Who will be the new F1 drivers in 2011?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Pastor Maldonado, GP2, 2010

With no movement on the 2011 F1 driver market so far, it looks as though there might not be very many spaces for new drivers next year.

But with a 13th team potentially being announced soon and a fresh crop of graduates from GP2 and beyond looking for a way in, we could still see some new faces on the grid next year. Here’s a few to look out for.

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado, GP2, 2010

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado fared poorly alongside Nico H???lkenberg at ART last year, but having returned to the team he drove for in 2008 he is faring much better.

The Rapax driver won his fifth consecutive feature race at Hungary in emphatic fashion and has a comfortable championship lead with six races remaining.

There have been occasional snags, notably in the sprint race at the Hungaroring where he failed to heed a black-and-orange flag and ended up being disqualified. He was fortunate not to be handed a tougher penalty.

So far only Giorgio Pantano has failed to convert a GP2 championship victory into an F1 drive the following year – having spent a total of seven years competing in F3000 and GP2. Maldonado’s four-year tenure in GP2 doesn’t necessarily put him at risk of the same but this is looking like his last and best chance.

Maldonado has some backing from his country’s government and that combined with his performance this year could lead him to be the first Venezuelan to race in F1 since Johnny Cecotto 26 years ago.

He is managed by Nicolas Todt, the well-connected son of FIA President Jean Todt who also manages Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi.

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, GP2, 2010

Sergio Perez is also from a country in the Americas which hasn’t had an F1 driver for a while. The last Mexican to start a Grand Prix was Hector Rebaque in 1981.

At 20, Perez is five years younger than Maldonado and there’s been a touch of youthful impetuosity in his driving at times – particularly when he threw away a points finish in the sprint race last week with a half-hearted overtaking move.

But he has shown excellent speed on occasions and is comfortably handling a much more experienced team mate. He’s won three times already this year and lost a likely double points finish at Istanbul when his car was found to be underweight after the sprint race.

With backing from telecommunications company Telmex, who have supported several Mexican racing drivers in the past, Perez could find a place on the F1 grid next year.

Currently second in GP2, if he finishes there it leaves only one place he can afford to finish should he hang around for a third season in 2011.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Formula Renault 3.5, 2010

The Formula Renault 3.5 championship is led by Mikhail Aleshin, who’s in his fourth season in the category. Rookie Daniel Ricciardo is just seven points behind.

The Red Bull development driver followed in the footsteps of Jaime Alguersuari by winning the British Formula Three championship last year.

Ricciardo also impressed in the junior drivers’ test at the end of last year, driving a Red Bull RB5.

There are no vacancies for him at either of the Red Bull teams next year, so a switch to a to GP2 team in 2011 might be the next step for the 21-year-old Australian.

Paul di Resta

Paul di Resta, Force India, 2010

Di Resta’s DTM performance this year is probably of less significance for his future in F1 than the seven appearances he has made in practice sessions with Force India – a sign he’s being considered for a promotion.

With Vitantonio Liuzzi enduring a difficult comeback to the sport Di Resta looks like a good tip for a race seat next year.

Who else?

Jules Bianchi, GP2, 2010

Hotly-tipped Ferrari development driver Jules Bianchi started his season for GP2 powerhouse ART as expected, claiming pole position for the first race of the season.

But it all went downhill from there as the French driver crashed out at the first corner. Fourth in the championship is a creditable performance for a rookie, but he’s winless so far and hasn’t quite met those high expectations.

Matters took a turn for the worse at the Hungaroring, where he ended the weekend in the same AEK Hospital Felipe Massa was taken to last year. Thankfully Bianchi’s injuries, sustained in a crash at the start of the GP2 feature race, were not life-threatening, but the damage to his back will exclude him from several races.

Ex-Renault driver Romain Grosjean has impressed in a few single-seater drives this year, winning in Auto GP and showing good speed in a brief appearance at DAMS in GP2. F1 is clearly unfinished business for him.

Have you spotted any other drivers in the junior formulae who deserve a place in F1 next year? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: 2011 F1 drivers and teams

Image (C) GP2 Media Serivce, GP2 Media Serivce, GP2 Media Serivce, Renault, Force India F1 Team, GP2 Media Serivce

123 comments on “Who will be the new F1 drivers in 2011?”

  1. I hope that Paul Di Resta and Romain Grosjean make it. They seem good enough.

    1. MouseNightshirt
      9th August 2010, 19:19

      Not sure about Grosjean – he shows the “youthful impetuosity” from time to time that Perez is guilty of.

    2. Yeahhh Right onnn

  2. For the 13th team I reckon Perez will be in with a shout. I hear he’s carrying a lot of sponsership money, which every new team will love to hear! The other seat could be taken by Liuzzi. I get the feeling he’ll be shipped out of Force India, replaced by di Riesta, assuming his performances do not improve.

