Which drivers will make their last F1 start next week?

Debates and polls

Rubens Barrichello, WIlliams, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Rubens Barrichello, WIlliams, Abu Dhabi, 2011

It’s a sad feature of F1 that sometimes drivers’ careers end before we realise it.

They turn up at the season finale then depart never to return as someone else takes over their place for next year.

Heading into the final race of 2011 there are a few likely candidates for drivers whose time in F1 may be up.

Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello has been in this situation before. Three years ago he approached the final race – like this year, his home Grand Prix at Interlagos – unsure if his Honda contract would be renewed.

By a strange sequence of events the dissolution of the team ultimately paved the way for him to hold onto his place in Formula 1, as the remnants of Honda metamorphosed into Brawn.

This year his place at Williams is under threat after a sometimes lacklustre season, even when taking into account the obvious deficiencies of the FW33.

There are persistent rumours the team is courting Kimi Raikkonen for an F1 return. And even if that fails to materialise, the driver situation at Force India could send the likes of Adrian Sutil in the Grove team’s direction.

Pastor Maldonado’s place in the line-up has looked secure thanks to his substantial backing from Venezuelan state petroleum company PDVSA. The legitimacy of this deal has recently been called into question in his home country, but it remains to be seen if this is a credible threat to Maldonado’s place in F1.

Next week’s race will be Barrichello’s 326th. He already holds all the records for career longevity. But there are signs he may fall short of a 20th season in the top flight.

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011

The relative performances of Sutil and team mate Paul di Resta this year has been the subject of intense debate on F1 Fanatic, not least of which last weekend.

Sutil had a poor start to the year but has clearly improved as he’s got used to the Pirelli tyres. He is 34-23 up on di Resta in the points standings.

But has Sutil, with 89 starts to his name, conclusively proved his worth over di Resta, who’s in his first season of F1?

This is the question Vijay Mallya is expected to answer soon, and in doing so judge whether to swap Sutil for Nico Hulkenberg. His compatriot impressed in his first season of F1 and only lost his seat at Williams for sponsorship reasons.

A Di Resta-Hulkenberg line-up at the team next year would be short on F1 experience. But di Resta’s performance this year suggests that may not be too great a problem.

Money may ultimately play a deciding role here. The financial problems of Mallya’s other business interests have been well-documented, and he sold part of his share in Force India earlier last month for that reason.

Whoever can bring money to the team may tip the balance, and that could work in Sutil’s favour. Even if it doesn’t, an opportunity at Williams may secure his place in F1.

Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna, Renault, Suzuka, 2011

Bruno Senna, Renault, Suzuka, 2011

Like Barrichello, another Brazilian driver whose home race could be his last.

Senna has a fairly weak claim to a place in F1 at the moment, given that he’s the replacement for one driver who was a substitute for another driver.

In his seven races since taking Nick Heidfeld’s place he’s tended to match Petrov in qualifying (which is rather better than his predecessor did) but not performed as well in the races. Weighed against that we have the deteriorating performance of the R31 and Senna’s reliability problems – such as KERS failures in the last two races.

Robert Kubica looks increasingly unlikely to return at the start of next year, leaving GP2 champion Romain Grosjean as the greatest threat to Senna in the team.

On paper, Vitaly Petrov has nothing to worry about – his current contract expires at the end of next season. His recent public criticism of the team was embarrassing but hardly a sack-able offence.

That leaves Senna in a vulnerable position but the sponsorship he helped bring to the team earlier this year could stand in his favour. He’s popular within the team and if he were to get a place next year at the expense of the under-contract Petrov, it would be a significant vote of confidence in his ability.

Jerome D’Ambrosio

Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin, Abu Dhabi, 2011

There are some who believe Charles Pic already has a deal to replace D’Ambrosio at Virgin next year, when the team becomes Marussia.

D’Ambrosio has arguably performed better as Timo Glock’s team mate than Lucas di Grassi did last year, but that may not be enough to keep his place at the cash-strapped team.

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Who knows who’ll turn up at the wheel of an HRT next year. Liuzzi brings experience and continuity to the team but this is another seat where income is likely to overrule talent.

