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???lkenberg

Nico H???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???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???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. Wyzzard, a well written and thought out rationale as to why a team should give due consideration to Danica.

    As an American who has watched her since coming to Open wheel racing here my take is “Anyone BUT Danica.”

    What you describe as fire in the belly turns into overt bitchiness as practiced by the princess. When two male drivers have on track incidents they can revert to the time honored old fashioned fist fight to resolve their immediate differences. Bourdais and Tracy a few years back come to mind. Heck, Tracy and pick a driver can be cited as examples.

    Danica is a well practiced whiner and moaner. her driving for Michael Andretti is karma, as no driver whined more than Michael. On top of limited driving skills, reports have it that she doesn’t have a clue as to how to set up a car or improve it’s handling via feedback to engineers.

    She is eye candy that has promoted herself to sponsors and keeps her seat only by the exposure she generates and the sponsorship she can bring.

    I don’t think we’ll ever see her win on a road/track course. If ever that happens it will be due to circumstances of other driver’s misfortunes. If Windsor and Anderson need sponsorship that badly then there is not much for me to root for in the USGP team, other than gloating when the princess falls on her well turned butt.

  2. Adam D said on 27th June 2009, 16:17

    Gr8 list, one name that shudn’t be 4gotten is Adam Carroll, helped win Ireland the A1GP Title this year, has won in GP2 and looks a solid young driver. With irish roots perhaps im being biast in wanting him to make the step up, but at worst he should get a testing role at least.

  3. james_mc said on 27th June 2009, 22:46

    Problem with the suggested Sato/Nakajima swith – Sato is Honda and Nakajima is Toyota…

    I’d love to see Di Resta (I’m pretty sure statistically he is the current professional driver with the best win ratio?)

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Danica Patric purely for the strops she’d throw and to see a woman in F1 and raise it’s profile. As for her running over mechanics – Michael Schumacher (and possibly Kimi?) did that and he wasn’t too bad was he now?

  4. scunnyman said on 28th June 2009, 0:11

    “LOL!! Out of a score of 10… I’d give her one… ”

    AGreed Dougie, however dunno if my mrs would like it. lol

  5. Prisoner Monkeys said on 28th June 2009, 2:18

    Instead of Patrick, has anyone considered Katherine Legge? She might be British, but if we’re intent on getting a female racing driver, she might be a better option. She was in Champcar and is now in DTM. She has struggled, but she has far more road course experience than Patrick and doesn’t give up when things go badly the way Patrick did at Surfers’ Paradise last year.

  6. Kres said on 28th June 2009, 11:34

    I would like to see Nicolas Kiesa race in F1 again.

    He had 5 races back in 2003 as a rookie and finished all of them.

  7. Paige said on 28th June 2009, 20:34

    A top American driver? Danica Patrick is nothing of the sort. She’s an average IndyCar driver, at best. The only benefit that can come to a F1 team from hiring her is her weight advantage, as they’ll be able to move more weight to the front to gain mechanical grip. But if a driver doesn’t have the talent to be in F1 (and Danica surely doesn’t), it doesn’t matter.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys said on 29th June 2009, 1:43

    Patrick Dempsey (Rolex Sports Cars) and Frankie Muniz (Formula Atlantic) for US-F1!

  9. I think Adam Carroll from A1GP Ireland, whom won this years A1GP, i believe that he was been look at for this season in F1 so he may be someone the new teams will look at

    thanks Robert

  10. Wheeler said on 29th June 2009, 17:31

    FYI Davidson raced for Aston not Peugeot at Le Mans ;D

  11. Joel said on 30th June 2009, 0:13

    The best American open wheel driver is AJ Allmendinger. After struggling with a new team (Rusport) he won three races in a row for Forsythe and something like five of six before being tapped for Nascar by Red Bull.

    The problem is that AJ needs an experienced teammate who can develop the car. That would mean Scott Speed. Obviously Danica is an option for sponsorship reasons, but IMHO Marco Andretti would be a better choice.

    If I could choose it would be AJ and Marco. The smartest move would be AJ and Scott. I expect to see either AJ & Danica or Scott and Danica.

    Joel

    • Gman said on 30th June 2009, 3:53

      I like A.J. alot and think he would be great…it was stupid of Red Bull to ditch him for Speed in their NASCAR team.

    • scunnyman said on 30th June 2009, 4:56

      I have nothing against marco, but do you think he would fair better than his dad in F1 or do you think the skill skipped a generation?
      I never have rated Michael Andretti, but his stint in F1 was shameful.

      • Martin said on 30th June 2009, 5:23

        Micheal’s problem in F1 was he thought he could do it from the US and not live in Europe/England. He had to learn all the tracks in a time with limited practice laps and his first 3 or 4 races I dont believe he finished a lap due to crashes. (Some his fault and some not). He also never got a handle on setting up the car until later in the season and by then the damage was done and he was replaced by Mika. When he started to understand the setup of the car and getting it the way he liked it, he made his first potium with a 3rd. I believe he could have done better if he would have tried to become part of the team and the culture and not tried to perform the series by commuting.

        • scunnyman said on 30th June 2009, 7:05

          Agreed martin. No-one can hope to do well when travelling thousands of miles each week to race and to test etc.
          Mansell did the right thing when he moved to Indycar. He lived in Florida and immersed himself in the team.

          You judge one did 7 F1 races the other won Indy Championship first go.

          If marco does the move to England or wherever his new team are based then it can only be good for his chances to maybe do as well as his Grandpa if not better. he can hardly do worse than his Dad.

  12. Well campos grand prix, manor, team usf1 and now lotus it looks like 28 cars on the grid for 2010 in f1 this is awesome f1 is growing stronger than ever and im glad to see after a split almost happened in June of 2009 i was nervous and worried.

  13. bush41uk said on 7th October 2009, 9:16

    i would love to see sato back in f1, he had us on the edge of our seats with his insane driving!! as for usf1 they clearly need an american driver and i cant see why that cant be danica, i think she would be ok as long as they produce a decent car.

  14. SaloolaS said on 7th October 2009, 16:34

    I hope for Rahal and Hunter-reay in USF1.

  15. Priyank said on 19th October 2009, 10:55

    What are the chances for Narayan Kartikayan ? He is experienced.

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