  3. Paddock gossip says Esteban Guttierez will be in DLR’s Sauber seat by the end of the season, replacing him in much the same way as Kobayashi did Glock.

    1. Says who? Gutierrez is leading GP3 and did well in Formula BMW before that but with little F3 experience and nothing above that surely he’s way too inexperienced for F1 this year or even next? Sounds like someone’s taken note of Sauber backing him and jumped to a conclusion.

      1. The BBC commentary team mentioned Gutierrez as well as Perez is in the frame at Sauber, last GP.

        1. I doubt it would happen, Kamui is barely out of his cradle, surely another rookie isn’t what they need right now, They would be better off keeping De La Rosa, or even trying to get Heidfeld back, or even Fisi…

          1. Or if Renault keep Petrov, Glock :D

          2. Or Ralf? …. now I’m just getting silly… :/

        2. Sauber has chose Heidfeld to replace DLR

      2. It was the talk of the media centre in Hockenheim, although the gossip was elsewhere in Hungary.

        He’s had an impressive season in GP3, is picking up loads of buzz, and is spending time meeting key paddock figures when he does his turn as an observer.

        Of course, anything can happen in F1, but Guttierez is the last hot tip I’ve been given.

        1. Durr. Spelling his name right would help. Damn submitting finger, working too quickly.

    2. That would be a pity if de la Rosa got dumped mid-season.

      He’s done a surprisingly good job this year, but has been very unlucky.

    3. I’d love to see Esteban in a F1 soon, but I guess it’d better for him to have a year more in gp2 waiting for a better seat to become available.

  4. I stopped following him a while back and lost track of him, but a name for the future could be Karol Basz. Kubica held him in great esteem but it seems like he is stuck in carting and slowly getting a bit too old to move on. He seemed lie a remarkable young man 3 years back.

    Other than that, DiResta seems most likely to me but depending on how the other RedBullBoys are doing, Ricciardo seems to have a good shot at it in the future.

  5. I think Brendan Hartleys chances have taken a severe battering in recent weeks.

    1. what has happened?

      1. He was dropped by Red Bull’s young driver development program.

      2. He was dropped by the Red Bull driver development programme after not meeting expectations.

        He’s still a decent prospect but needs an alternative source of funding if he’s to get anywhere now.

        1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          9th August 2010, 10:39

          He is still sponsored by a NZ Multi-miilionare Collin Giltrap who also gave Scott Dixon his start.

          Now, this isn’t for 2011 but a name to look out for in the future at Torro Rosso or Red Bull mark my words is Mitch Evans, 15yo won the Toyota Racing Series last/this year and is currently 2nd in the Australian Formula 3 championship.

          Oh, and he is also being mentored by Mark Webber and sponsored by the aforementioned multi-millionare

          1. Mitch Evans, eh? I heard it here first, and you are permitted to crow about your talent spotting abilities when he bags his first race win :-)

          2. Yea Mitch Evans is on the fast track to success. He does have a lot of backing and his father has a very long history is the NZ motorsport scene. He is a naturally quick driver.

            His father tried to set a NZ land speed record about 15 years ago in a very spec’d 911 turbo and at the last minute got rid of the safety net from the drivers side door as he didn’t want it to be there just incase there was a fire. Unfortunately his car rolled at a very high speed and mangled his arm and it was crushed by a barrel-rolling Porsche, driven there was no safety net the keep it in the car.

          3. I was lucky enough to get to tour the Team BRM, and they think he is the best driver they have seen (certinally in the teams short 12 year history). Apparently he will be living with Mark Webber next year in europe.

            P.s I got this because the local marshals were invited to take a tour, and we got to see the quick-extraction seats used (I didn’t know current open-wheeler seats aren’t bolted down at all, just held in place with gravity, the drivers weight and the seatbelt).

        2. What about Tim Macrow? Former F3 Champion who came off a one year+ break to run at Sandown this weekend and qualified pole in a National car ahead of Evans Championship car and went on to win all races and the weekend. Made the rest of the field look very average considering they have been running the whole season. Maybe Webber should be mentoring Macrow instead… and he’s an Aussie!!

  6. Wouldn’t it be a stunt for a F1 team to hire Will Power?

    1. Charles Carroll
      9th August 2010, 14:02

      It would certainly garner some attention from the US, though a NASCAR hiring would do undoubtedly more.

      Bernie would be for it, and then against it, and then for it later.

      1. There are scant few NASCAR drivers I would recommend hop over to F1.

        1. There aren’t any… at all. Allmendinger abandoned the road for F1. Speed is likely gone from Red Bull in Nascar after this year (which is probably the end of his competitive racing career). Montoya won’t… period. No one else is even close to having enough open-wheel experience. Until Alexander Rossi is ready (not til 2012 at least), there is no American driver who can compete in F1.