The Toro Rosso driver logjam

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Toro Rosso have four drivers in the hunt for two seats. It’s conceivable that either, neither or both of their current pilots could lose out.

Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi have been closely-matched in their second full season together. Alguerusari has started to pull ahead in the points standings of late, albeit aided by three car failures in four races for Buemi.

With Daniel Ricciardo, currently seconded to HRT, and Jean-Eric Vergne both making their way up the Red Bull Driver Development ladder, something’s got to give in time for the start of next season.

Your say

Which of these drivers will lose their F1 seats after the Brazilian Grand Prix?

  • Rubens Barrichello (79%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (14%)
  • Adrian Sutil (31%)
  • Paul di Resta (2%)
  • Bruno Senna (50%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (10%)
  • Jerome D'Ambrosio (67%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (49%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (6%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (44%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (11%)

Total Voters: 351

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170 comments on Which drivers will make their last F1 start next week?

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  1. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 20th November 2011, 11:21

    Anyway, I think it will definitely be Barrichello’s last. Unfortunately, I think it will also be D’Ambrosio and Buemi’s last races.

    Also, I think it will be Trulli’s last as well.

  2. Buemi has dissappointed me throughout the season. I don’t see him driving in F1 next year.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 20th November 2011, 18:10

      But in the last two races he was around or in the top 10 when his car gave up. Partly due to Torro Rosso’s improving pace, but he still did a good job there. But I do think it won’t be enough with so many other drivers in contention for that seat.

    • I think Alguersuari is the weaker of the two to be honest. Buemi has had far worst luck than Alg. Secondly, a good driver shouldn’t take half a year to get used to a car especially when you are giving away precious points that will make a difference at the end of the year.

      • magon4 (@magon4) said on 20th November 2011, 19:41

        I second that, between those two, Buemi is the more complete driver for sure.

        • marco_ferrari said on 21st November 2011, 10:44

          If is he so complete, why he didn t equall or better his top qualifying and race results from 2009? Alguersuari already equalled them… And btw. Buemi was lucky in the first half of the season and in the second half of 2010… So everything is fair…

        • Simply because Alg is matching Buemi i’ve got to say Buemi will go.
          Ulitmately the toro rosso team is a development team for red bull drivers, Buemi after several seasons there has not shown potential like Vettel in that time therefore should get the boot and bring in ricciardo. If Alg isn’t bettering him halfway through the season bring in vergne.

          At least thats the way I’d run it…

      • Trix (@) said on 20th November 2011, 23:14

        This should obviously settle the argument:

  3. James (@jamesf1) said on 20th November 2011, 11:29

    I would say that Algusuari has earned his place in F1 next year. As he admitted on the BBC show last week, he has truely come alive since Valencia. He’s figured out the car, figured out the tyres and shown he deserves a place. I would say Buemi has done a solid job too, and it would be shame if he lost his racing seat, however he could be given a test driver opportunity with Red Bull.

    I would say Barrichello has had it. I reckon after the race, Williams will announce Raikkonen, would be unfair to announce it before the end of the season. Barrichello would lose motivation and determination if this was the case. It’s a shame that Barrichello hasnt ended things on his terms. He should have said that’s it rather than being told his services are no long required, but when a driver starts getting just one year extensions to his contract, the writing is on the wall – which is why I believe Mark Webber will leave F1 after next year.

    D’Ambrosio has probably had it. The car hasnt been inspiring, neither has his race performances. Coupled with the fact he appeared to ahve some money issues (around the time of the Belgium GP I think?), we can safely say that is all.

    Liuzzi may just survive the guillotine. Just.

    Senna may have a slender chance. Has done a fair job in a car which is frankly a fire hazard! However, given the quagmire at Renault with too many drivers for just two cars, he may be reduced to a testing role once more.

    • as has been noted elsewhere and often, the one year extensions Mark has been signing have been at his own request.

      Having said that, unless he really improves his games it’s doubtful RB will keep him beyond next year (and Mark may not want to stay).

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 20th November 2011, 16:18

      I think the opposite. If Williams have decided that Barichello isn’t going to race for them next season, it should be announced before the race so he gets a final send off.

