looks like my comment was “subject to review”.
    Did I mis-speak?
    If so, I apologize.
    Can you delete the offending word and post?

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