          Having said that, I agree that someone should at least give Will Power a F1 test.

          1. In terms of Nascar, there arn’t many I agree, but the talk of the Nascar paddock at the moment is the aussie Marcos Ambrose.
            I only saw the 1st race and highlights of the second, but I havent seen that much talent in a while…..

            There is also the most succesful Nascar driver of all time Kyle Bush, whether he would be willing to try open wheels is a different story though.

  7. It would be nice to see Daniel to break into Formula 1, there was a full page article in the newspaper about him, and he said his biggest fear was entering Formula 1 when he is not ready, so Maybe 2012? as you mentioned, all the red bull seats are full.

    Also the New Zealander, Brendan Hartley I think it is, the other Red Bull reserve driver would be nice to see him step into F1 and race for Mclaren! Wouldn’t that be a shock of realisation to the Brits, “what do you mean Mclaren isn’t 100% British??”

    1. Red Bull have dropped Hartley, he’s not been doing very well.

      1. why is this? wow.. i need to go find some articles on these races

        1. He wasn’t doing well in his series, however the Red Bul F1 team were apparently annoyed at his dropping because he was better than Ricciardo in the simulator feedback

    2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
      9th August 2010, 10:40

      Yep, technically a Kiwi team at heart, even shows it in the logo, a racing Kiwi

  8. They replaced him with Vergne who’s comfortably leading the British F3 championship.

    1. Wow, how’s that for driver development. Just sponsor the guy who’s leading the championship. ;-)

      1. Vergne had Red Bull sponsorship before the season began.

    2. Now, Vergne is a talent. I’ve been following him since Formula Reanult Eurocup where he came Second last year. His performances this year in British F3 have been quite outstanding. If you can watch the meeting at Spa on youtube. Great at overtaking and is good in the interviews afterwards. Being French and on the Red Bull development program. I tip him for great success in a couple of years time.

  9. Dani Clos from GP2 is a maybe, DeResta is the only definate you would have to say.

  10. I want Giorgio Pantano in F1 !

    1. Charles Carroll
      9th August 2010, 14:04

      He signed with Lockheed F1, a US-based outfit with cars so stealthy, you can’t even see them.

  11. Patriotism wins through. I’d love to see Daniel in a seat by 2012. Should coincide perfectly with Webber’s decision to retire after winning his second consecutive WDC ;)

  12. i hope we get a driver from latin america that’s not from brazil. The mexican prospect looks good, with money from slim enterprises. maldonado it’s like montoya, very aggressive, but i doubt has the same amount of talent. I think he is too aggressive for this mild f1 of today’s. He is better off in america doing some open wheel racing first, and then maybe nascar like the colombian master. Monty finally won another race, this time at watkins glen. I expect the wins to keep coming at at faster rate now.

    1. Charles Carroll
      9th August 2010, 14:06

      JP has to master the ovals first. He could certainly do so, but until he does, he will still not be considered a success in NASCAR. I wish him good luck, though.

      I agree with you about Maldonado too. I think he is a lock for an Indy or NASCAR team with his style, but a longer shot for F1.

      1. @ Charles Carroll:

        Do what? “JPM has to master the ovals first?” How about C.A.R.T. Champion and Rookie of the Year 1999 and Indy 500 winner in 2000. I’d say he’d definitely “mastered the ovals” wouldn’t you?

        1. Charles Carroll
          9th August 2010, 16:04

          You do realize that NASCAR vehicles are drastically different than open-wheeled vehicles, right?

          JP has not mastered ovals in NASCAR. Its that simple. I’m not saying he cannot, but he hasn’t yet. It does not matter how well he did on ovals in other cars, because those cars are obviously different.

          So no, I wold say that he has yet to master the ovals in NASCAR. Once (or if) he does, he will dominate.

          1. Ha ha ha….. Lived in Alalbama for 8 years less than 2 hours away from Talladega so yes, I have noticed a slight difference :)

  13. In order to call the new students in the class of 2011, first of all you have to look at who is who and where they are.

    Right now, I think the most important man on the driver market is Vitaly Petrov. A lot of drivers – at least three – have their eye on his Renault seat given their competitiveness. If Renault keep him, the silly season won’t be nearly as interesting.

    If Petrov leaves Renault, there’s going to be a lot of fighting over the seat. I suspect it will come down to Adrian Sutil and Timo Glock. If Renault take Sutil, it protects Liuzzi’s seat at Force India, because Vijay Mallya will want continuity in the team. If Renault keep Petrov, Force India will be the most competitive choice on offer to Sutil, and I doubt Liuzzi will be joining him in 2011.