      It would be a shame for his career to end quietly after the season.

    • Williams have claimed that they will have announced their line-up before the race.

    • I reckon after the race, Williams will announce Raikkonen, would be unfair to announce it before the end of the season. Barrichello would lose motivation and determination if this was the case.

      I believe Barrichello already knows his fate, whichever way that might be. He just can’t say until the team make if official.

  4. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 20th November 2011, 11:30

    I see Virgin juggling their 2nd driver about for a few years yet until they see someone really beat Glock (why they’d do that I’m not sure if he’s the lead driver??) so I see D’Ambrosio going.

    It’d be very refreshing to see Sutil in another car, actually. It’d put the argument about whether he’s any good or not to rest and at the minute his career is going wherever Force India is going – upwards, but perhaps too steadily for him to shock anyone.

    It’s going to be pretty sad seeing Barrichello go…especially ending on a year where his car has been so slow and unreliable. Unfortunately ******** Maldonado seems to be staying. His money will hopefully benefit whatever driver he is paired with though.

    As for Toro Rosso, I really, really hope Buemi stays. He’s been terribly unlucky as of late when he’s been on for good finishes and although Alguersuari is emerging to be a solid, points scoring driver, the team should look at the progress this year and keep the drivers they know and love and carry on the trend in 2012.

  5. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 20th November 2011, 11:30

    Seeing as I you can only make one choice, I’d say d’Ambrosio is the safest bet to loose his seat next year, despite doing nothing wrong!

  6. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 20th November 2011, 11:32

    I think you’re forgetting Jarno Trulli – there are a few rumours that he’ll be paid off for next year.

    Personally I think it would be a great shame to get rid of Barrichello from F1. I believe that Raikkonen is a better choice for Williams – but that Barrichello himself is a driver who is still performing to a very high level. I’d like to see him take the aforementioned seat at Lotus in place of Trulli.

    D’Ambrosio is a driver who’s largely gone under my radar because I have no interest in the Virgin team. For me, he won’t be missed.

    Liuzzi will bow out as one of the more disappointing drivers. Another Jan Magnussen – so much potential, so little delivery.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th November 2011, 11:51

      @sw6569 I’m not forgetting, I didn’t include him because he has a contract and at present I don’t think there’s any serious threat to his seat. If Lotus aren’t going to put Karun Chandhok in for one race I can’t see them doing it for a full season.

      • Himmat said on 20th November 2011, 13:30

        He did race in Germany, if memory serves me right.

        • RagingInferno (@raginginferno) said on 20th November 2011, 20:44

          Yes, but it was rather telling that he didn’t race again at his home GP.

          • Noelinho (@noelinho) said on 21st November 2011, 0:19

            Much though I like Chandhok, I don’t think there are many people in the paddock who rate him as an F1 driver.

            Also, Karun intimated at the Indian Grand Prix that he was looking for a seat elsewhere for next season, so he is clearly under the impression that he will not have a chance at a race seat next year.

    • David BR (@david-br) said on 20th November 2011, 14:30

      @sw6569 I agree about Barrichello, he may have declined a bit, but nothing like some other older drivers. In fact his achievement in remaining competitive is fairly remarkable, I think, and at a better level than Schumacher (though he did remain in the sport, a huge advantage obviously).

      One I’d like to see back in F1: Hulkenberg. (Another: Raikonnen!) One who doesn’t deserve his place: Maldonado. One who really should be counting himself lucky no questions are being asked: Webber.

      Bruno Senna should be given another season to prove himself, I think.

    • TheBrav3 said on 20th November 2011, 14:56

      If they were going to pay trulli off next year. Why on earth did they renew his contract recently? by doing so they ensure they will have to pay out x million insted of just not renewing his contract and saying bye bye at the end of the year. no way jose

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th November 2011, 11:35

    I voted for Senna. He just doesn’t wow me the way most of the other drivers do. He had a good qualifying session in Belgium and points in Italy … and after that, he’s been almost completely anonymous, usually being out-qualified and/or out-raced by Vitaly Petrov. I think he’s been trading on his name and his early success a little too much, though I don’t think he’s doing is consciously.

    I also think Buemi has had it. Aside from leading the race in Canada last year and his wheels popping off in China, I can’t name a thing he’s done. He might find some salvation in a team like Hispania, but he’ll spend the rest of his career being a barometer for young talent – and as soon as one of them out-performs him on a regular basis, his ticket will be punched.

    • jw393 (@) said on 20th November 2011, 11:52

      Brutal! But fair I think.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th November 2011, 12:03

        Well, I didn’t want to dance around it. Senna rarely makes much progress. I know some of the responsibility for this lies with the team, because I agree with Vitaly Petrov, but just compare both Renaults in India and Abu Dhabi – in India, Petrov started on the hard and finished on the soft, while Senna did the opposite. Petrov finished ahead of him. Then, in Abu Dhabi, Petrov started on the soft while Senna used the hard. Petrov finished ahead of him again. Even though Senna got a drive-through, he was still miles behind before the infraction. Petrov has put the R31 into Q3 on every occasion where Q3 has been possible this season (and in the case of India, he set a time that was technically good enough for Q3, though he was eleventh because of the rules on identical times). Heidfeld and Senna have not.

        • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 20th November 2011, 13:33

          @prisoner-monkeys Don’t forget that Senna came in very late compared to Petrov (to a race seat) and he would have had to sacrifice several practice sessions for the sole purpose of just finding a good baseline setup for his driving needs; and on top of that, to really get used to driving the car.

          This particular comment isn’t disagreeing with what your saying; but it doesn’t tell the full picture IMO.

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 21st November 2011, 13:07

      Completely unfair toward Buemi. What he did was mop the floor with Jaime in qualifying and despite having much more technical troubles than Jaime he’s still close in points to him and in races they both finished he leads 6-5. If Buemi needs to go then Jaime needs to be booted out! (I don’t think so, by the way, I think both of them are doing a credible job. But if you slam Buemi then you need to be as hard on Jaime or even harder).

  8. Enigma (@enigma) said on 20th November 2011, 11:40

    It looks like that’s it for D’Ambrosio’s career and it’s a bit of a shame. He’s very likeable and he did a solid job compared to an experienced team-mate. I think he deserved another year to show if he’s good or not, it’s hard to judge after just one…

    I hope the likes of Barrichello, Trulli, Liuzzi and so on leave. There’s a huge amount of talented drivers that deserve an f1 debut and these are taking the seats.

    • Ritvik Vinodkumar (@ritvik-vinodkumar) said on 20th November 2011, 13:22

      exactly what i had been thinking

    • TheBrav3 said on 20th November 2011, 15:00

      I think it’s time new drivers stop going to virgin it seems to ensure the immediate death of their career.

      At least d’ambrosio will have a handbreak turn in an f1 car in the pit lane during a race to look back on with pride.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st November 2011, 8:10

      @Enigma Couldn’t agree more about D’Ambrosio. He’s a rather solid season.

    • SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 21st November 2011, 17:50

      Indeed a solid season for D’Ambrosio.
      He made very little mistakes and done some very good races.
      Obviously only the people in the team saw what he can do.
      He did have to upper hand on Kamui in GP2 as his teammate (most of the time).
      Would be a shame if couldn’t prove himself again, but I doubt he will be around next year.
      Maybe try GP2 again or FR3.5/autoGp and get a top drive.

  9. jw393 (@) said on 20th November 2011, 11:51

    I’m confused as to whether i just like seeing the Senna name back in F1 or whether he’s actually any good. He seems very perceptive and intelligent, but whether that will translate into raw speed is something that can only be answered in a better car i think.

    Either way I’d bin the likes of Maldonado and Petrov in a flash in order to keep Senna in the sport. he’s a likeable fellow.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th November 2011, 12:47

      I’m exactly the same. I hold his relative lack of general racing experience as a sign that he can get on form given the chance.

      • TheBrav3 said on 20th November 2011, 15:11

        I’ve said it before i’ll say it again he really deserves a full season in a proper team with a full pre season test program. He has not had a single one of these things so far in f1, if it happens next year which i hope it does thats the time to judge and judge hard.