    Secondly, it depends on what Michael Schumacher does. If he leaves, the vacant Mercedes seat may not look too appealing, but if Nick Heidfeld is the Pirelli tester, Mercedes will have a lot more data on the tyres so it could suddenly be popular. In that case, I expect Mercedes will go for someone young. Sutil and Glock are definite choices, but I’d also suggest Kobayashi and Buemi might be under observation.

    I don’t think that there’s much that can save de la Rosa, so both Sauber seats might be up for grabs. If Mercedes were to take Buemi – who wants a Red Bull drive, but is going to have to work for it, and a Toro Rosso is a poor platform for that – then Alguersuari, like Liuzzi, would be safe. But if Buemi were to stay at Toro Rosso, Alguersuari might have to look to Hispania or Epsilon Euskadi (if they get in) for a future.

    Futher down the order, I doubt Karun Chandhok will be staying around in 2011. Bernie might want an Indian driver in the sport, but that isn’t enough to protect him. Likewise, I suspect Lucas di Grassi could also be issued with his P-45s. Depending on who gets the extra grid place, there may be one or two seats going.

    So, at most, that leaves us with eight seats: one Force India, two Saubers, one Toro Rosso, one Hispania, one Virgin and two New Team drives. So, how do we go about filling them?

    Maldonado and Perez are probably the most promising. Not only are they fast, but they offer sponsorship for teams willing to take them. Dani Clos could also be a possible choice, but I think he’s still a little rough around the edges. Nevertheless, he may offer a certain appeal to Hispania or possibly Epsilon Euskadi if they get in.

    As for Bianchi, I don’t think he’ll cut it. Not in 2011, and least of all because of his injury. He might have dominated Formula 3, but he’s hardly done the same here. Red Bull may have their eye on Vergne, especially if Buemi moves. I know he’s supposed to be staying at Toro Rosso, but he’s apparently only got an oral contract at the moment.

    So, here’s how I’m going to call it. I’m going to play it conservative, though.:

    McLaren – Jenson BUTTON, Lewis HAMILTON
    Red Bull – Sebastian VETTEL, Mark WEBBER
    Ferrari – Felipe MASSA, Fernando ALONSO
    Renault – Vitaly PETROV, Robert KUBICA
    Williams – Rubens BARRICHELLO, Nico HULKENBERG
    Force India – Adrian SUTIL, Paul DI RESTA
    Sauber – Kamui KOBAYASHI, Sergio PEREZ
    Scuderia Toro Rosso – Jaime ALGUERSUARI, Sebastien BUEMI
    Virgin – Timo GLOCK, Bruno SENNA
    Lotus – Heikki KOVALAIEN, Jarno TRULLI
    Hispania –
    New Team – Pastor MALDONADO

    The other three are imporrisble to call right now. You’ll notice I moved Bruno Senna from Hispania to Virgin – I doubt someone as savvy as Richard Branson wouldn’t try to ally the Senna and Virgin names if given half a chance.

    1. damonsmedley
      9th August 2010, 12:54

      I will copy and paste that to a note pad document on my desktop… It would be incredible if you were right! :D

      1. Well, we had a pool going over at F1 Rejects for the 2010 Silly Season. I won, calling twelve of the driver moves – I missed Schumacher and Chandhok, among a few others (but I got Petrov and di Grassi right). So hopefully I can repeat it this year. It’s harder, though, because I have no idea about teams like Hispania that need money to survive, but which every budding driver is going to be wary of.

        1. Excellent analysis Prisoner. Though I’d definitely expect Renault to keep Petrov. I suppose they’ve made a decision some time ago, but are not willing to take the pressure off Petrov’s shoulders – he seems to be doing better with his prospects apparently looking shaky. Why do I think Petrov will remain at Renault? He brings money – a lot of money. Boullier might claim that Renault’s money requests from Bernie is nothing unusual, but the team was on the verge of financial chaos this winter and the situation might yet be repeated. And to tell the truth, Petrov’s good worth for his money. He is slowly improving and if he can rack up about 40 points by the end of this season, Renault will definitely keep him.

          Can’t see Liuzzi staying on in F1. He’s been miles behind Sutil and hasn’t really been improving.

          I also actually expect Schu to leave. Mercedes might kindly give him the stick (though we won’t know about it) and even if they don’t, Michael won’t want to remain in the sport where he’s vastly uncompetitive.

          1. Petrov reportedly has problems with sponsorship. Nothing, that can’t be solved, though. But I hope Petrov will stay if not in Renault, then in another F1 team.

          2. Haven’t heard anything about sponsor problems, Igorilla. The Russians were supposed to have paid on the first of March and the first of June, and that’s obviously happened. The only thing I could possibly relate back to it is Martin Brundle’s comments that Renault might have been putting a bit of pressure on Petrov to squeeze a little extra out of him and his sponsors, and now the team is throwing their weight behind him. However, I suspect his performance in Hungary is a result of his German and British Grand Prix where he was pretty strong. He was looking fairly decent after Turkey, but then he slipped up in Canada, and I think it might have dented his confidence a little.

          3. Petrov and his manager told themselves on Russian sports channel. It was just before Hockenheim, if I remember correctly.

    2. I think you will be pretty close to reality there PM.

      I fully agree with your reasoning for Renault to keep Petrov. Sauber will want to keep Kobayashi and Perez is in talks with them, although they might go with Maldonado in the end.
      Interesting move with Senna to Virgin, i get the logic in that.

      As for the new team and for Hispania it really is to soon to tell. It might even be Yamamoto getting a permanent seat, or a completely unknown driver.

      The only 13th entry contestant we know at least one driver of is the Durango/Villeneuve F1 thing, but how small are their chances?

  14. Aleshin. His problems with sponsorship are solved, and now he is backed by solid sponsors and has possibility to get into F1.
    Oh, and Ricciardo is eleven points behind.

    1. Aleshin might be doing well in FR3.5, but have you seen his GP3 results? He wouldn’t even be considered for GP2, much less Formula 1 … though Lukoil might want a second Russian driver in the sport.

      1. GP3 results? He raced only two races, lol.
        And Lukoil isn’t related to Aleshin anymore.

        1. Two races, but they were nothing to write home about. Any Formula 1 team principal worth his salt is going to check those results, however few they may be.

          1. “Any Formula 1 team principal worth his salt” isn’t going to make decision basing on two races results. Wickens (who is 2nd in GP3 now) was 21st in Aleshin’s second race, and did’t get any point in first, btw.

          2. ““Any Formula 1 team principal worth his salt” isn’t going to make decision basing on two races results.”

            Is that not what Peter Sauber did last year?

          3. Kobayashi? Well, he was good in GP Asia. But I’m sure, that Sauber had various reasons…

        2. Interesting, I agree that there may be another Russian in F1 soon, but I think it will be 2012 and a young driver by the name of Sergei Afanasiev, currently in F2, he’s a real racer, a character but just needs to mature a little bit before moving up to the big one, another season in F2 or maybe a move to GP2, and he is sponsored by Lukoil. He is, I think, a real tip for the future and would bring a lot to the sport both on and off the track (not in a spinny, gravel trap, barrier kind of way, but in a ‘good ambassador’ kind of way).

  15. Will Power should be in F1 if he continues to dominate the road courses in IndyCar like he has this season, the only problem being that he’s 29 so maybe a little too old for F1. Also, if an F1 team could poach Jimmie Johnson from NASCAR then it would be a major PR coup in the states. He said it was something he’d be open to but he’s in his 30s so again probably too old.

    1. Why would Power give up a good thing like a Penske drive and a championship lead for the uncertainty of Formula 1? He might be doing well on road and street circuits in Indycar, but statistically, Indycar drivers have a hard time adapting to Formula 1 – and it’s hardly something that is limited to oval winners; when Sebastien Bourdais dominated in Champ Car, only two events were held on ovals each year. Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve stand out as the exceptions that prove the rule. I’d say Will Power is more than happy to be where he is right now.

      1. Yeah I can’t see Will Power giving up a drive at Penske to have crack at F1, I think that would be a very insane move.

    2. JIMMIE JOHNSON!! Are you serious! I doubt he could even get his super license much less be competitive in a F1 car. Are you from Georgia???

      1. Charles Carroll
        9th August 2010, 14:14

        To be fair, however, Mark Webber would be about as successful in NASCAR as Villenueve is.

        Its apples to oranges at the end of the day. I do not believe you can compare the two sports. Great drivers in each sport are just that…great drivers in their sports.

    3. The same logic applies to Johnson that PM uses with Will Power and IndyCar…the guy has way too much of a good thing going to risk a career move as uncertain as F1. However, Johnson is on record as saying he would like to test an F1 car. but it would be the same kind of test that Jamie Whincup did in Melbourne this year…more of a demo run than a real test.

      1. That’s exactly what I was thinking. As soon as you have someone that stands out in Indy or NASCAR, you’re highly unlikely to pull them away from it when they’ve got a good thing going. Only way they’d be convinced is if they were looking for a new challenge and as others have said, by that time most are “too old” for such a switch.

        That said I *would* like to see more successful Indy Car drivers give a go at F1 and vice versa. It’s always interesting to see how they fare.

      2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        9th August 2010, 20:08

        What time did Whincup actually do in that test? was it any good?