        At the moment the likes of petrov have about 8 months of experience with the car+tyres+DRS+exhaust blown diffuser and KERS which bruno has never used before, as do all the other drivers on the grid. His first race at spa this season even without the first corner incident he was just trying to work out how to make the tyres last the race.

  10. vickyy (@vickyy) said on 20th November 2011, 11:54

    That will be so ironical and unfortunate if Sutil do not get a seat in 2012. A driver knocking top 10 on driver’s standing in ultra competitive mid-field is highly commendable and worth deserve some accolades. Not sure how other’s think, but it is actually unfortunate to see him in this situation and be a part of this list.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 20th November 2011, 12:32

      I agree with you: people (read: the BBC) always say that Di Resta’s doing such a good job, but in fact he is trailing Sutil by quite some margin. I hope Hulk will replace him next year, as he is one of the few drivers from past years with some real talent up his sleerve (not just an expensive watch).

    • Dave (@davea86) said on 20th November 2011, 12:45

      Yeah I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think Sutil’s done enough to get at least another year at Force India but in saying that I think Hulkenberg deserves a seat next year. His rookie season at William’s was pretty good and he improved throughout the season (6 of his 7 points scoring finishes came in the second half of the season).

      I remember going to the Australian round of the A1GP back in 2007 and Hulkenberg dominated both races, beating some pretty experienced drivers in equal machinery (he also beat Buemi in both races).

      They both deserve a drive but 3 doesn’t go into 2 and di Resta has certainly earned another go. I guess Hulkenberg learned last year that just deserving it doesn’t mean much in F1.

      • magon4 (@magon4) said on 20th November 2011, 19:44

        Sutil is one of the best drivers in the field. I really mean it. Give him a really good car and he will produce. He’s got the talent and showed it often enough.

      • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 21st November 2011, 19:12

        Exactly what I think @Dave – all 3 deserve seats. I think Sutil at Williams would freshen up both parties, fun as a fully-motivated Kimi would be.

        I feel sorry for Rubens, but I think his time is over. Incidentally I think of all the drivers, Trulli should really be for the chop the most….

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th November 2011, 14:19

      I know what you mean @vickyy, Sutil does not seem to be the driver with hoards of fans, but he did have a great haul of points after the first few lacklustre races so he should be a solid choice.
      But I just cannot see him staying at FI and Williams would probably keep Rubens instead of going with another solid and experienced driver like Sutil in case they can’t agree with Kimi and feel its to early to try someone like Bottas.

    • TheBrav3 said on 20th November 2011, 15:33

      The problem is not points vickyy but potential adrian has been in f1 for 5 years and has never done anything that has made the critics say well that’s a world champ in making. By this time his skill will have plateaued the team will know what he is capable of.

      Along comes paul in his first year and he was regularly out qualifying sutil it was almost looking as one sided as heikki vs trulli at the start of the year and thats what’s important. You can work on race craft and mind management as a driver but if you don’t have the speed then you wont succeed. Paul has the potential to be a faster driver and we already know that the hulk is a super super driver. It’s only natural that people are putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 4.

      • vickyy (@vickyy) said on 20th November 2011, 16:57

        For your first point, not being a champions material, how many are there on the grid. It again comes down to machinery, all top 6 are or on the verge of being champion (I am specifically referring to Webber and Massa). So I am not sure how different Sutil (or any other mid-field driver)would have been in the same league if provided with same machinery.
        Second point,no second thought, Paul has undisputed talent, but somehow his hype has eclipsed some other rookie-beat-veteran battles e.g. Perez and Kobayashi.
        On top of that, IMHO Adrian is a safe bet as far as earning points is concerned, he made highest number of overtakes in 2010 ( not many know it) so that should have earned him a reasonably aggressive driver.
        And as BasCB suggested, he do not have a huge fan base and thats why I am not surprised to see a significant chunk of votes against him in the poll.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 20th November 2011, 18:19

          @vickyy I personally recall, for example, a great drive by Sutil in Monaco, and a fast dive by Kimi to go into the back of him. Sutil did show great things in the first years, but also crashed too often – now he has changed and people call him solid but unexciting.