        1. I believe it was the Thursday before this year’s Australian GP. He switched cars with Button, which I believe was arranged by Vodafone, a sponsor of both driver’s teams. As far as I know it was just a demo run of sorts, so it is really not possible to judge if Jamie could be competitive in an F1 car. When Montoya was still with Williams, he did the same thing with Jeff Gordon and his car at Indianapolis- if I read correctly, Juan said he was afraid of driving Gordon’s Monte Carlo on the oval, so he apparently has come a long way in that regard :)

  16. Maybe not next year, but a year later I hope my compatriot Kazim Vasiliauskas will enter F1 becoming first Lithuanian to do so. Currently, he competes in F2 and showing promising speed, but luck is not on his side, so he is 7th in the championship and he could have won a race if not a gearbox problem.

    1. I think that Estonians (with their Pentus) have better chances.

  17. Surely we haven’t seen the last of Quick Nick?

    1. He’s hardly ‘new’ though :P I want him back on the grid though.

    2. I think we have. He’s been out for a season, and there isn’t really anywhere he can go. He may have been a safer horse than Vitaly Petrov for Renault, but it’s very telling that Renault didn’t take him. After all, Petrov was only announced as Renault’s second driver the day the R30 was unveiled in Valencia, and the contract had been signed the day before – so Petrov’s money was hardly the defining factor in Renault’s decision to take him. Even if Renault drop Petrov, you’ve got Sutil and Glock eyeing off his seat (at the very least), and they’ve got one major drawcard over Heidfeld: they’ve been racing in 2010. In fact, the entire field has that over Heidfeld. Remember, refuelling is gone for this season, so the cars behave very differently. Otherwise, there’s nowhere for Heidfeld to go – McLaren are full, Red Bull is full, Ferrari is full, Mercedes will probably be full, etc. Besides, there’s talk that Heidfeld will be the official test driver for Pirelli’s tyres. It’s likely that Mercedes will fight to retain him as their test driver in 2011 because of the personal experience he’ll glean from testing the Pirellis: something no other team can offer.

      Face it, Heidfeld’s time as a racer is over.

      1. … Well Renault didn’t take him, and I think part of this is that Heidfeld was already committed to Mercedes when Schumacher signed on. So I don’t think it was an option, a year out hardly discounts a driver, And although I agree his options are slim, I think to say he is “done”, is a bit of a stretch.

        Look at De La Rosa for instance… He was in the same position as Heidfeld for much longer.

        1. I think the only real chance for Heidfeld to get into F1 would be with the 13th entry.
          As Klien showed, an experienced driver (not as talented and not as experienced as Heidfeld) can get the car working to its potential a lot better than a pack of rookies. But Nick would have to work for free, if not bring sponsorship to the team.

  18. Maldonado and Perez are probably the only ones worth a shot right now. I can see them both getting in too, at least one of them with Epsilon if that becomes an option.

    There’s no point rushing people through esp with the seriously limited amount of testing. It may have worked for Kamui but he was going nowhere in GP2. He was seriously unimpressive, it was sheer luck that he was given a chance in F1 and thank God he did get it but most drivers don’t jump into an F1 car and go like hell straight away.

    Senna came into F1 at 24 and I think he was considered youngish at the time and he had testing. F1 can be its own worst enemy at times; chucking young kids in the car with barely any experience and then getting impatient. We’ve already lost Grosjean, Petrov, Chandhok, di Grassi and Jaime have speculation surrounding their seats. It just seems daft to me.

    Ricciardo and Bianchi could both be something special but they need time. Ricciardo needs to do the full route upwards. Bianchi needs another year in GP2; he has a back injury now and although his results were messy he has put in some good performances at times. He just needs time I think.

    Paul di Resta really should be in GP2 or just a single seater, open wheel series for a kick off. At least he is getting some Friday running though but I do0 expect him in F1 next year if I’m honest so that’s 3 new faces I predict.

  19. One driver whose stock certainly took a beating this year is Sam Bird. When he has his day he can be quick but he can also be really mediocre or reckless.
    In my opinion competition in GP2 isn’t as harsh as it was last year but even in such conditions he hasn’t really shined.

    1. I never really rated Sam Bird personally, I’d be surprised if he ever made F1.

      I wonder who will be the next Brit in F1, aside from di Resta (yes, I know he is Scottish!)? I personally don’t think Sims, Turvey, Max Chilton (even with all his backing) or any of the Brits in F2 have got what it takes. It could be a few years yet. Jack Harvey in FBMW Europe looks quite promising, but its a little soon to assess his chances.

      1. Er if your Scottish you are British, that reas a little wierd.

        Jack Harvey is a good shout, should hopefully see him in GP3 next year.

        1. I have a lot of Scottish friends, most of which get annoyed if you refer to Andy Murray as British despite him being, um, British, so just covering the bases. Thank you for calling me weird though, nothing like a bit of judgmentalness about someone you’ve never met :/

  20. I will be bold and say that my fellow compatriot Alvaro Parente deserved another chance at GP2 and then at F1. He showed speed in both his 2 GP2 seasons appearances. And in the second (2009), he completely trounced Karun Chandhok in the same car (Ocean Racing technology). Also, he won WSR in 2007 and tested a F1 Renault that year. He was going to be the Virgin test driver this year but some sponsorship retracted near the beginning of the season. He lost the place to Andy Soucek, who in 2008 raced for Super Nova along Parante finishing behind the Portuguese.

    1. I agree, DanielPT. Actually, on the forum, I had an article called ‘Who would you like to see in F1?’ and Parente was the first driver I mentioned.

  21. As long as Ricciardo isn’t in I will be happy, and yes I am Australian:)

  22. Daniel Ricciardo! Have we ever had two Australians racing F1 at the same time? I hope we can!

    1. Just had to check on wiki for this, there’s about 30 races up to 1977 with more than one Australian. The last time Austria in 1977, Alan Jones’ first win, with Vern Schuppan the other driver. According to wiki:
      “Jones’s win was so unexpected the organisers did not have a copy of the Australian national anthem. “Happy Birthday” was played through the PA system instead.”

      One a few occasions there have been 3 Aussie drivers who have qualified for the same race, three times in 1965 with Brabham, Gardener and Paul Hawkins, and once in 1976 in the US with Jones, Perkins and Warwick Brown.

  23. Charles Carroll
    9th August 2010, 14:17

    I think its safe to say that Bernie Ecclestone will be driving next year, complete with eye patch, handle-bar mustache, and a striped scarf.

  24. Maldonado to F1 finally! Venezuelan Power!
    I’m so glad I will be having a compatriot to root for in Formula 1

  25. Rick Hendrikse
    9th August 2010, 15:30

    I’ve got hope for Giedo vd Garde (but only because he’s a dutchy as I am, so for real, I don’t think so)

    But in the karting scene Max verstappen is kicking *ss and so i think he will be on the grid in 2018 or so.

    Then I stil think that virgin should try and sign Danica Patrick, it would be quite te show and let’s face it, she most likely drives better then Senna and/or Di Grassi.

    Also worth mentioning is Renger van der Zande, he might be up there one day.

    Internationaly i just hope for a new hamilton story. Brought slowly by a top team and just make every expectation come true.

  26. Lord Wallaby
    9th August 2010, 16:19


    Conor Daly is a young American coming up through the American ranks. Hopefully Alexander Rossi keeps moving up the chain too.

  27. And what about JR Hilderbrand? He only just lost out to Di Resta to become Force Indias champion, and probably already qualifies for a FIA Super Licence. He has the speed, god knows how he currently isnt in a full time IndyCar ride this season. But just because he isnt in GP2, doenst mean he would not be a contender or be sucessful in F1.

    1. ‘Force Indias champion’, should be ‘Force Indias third driver, and I belive the current Indy Lights champion’

      1. Lord Wallaby
        9th August 2010, 16:37

        Got his first Indycar drive Sunday at Mid Ohio. Hopefully he can get a full time ride or move onto something other than those crapwagons.

        1. We will not know if any Indy Car deal is finalized. He only has a 2 race contract.

          JR’s test deal with Force India was made by contacts 2 years ago. If Di Resta seals the 2nd seat, JR may get a test ride.

  28. F1 needs a Canadian on the grid. I say Robert Wickens should get a shot at any open drives for next year.

  29. I think Jerome d’Ambrosio, driver in GP2 for DAMS deserves his place in F1. So far, he’s won only 1 race in the series, but the general performance of his team isn’t good. But the belgian driver has shown his talent on many occasions. Last year, he used to qualify poorly in qualifying, but could make a lot of overtakings during the race. He’s also a very good pilot in Monaco : he finished second there last year, and won his first race this year (though it was the second race). Last but not least, he dominated his teammate last year, the well-known Kamui Kobayashi. So, this pilot deserves much more than his current situation…

  30. jose arellano
    9th August 2010, 18:05

    i hope perez beats maldonado on pure pace in the next few races (hasnt happened).. if he does. slim will offer some cash to a team (but this would affect other racers sponsored by him i reckon…

    and i would like to see what gutierrez offers once he goes to gp2…

    viva meexicoo

  31. Also a little shout for Cristian Klien, if HRT had money I think thats the driver they’d have behind the wheel. Which is why this Yamamoto non-sense has to be down to cash.

  32. I hope Ricciardo gets into F1 but he’ll be hoping Webber’s seat will be taken by Buemi so he can jump into the Toro Rosso in 2012.