          Maybe it just shows why Whitmarsh keeps saying HAM shouldn’t change the way he drives. Not that I’d loose a nights sleep over Sutil going away, but it seems a bit, well unfair (as F1 often is, look at Buemi).

      • 1 of the 3 said on 20th November 2011, 17:11

        @TheBrav3 The key word in your response to Vicky is “was”. Now is what we’re interested in and just take a look at Mr. Collantine’s 2011 Sutil form guide.

        I say Sutil has delivered and for those who say he’s a type of low rent Heidfeld I say rubbish. Rubbish because he’s never even had a car that had the potential to get podiums.

        Sutil AND di Resta have put FI where they are (ahead of the other mid fielders). This “adrian has been in f1 for 5 years and has never done anything” business is getting old fast. Put him in Massa’s Ferrari and I’d say he’d at least manage 4th if not the odd podium.

      • marco_ferrari said on 21st November 2011, 10:51

        Currently is Sutil leading Di Resta in qualifying 10:8… And it was 6:2 for the Scot before! So Adrian can still improve during a season… I don t believe “the potential stuff”, because if might happen, but also not… I believe what I see now, in the present and Sutil has done well… The same goes for Di Resta, but he is not ahead of Adrian yet…

  11. Di Resta and Sutil should go.

    Sutil is a lot like Heidfeld, but probably worse. Nothing special about the guy. Very replaceable.

    Resta: Being a rookie is no excuse, as we have all seen how quick the Champs were in their first years. Think of Lewis, Kimi, Shumi etc. He’s losing out to a driver who (before di resta arrived) was rated extremely poorly. He has failed to feature, and if it were not for his nationality and the constant artificial hype generated by the BBC, he would be just another failed driver who is dropped the following year.

    • vickyy (@vickyy) said on 20th November 2011, 12:10

      With all due respect, such opinions cracks me up, with no foundation whatsoever.

    • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 20th November 2011, 12:34

      In 2001, Kimi Raikkonen scored 9 of Sauber’s 21 points (42%), against Nick Heidfeld
      So far, Paul di Resta has scored 23 of Force India’s 57 points (40%), against Adrian Sutil, and that despite having somewhat inferior race strategies in the last few races when FIndia have gone with split tyre choices.

      Doesn’t seem to be that much between their respective debut seasons if you ask me.

      • That’s not the best comparison, Sutil is now well into his Formula One career. Heidfeld had done one season in an noncompetitive Prost before 2001.

        • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 20th November 2011, 21:55

          That makes DiResta’s season even more impressive

          • Mike (@mike) said on 21st November 2011, 2:33

            Not really… There are so many variables in that comparison it would be silly to take anything from it.

            I mean, we couldn’t really compare the young drivers two weeks ago. Let alone two drivers in different teams in different eras with two different teams mates over the span of a full year.

    • magon4 (@magon4) said on 20th November 2011, 19:46

      You gotta be kidding @infi! Sutil has been rated poorly?? Have you really been watching F1?

  12. marco_ferrari said on 20th November 2011, 12:09

    I said it many times and can repeat it, Sutil should be not present on that list as a driver who must fear for his seat… That is an absolute nonsense… He has definitely done enough to secure a seat in Formula One… The same goes for Alguersuari, who is a top scorer from midfield drivers since his first points in Canada…
    I wouldn t mind, if Maldonado, Trulli, Senna and Liuzzi loose their places as the didn t impress me this year at all…
    Looking just at track performances, I would give Ricciardo, Buemi and maybe even D Ambrosio another chance…

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th November 2011, 12:10

    I think the more-challenging question is is not “Who will be replaced for 2012?”, but rather “Will the replacement be better for the team?”

    Jerome D’Ambrosio is a prime example of this. Virgin/Marussia have been linked to two drivers who I think are ready to make the transition to Formula 1 in Charles Pic and Robert Wickens; there is nothing more they can learn in the feeder series. Now, let’s say – for argument’s sake – that the lap times at the Young Driver Tests are representative of their abilities (I’m aware there is no guarantee that they are; I just cannot think of a more-pertinent example). If they switch d’Ambrosio out for Robert Wickens, I think they’ll be trading up. But on the other hand, I think Charles Pic will be a step backwards.