    1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
      9th August 2010, 20:13

      I don’t think so I think he’ll be wanting Vettel’s seat taken so he can drive with a fellow Aussie

  33. i would field a team of sideshow bob look-alikes romain grosjean and boris said. the pit crew would have the hairdo built into the helmets.

  34. If Paul Di Resta could make it… What could be the scenario of Force india ?? I mean About Adrian Sutil’s position in the team ???

    1. Di Resta would likely place Liuzzi. Sutil wouldn’t be under threat because he’s the senior driver.

      1. veryyy true but, Heard that Sutil may look forward for factory teams like /McLaren..etc in an interview.. in future…What could your analysis tell about Force India’s performance in the future….. Can this midfield team could get the lime light focused on its side in future…:-)

  35. Esteban Guerrieri! if he finds the money, of course…

    he has been doing pretty good at Superleague (last year) at World Series and AutoGP, even if his continuity is always in doubt because of the lack of money… but people (from Europe!… that’s the most annoying thing… Argentina supported that clown Lopez but gave nothing to Esteban) keep trusting him…

    Hope he at least gets a test drive!

  36. I was looking around yesterday, trying to figure out the differences of F3, F2, GP3 and GP2. An interesting fact I stumbled over was to see that the way the to get into Formula 1 seems to be: National Formula –> Formula 3 Euro Series —> GP2 –> F1.

    Of the drivers in the current F1 field that has raced in both F3 and GP2 we can mention, Nico Hulkenberg, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, (Paul Di Resta). So for me it seems natural for Paul Di Resta to take Tonio’s place at Force India if Sutil doesnt go to another team. Even then I still see a chance that Heidfeld will get back. Driving for who I dont know.
    Though it seems that every race weekend when Schumacher screws up Heidfeld is sitting there thinking: “I can do better!”. Such a shame that he was not able to catch a drive this year.

  37. Pastor Maldonado & Paul DI Resta looks promising to me in 2011 with Resta replacing Luizzi looks more happening.

  38. For FI i doubt di Resta will be drive in 2011. If Shumi stays for 2011, Nick Heidfeld will drive for FI for a year, if not Chandok could replace Liuzzi as he would be good to bring loz of indian sponsors to FI.

    Renault, i think they will stay with Petrov as he is matching the pace of Kubica

  39. Canadian Robert Wickens. Lots of open wheel experience in Champ Car Atlantic, A1GP, Formula BMW USA, WSR, F2, and GP3 and has taken pole and won races at every level. Lack of major sponsor makes F1 unlikely for next year but the kid has mad skills. Very mature driver for his age.

  40. Its unfair that Grosjean isn’t getting a break this year, i hope he has something for 2011…

  41. Keith, Do you think you can write up a Prediction Poll for the drivers Next Season?

    So we can guess who will be where and who will be number 1’s and number 2’s ?

  42. You guys should take a serious look at Edoardo Mortara. He’s leading the F3 Championship right now, and is dominating. Last year he did go to GP2 and only won 1 race, but the same happened to Kobayashi. The reason I’m so confident about his abilities is because of his stellar performance in the Macau Grand Prix. I’ve been watching this grand prix for 27 years now, and the most impressive drivers I’ve seen here were Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen (they had a fantastic battle here), Coulthard, and from this generation, of course Hamilton and Rosberg- hamilton won the first lg and Rosberg was leading the second and they crashed into each other, Kobayashi- won the first leg with a big distance, dominating the likes of Di Resta, and this guy, Mortara. RIcciardo, for a Rookie, was very impressive in last years GP. Crashed on the mountain, but was doing a very respectable drive. Hartley was in the midfield.

    Check out his performance on last years Macau GP on this video:


    F3, IMO, is the place where you really see the talent of the driver. Every car is much the same, no drive assists.

    1. Thanks for the tip, looks like a very promising guy there (and Macau is wonderfull as always).

  43. I prefer in getting Jonathan Summerton on a seat. And if an Indy Car team closes dorrs, JR Hildebrand should also get a seat. Time to get US talent.

  44. Another driver to add. Well he is in his 30s. But it does not hurt to mention Ryan Hunter-Reay unless Andretti Autosport comes with a new contract.

  45. Enrique Miguel
    12th August 2010, 1:24

    Almost always money is a bigger issue than talent, so he that gets the bigger sponsor will be the chosen one….


  46. Renault: I think Renault second seat is for Ho Pin Tung (current testrider for Renault)
    Force India: Luizzi is going to replaced, and if i heard correctly a indian driver. If Sutil is going to a higher team there is a good chance the Klien takes his place.

  47. Bring Will Power from Indycar. The man seriously kicks ass!!!!!

  48. I think there’s some serious talent in FR 2.0 at the moment. For example young estonian Kevin Korjus. I think that he will have future in F1, in some years.

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