    So, I think we really have to look at who is up for termination, and who is being drafted in to replace them.

  14. marco_ferrari said on 20th November 2011, 12:13

    Btw. there are some rumours that Vergne could partner Alguersuari at Toro Rosso in 2012… And it looks quite realistic that Ricciardo will get a drive in Caterham along with Heikki as a part of technical cooperation between Caterham and RB …

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 20th November 2011, 13:24

      Technical cooperation? Is there any? As I understand it Caterham is only a customer no?

    • Himmat said on 20th November 2011, 13:34

      Really? Never head this bit so far. I doubt Tony will take him in just because of a deal. He wont’ go that low, just like how he wasn’t ‘forced’ to race Chandok in India.

      I think Trulli should leave. Raikkonen to replace him!

    • tandrews (@tomand95) said on 21st November 2011, 7:09

      I think that Ricciardo will replace Buemi at Toro Rosso and that Vergne could get a seat in one of the weaker teams as Ricciardo did this year. Red Bull are building up either Ricciardo,Vergne or maybe even Alguersuari if he has a spectacular year in 2012, to replace Mark Webber at the end of his drive at Red Bull. We have to wait and see if Ricciardo has proved himself to be the first candidate for the Toro Rosso seat after his short stint in F1.

      • Prof Kirk (@prof-kirk) said on 21st November 2011, 10:18

        Completely agree with you there Tom, and was waiting for this to be mentioned.

        It seems to me that RedBull are aggressively feeding their drivers into Formula 1 to decide who will partner and challenge their number one driver, Sebastian Vettel, in the 2013 Season to replace Mark Webber. Mark Webber not scoring a single win this season compared to his team mates 11 wins, and in an interview during the 2009 season Mark quoted along the lines of he ‘didn’t want to stick around and be uncompetitive for too long like some other drivers’ possibly making reference to Jarno Trulli.
        Mark also quotes this year “I look at Seb’s times and I think that their just inhumanly possible”, hinting of his retirement at the end of next year.
        Who will replace Mark for the new rules 2013 season? The RedBull Driver, of the four, that shows the most promise next season. I don’t believe that Redbull will outsource there drivers, like obtaining Kimi Raikkonen, as there investment in the young driver program is too large.

        I have thought to myself that RedBull just might pay for Daniel to replace Maldonado at Williams, or both Daniel and Vergne will partner up at HRT to become another stepping stone team for RedBull. I am sceptical that RedBull will drop either Jaime or Buemi at Torro Rosso just because of the investment they represent but then neither of them have showed any world championship worthy talent like Vettel did whilst at Torro Rosso, consistently getting into the points, with notable efforts at Monza and Brazil and to a certain extent, Japan before he made a rookie mistake and crashed into Mark under safety car conditions.

  15. I want to go with a wildcard and say that Pedro De La Rosa will make his final F1 start in Brazil. I think one of the other Sauber drivers will become ill and Pedro will step in for his last race. Call it a hunch.

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 20th November 2011, 12:21

      Wow. Just wow.

      If this would happen Guiterez (I cant spell his surname…) would be on hand to step in. THe reason he couldnt earlier, and de la Rosa had to be borrowed from Mclaren was just due to Guiterez being busy with another racing series at the time. I dont believe he is billed to race this weekend.

      • Myrvold said on 20th November 2011, 14:19

        And the fact that Peter Sauber said that Gutierrez was not ready for F1. He might be the third driver in the team, but Sauber wouldn’t had used him in Canada if he’d been there. That’s what he said.

        • celeste (@celeste) said on 20th November 2011, 17:37

          I agree, the reason Gutierrez is 3rd driver is because of Claro´s Carlos Slim sponsorship. He is not ready for F1.

          Then again I don´t see Pedro de la Rosa starting a race again. The guy sadly never got a chance.

    • TheBrav3 said on 21st November 2011, 16:09

      IRONY! if pedro does start in brazil it now wont be his last lol!

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